By now, you’re probably aware – and depending on your allegiances or viewpoints on celebrating violence, maybe irate – about the New York Islanders’ plan to host a watch party for their infamous February 11 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (If you’re not, click here for the details on that situation, with the viewing party planned for August 19.)
While I agree that event is in poor taste, it strikes me as the equivalent to people who are obsessed with the “Saw” franchise. It’s not really something I have any interest in, but if that’s their idea of a good time, then have at it. There’s no denying that night’s existence despite the fact that most of the hockey world would like to bury it alongside any memories of Bobby Orr playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, so if the Islanders and their fans want to bask in its ugly glow, then they should be allowed to do it.
There’s no denying that it isn’t a great idea for the image of the team or the NHL, though, so it should be no surprise that the league isn’t thrilled about the idea. USA Today’s Kevin Allen passed along word that the NHL is “looking into it,” although it’s difficult to grasp what that entails.
“We do not approve of the use, based on what we know,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.
It’s an awkward situation for the NHL to be in, because it’s unclear what they could do – or most importantly, how far they would want to go – to make the whole thing go away. To little surprise, Penguins GM Ray Shero didn’t seem very keen on the idea, either.
On if he has a problem with the Islanders planning a viewing party for the Feb. 11 game:
The Islanders have a good, young hockey team and that’s what I think we should be talking about. They should have a good year there for themselves. What they’re doing off the ice – if they want to revisit (that game), that’s fine. But that’s not a game we’re going to revisit. We’re going to put that behind us. We’re not proud of it. It’s time to move on.
So the NHL and the Penguins disapprove of the Islanders’ viewing party, along with a substantial chunk of the hockey populace. Again, I personally view the Islanders as “that friend” who has a tendency to say all the wrong things and generally look like a fool in this case; it’s not the recommended course of action, but there might not be many better options than just letting them have their misguided fun.
We’ll keep an eye out for any updates on this situation – especially if the viewing party gets canceled – as its Friday launch rapidly approaches.