How last night’s Islanders viewing party went without the ‘brawlfest’

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In a face-saving move, the New York Islanders asked MSG Network not to re-air the infamous February 11 “brawlfest”, which would have appeared during last night’s viewing party. To many, that probably indicated that the viewing party was canceled, but the show went on.

Instead of airing that bloody 9-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, fans were treated to the Islanders’ 7-6 win over the Buffalo Sabres, which happened two days later on February 13. The Checking Line’s Evan Pivnick reveals that “a decent amount” of fans came to the viewing party even after the compromise, although much of the focus was still on that fight-filled game. Pivnick reports that the loudest “pop” of the night came when that telecast showed a flashback to the Penguins-Islanders game and that Islanders fans gathered around one inventive fan who brought a recorded version of the “brawlfest” to the event (on a laptop or tablet type device, one would assume).

The loudest crowd pop of the night, to use my WWE terminology, came during the telecast when MSGN showed a flashback to “The Brawl Game”, which was originally going to be aired that night.

A fan at one of the tables at the restaurant had brought with him a device which he had “The Brawl Game” DVR’d on it. He and a group of Islanders fans huddled around a circular table and watched that game.

Ultimately, the Islanders made the right PR move – and the franchise enjoyed many of the benefits of running the party without actually doing so. Even though the original plans were scuttled, Islanders fans re-lived that moment (and make no mistake about it, there are more than a few Islanders fans who think that night might be pivotal for the franchise) by debating the merits of the viewing party for a few days. Sure, that’s not the same as watching the game over again while enjoying some adult beverages and high-fives with like-minded fans, but it will have to do.

(H/T to Pensblog.)

Bill Daly on Islanders watch party: ‘We do not approve of the use, based on what we know’


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.