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Islanders dominate Penguins 9-3 in fight-filled, chaotic game

Feb 11, 2011, 10:54 PM EDT

Micheal Haley, Craig Adams

Perhaps it was “carry-over” from that raucous goalie fight between Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro. It certainly didn’t help things that the New York Islanders took 6-0 and 8-2 leads over the pugilistic Pittsburgh Penguins. (The score ultimately was 9-3 in favor of the Islanders.) Obviously, Trevor Gillies’ hit on Eric Tangradi also stoked the flames. Then again, maybe the two teams just decided that they wanted to top the carnage of this week’s Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins game.

(Click here for at least some footage of the wild fights. Also click here.)

Either way, the Pens-Isles game was a chaotic affair, resulting in a staggering 346 penalty minutes. At some point the Penguins’ bench was so empty that it’s possible that coaches and trainers outnumbered players when Pittsburgh had four players on the ice in the game’s waning moments.

The game was full of fisticuffs, but it could probably be broken down into two major melees. The worst one took place when Islanders enforcer Michael Haley bludgeoned Maxime Talbot and then challenged goalie Johnson, who was saved by Eric Godard, who left Pittsburgh’s bench.

Godard is almost certainly to receive a 10-game suspension and a hefty fine for leaving the bench and being the “third man in,” but the two teams might face some other discipline for what degenerated into an outright-embarrassing bouts of considerable violence.

The Islanders obviously had less to lose considering the fact that they’re far outside the playoff race, but they’ll certainly appreciate the added bonus of a lopsided win. What might be lost in the fracas fest is that three young Islanders crossed the 20-goal plateau in this game: John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner hit that mark. Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury both appeared in the game for Pittsburgh, but Mikko Koskinen was the only man in the Isles’ net (stopping 35 out of 38 shots).

While the Long Island bunch are playing for pride, the Penguins must be worried. They’ve lost three of their last four games, only scoring six goals while allowing 17 in that span.

We’ll keep you updated regarding any suspensions, fines or other discipline that might result from this game. Both team play on Sunday (the Penguins in New York against the Rangers; the Islanders in Buffalo against the Sabres), so the league will likely be forced to make judgments on Saturday.

The two teams only have one more game left on the schedule: at Nassau Coliseum on Friday, April 8th. That will be the second-to-last game of the season for both teams, so it will be interesting to see how the playoff-likely Penguins approach that game. Whichever way Pittsburgh handles the situation, the league will likely have its eyes on that one after tonight’s rambunctious contest.

  1. bigbear42 - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    What a disgrace, just absolute bush league by the Islanders. These clowns were fueled to “avenge” their dumb goalie who started the fight and then was injured by his bad decision. Somehow the Islanders deemed it Johnson’s fault. Just total buffoonery. The hit on Tangradi was a paralysis away from being the Steve Moore indecent. This game made me ashamed to be a hockey fan.

    • stakex - Feb 12, 2011 at 1:28 AM

      The Pens played along don’t forget. It takes two to tango, and the Pens certainly tangoed on this night. There were certainly a couple cheap shots out there, but thats nothing the Pens aren’t use to with Captain Cheap Shop Matt Cooke on their team. But I will say this much: No one on the Islanders will be suspended 10 games… but Godard will be for breaking one of the biggest no no rules in hockey.

      To be perfectly honest, with all the crap Cooke has done over the last couple years, and the Pens being lock step behind him… I think the vast majority of the hockey world will feel that the Pens got what was coming to them. The only sad part is that Crosby wasn’t there to get his whiny ass smacked around a little bit.

      • Borsk - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:17 AM

        So sucker punches and flying elbows to the head, punches while a player is knocked out, and taunting them while the doctor is there is “a-ok” because the Pens have Matt Cooke?

        I’m not sure when the Pens are going to get enough of “what’s coming to them”(whatever that means) for employing Matt Cooke.

        Crosby gets hit twice and is out for a month. No suspensions, hockey world decrees: The Penguins got what was coming to them

        Malkin down with a knee injury. Hockey world decrees: Karma. The Penguins FINALLY got what was coming to them.

        Then this debacle and the scenario repeats.

      • psujay - Feb 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        The Pens have gotten away with a lot for a long time and a team out of contention had had enough. Watch Cooke’s hit on Savard or either of hits from the past week, then watch the hit Hedman lays on Crosby. Not even close to the same level of malice.

        Watch Malkin and Staal hook a player’s stick and skate away attempting to draw a penalty. Malkin whines to the ref like he’s in the NBA whenever he tries to draw a penalty and doesn’t get his way.

