Best and worst sweaters of all-time: New York Islanders

5 Comments

The Islanders past with sweaters is about as rocky as their present is in figuring out how to build a new arena. They started off so well, then went off course horribly before finding themselves all over again. If nothing else, the Islanders proved with their sweaters that you can always go back home again. And again. And again.

Best: The Islanders sweater history is that of a classic look. A large, logo crest on the front with simple sleeve and waist stripes with team colors ahoy. For me, the Islanders looked their best between 1998 and 2007. After recovering from the mistake years of the fisherman and adding teal to their look to resemble a bottle of detergent more than a hockey team, they went back to basics and added a shoulder patch as a nod to their past. The patch had four stripes, one for each Stanley Cup win in team history. The Isles white home jerseys of those days made you think of the Isles dynasty teams of the 1980s. Sadly for Isles fans, they didn’t perform the same way.

Worst: You’re assuming I’m going to pound on the Islanders fisherman days here. Not so fast, friends. When the Isles went back to their old look that won everyone over once again they made one big mistake in 2002-2003 by adding a third sweater. Their third embraced the color orange in such a way it made the Islanders look like a stock car gone mad with orange dominating the look and jagged blue edges throughout the sweater. The Islanders’ move to orange was bold, garish, and awful looking.

Don’t Trust The Gorton’s Fisherman: As for the fisherman years, this was all about a marketing wizard gone mad. The Islanders wanted a new look and move into the hip mid-1990s. Switching from an iconic logo that won the fans over in the first place and replacing it with something that belonged more on a box of frozen seafood than a hockey sweater made matters worse. I have a fondness for the awfulness contained in the Islanders’ fisherman era, but I’m also a jerk that owns more than a few really awful sweaters as well. The fisherman was a colossal mistake in judgment and one that Chris Botta at Islanders Point Blank recounts all too well and is worth giving a read to.

Assessment: The Isles have done right by their fans and by hockey fashionistas by re-embracing their original look and paying no more attention to the RBK Edge constraints of design. They tried that, it looked bad, they went back to normal. Kudos to Charles Wang for keeping it real. Of course, if the rumored Isles black third jersey this season turns out to be the nightmare concoction that Greg Wyshysnki at Puck Daddy showed off, the era of good feelings is over.

(photo credit: Islanders Point Blank)

What is wrong with the Sharks?

Getty
Leave a comment

Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

Their struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

Getty
1 Comment

Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.

Video: Friday night fights between Bolts and Red Wings

1 Comment

Not much offense — actually, just one goal midway through the second period as of the writing of this post — between the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

But there has definitely been some animosity between the two clubs.

Tempers flared late in the first period, with Adam Erne and Andreas Athanasiou getting involved in a spirited scrap — and Athanasiou unsuccessful in his attempt at the take-down.

The bad blood continued in the second period with Greg McKegg and Anthony Mantha getting involved in a fight, and Mantha — given the instigator — landing a couple of shots with McKegg on the ice.

 

NHL, MLB player unions support U.S. women hockey players’ boycott

Getty
1 Comment

Unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players are backing U.S. Women’s National Hockey team players’ decision to boycott next week’s world championships because of a wage dispute.

The NHL Players’ Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the U.S. players while panning USA Hockey’s bid to stock the team with replacements. The NHLPA says the decision to go with replacement players “would only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse.”

Earlier in the day, the MLB Players Association encouraged all women hockey players to stand united behind their national team colleagues.

Read more: USA Hockey says it will not offer living wage, as dispute with women’s national team continues

The Twitter messages were posted a day after USA Hockey announced it would begin gauging interest of replacement players to compete at the tournament, which opens next Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.