        I came here because I wanted to read the Pens’ fans reactions.

        And not every team has that “goon” like Cooke. Chris Simon retired a long time ago…

        If Pens fans don’t like when they don’t get their way, maybe they should just let their team go bankrupt a fourth time.

  2. ihateannouncers - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    This was DEFINATELY carry over from the previous game in which Dipietro got his clock cleaned by Johnson. New York embarrassed themselves and the league by resorting to goonery tactics not seen since the 70’s. This has nothing to do with Matt Cooke, and am not sure why anyone would bring his name into this discusssion. He wasn’t even playing due to suspension If you want to see a cheap shot, look at the garbage that Matt Martin pulled, by cowardishly trying to sucker punch Max Talbot from behind. If you want to fight to get revenge, at least have the stones to do it when a guy is looking. And that punk Haley should be suspended for 10 games as well, for instigating a fight with a goalie. So your goalie gets his butt kicked BY ANOTHER GOALIE, and you send a goon to get revenge?? Real manly coach Capuono.

  3. plax18 - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    you must be smoking that laffy taffy if you think no islander will be suspended for more than 10 games

    • easyisle - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:40 AM

      As a 35 year Isles fan, I think many are missing a few points. Nobody I know had the slightest problem with B Johnson knocking out Ricky (our only regret as fans is we didn’t get a shot in). The issue is with Fleury and the bench laughing and the head shot on Comeau by Talbot. I hated the method Martin used (although he must have smartened up at the last second and didn’t hit him) and Gillies was ridiculous, but the team has been beaten down and mocked for years and it got out of hand. Personally, I would have loved the 9 goals and a one-on-one beatdown of Talbot, but he made it clear throughout the night he’s one of the post-lockout types who throw a cheap shot but don’t expect anyone from a less-holy team to call him on it.

      • jmv5010 - Feb 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        Please, show me where the head shot is in this hit? Did Talbot need to go in like that? Maybe not. But I fail to see Comeau get hit in the head.

        I suppose the Islanders didn’t mind that stupid grin from Ricky as he skated toward the fight with Johnson?

        It went too far last night. Simple as that. Gilles’ incident was ridiculous. What a joke.

      • nikolainyr - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:40 PM

        @jmv5010; The issue with the Talbot hit from last week isn’t the hit to the head, its that it was a blindside hit.
        If this play happened a few feet closer to the boards, or if Talbot hit the head first (which he clearly wasn’t going for) this would be 2-4 games off.
        Max isn’t dirty, but there’s good reason for the Isles to want revenge on him.
        Martin’s play is a total sucker punch, but it only happened because Talbot wouldn’t answer the bell. Not sure Talbot deserves sucker punch payback for one questionable hit. That type of payback should be reserved for Cooke-types who constantly cheap shot and dodge fights.

      • jmv5010 - Feb 12, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        @nikolainyr…I’m not debating the Talbot hit could be called blindside. It was said on here it was a head shot, which it was not. I understand the frustration from the Isles for that.

  4. Jeff Thomas - Feb 12, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Everyone seems to be letting the refs off too easy. This game was embarrassing for both sides because the refs let it get way too out of hand.

  5. gallyhatch - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    “Bush-league, buffonery, goon, disgrace”

    I love hearing these words from Penguin fans.
    They may as well be saying:
    “There’s no room for this behavior in the NHL………when it happens to us!”

    It’s all well & good when Matt Cooke is sending guys to the IR with cheap blind-side hits, but it’s not so funny when your team gets the snot kicked out of them now is it?

    & The real kicker, Crosby starts speaking out against cheap shots AFTER he gets a concussion, but not when his own teammate is blasting players like Savard into next week. If that’s not the height of hypocrisy then I don’t know what is.

    I agree with STAKEX, the only way this ould have been better was if Crosby (and/or Cooke) was there to get his @$$ beat too, but whatever.

    If there was karmic justice in this universe, Crosby’s career would be serioulsy altered/affected as a result of his concussion. I DON’T want to see any player hurt / derailed the way Savard has been, but it would most certainly be exactly what the whining, self-entitled, hypocritical Penguins team & fanbase deserves.

    Last night is what every non-Penguins fan has wanted to see for a long time.

    • Jeff Thomas - Feb 12, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      Actually, if you were paying attention you would know that Crosby did speak out after Savard got hit by Cooke. Reading is fundamental.

      • gallyhatch - Feb 12, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        Just googled it…..I stand corrected.

  6. ihateannouncers - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    So the isle’s are going after Fleury for laughing at the Dipietro knockout?? The entire league was laughing at that fight, which was shown over and over again and debated on every sports talkshow in the US and Canada. Fleury’s reaction was the same as everyone who saw the fight because it was 1-unique to see goalies go, and 2- because it ended so quickly and violently. He wasn’t laughing at Dipietro being hurt because nobody knew the extent of his injury. It’s obvious that Capuano was using this to rally his team to stop being the league’s biggest joke, but to send a goon after a goalie in this day and age should be a suspendable offense. I doubt the old time hockey league front office will do anything but suspend Goddard, and that will also be a joke!!

  7. ihateannouncers - Feb 12, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    You can gripe about Cooke all you want. Truth is we would hate him if he wasn’t a Penguin. But every team has this type of playe. I am sure Isle’s fans love haley this morning. No Pen’s fan was happy with the Savard hit and Cooke was rightfully suspended. Doesn’t change the fact that sending a goon ( and yes Haley is a goon brought up to do exactly what he did last night) after a goalie is ridiculous. I wish Goddard would have let Johnson go at it with haley. We might have been talking about how a goalie dropped a goon. I agree the refs should be held accountable for not being able to get control of the situation.

  8. tk1966 - Feb 12, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    I think the one that isn’t being talked about is the worst of the bunch. Gilles come from across the ice and leaves his feet to hit Tangredi in the head, who then hits his head into the glass. Tangredi is obviously hurt and Gilles turns and attacks him. Even though tangredi doesn’t fight back because he is hurt, Gilles continues his assault, continuing to puch him in the head after he is lying on the ice. To make himself look even more like a d-bag, he stands in the doorway yelling at an injured man lying defenseless on the ice. Pure class. That is the action of a coward that needs to sit at home for ten games. Maybe he can spend that time kicking some puppies and then yelling at them.

  9. aceburgh - Feb 12, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Bottom line. Johnson put the beat down on the Islanders goalie one on one. So the Islanders had to be wuss’s about it and intentionally injure someone then taunt him. Not sure how you roll in New York, but in the Burgh we are not afraid to man up and do it one on one. Wimps and cowards disguised as a hockey team!!!! Tell you goalie to keep his stick to himself if he cant handle himself in a one on one fight with the other goalie.

  10. ihateannouncers - Feb 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    psujay – Feb 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM.

    And not every team has that “goon” like Cooke. Chris Simon retired a long time ago

    True, which is why the islanders called their goon up from Bridgeport the day they played the Penguins.

    Why do all the Penguin haters have to bring Matt Cooke into this?? The only thing he has to do with this is he was on the receiving end (for once) of a cheap shot by Dipietro, who thought he would be safe from retaliation,because the ONLY player who should fight a goalie is another goalie. Brent Johnson didn’t let him get away with it. Cooke has had his share of dirty hits, but he hasn’t thrown his gloves off with a goalie. THAT move is for the really dirty players!!

  11. bigbear42 - Feb 12, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Cooke is far from a saint and has had his share of questionable and dirty hits, but does that justify what the Islanders did? He didn’t do anything to them beyond get the hit by Dipietro that started the brawl in the previous game. There was absolutely no reason to bring him into this discussion. As for the Talbot indecent from that game, the way things like that are handled in hockey are by one of the Islanders to fight him in their next meeting, not drop your gloves when he doesn’t know you’re there and attack him. This isn’t Slapshot, it’s the NHL. I can’t believe that people are wishing Crosby had been playing so he could “get his whiny ass beat.” That’s just childish.

    The biggest shame is that this could have been a turning point for the Islander franchise in some respects. Scoring 9 on the Pens would have been a huge rallying point for them this season and something they could build on going into next season. The statement should have been that they are a team on the verge of turning it around, but instead they told the league they are a group of immature morons. This game wasn’t hockey, it was pro wrestling.

  12. cookefan - Feb 13, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    I guess Cooke shouldn’t hit in hockey like Harrison shouldn’t hit in football. Shame full contact sports are only played by Pittsburgh.

    • bigbear42 - Feb 13, 2011 at 6:37 AM

      What? not sure what you are getting at.

  13. briofny - Feb 13, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    bigbear42…what is good for the goose, no… taunt but cant be taunted. you cheapshot, but cant receive one. bottom line, Gillies and Martin, cheapshots, but those in glasshouses… well. Dipi deserved what he got, that should have been the end of it The classless Pens had to continue laughing at it. Johnson wasnt laughing when the Isles put up 6 goals and the donnybrook didnt start until after all the goals were scored, how is that not trying to win the game first. Perhaps you are still made about the lowly Isles knocking around the Pens in 93

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