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Celebrating madness? Islanders holding watch party for replay of fight-filled February game vs. Pittsburgh

Aug 13, 2011, 10:58 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

Life for Islanders fans this summer hasn’t exactly been too fun. They’ve seen a referendum for a new arena get voted down by Nassau County voters, the team hasn’t made a big splash in free agency to make a big move towards improving in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve still got the Evgeni Nabokov situation to deal with. With that kind of action going on, you might get a little anxious for the season to start too.

The Isles are doing something good for their fans and hosting a watch party for the re-airing of one of their more notorious games from the past season: the February 11 9-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Wait… The Islanders are hosting a watch party for this game?

In case you’d forgotten, that game featured 342 combined penalty minutes including seeing Islanders goon forward Trevor Gillies fighting once early in the game and later elbowing Pens forward Eric Tangradi into oblivion. There was also the matter of Isles forward Micheal Haley dropping the gloves with Pens goalie Brent Johnson only to get interrupted by Pens forward Eric Godard who came off the bench to stand up for Johnson.

The end result of everything saw Gillies get suspended for nine games while Godard got the mandatory 10 game suspension for leaving the bench while the Islanders were fined $100,000 for the whole fiasco. Meanwhile, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux sounded off about the actions of the Islanders to the NHL and declared the whole thing to be its own disaster area.

Suffice to say, some Penguins fans are a bit annoyed about this whole thing. Enter the boys from The PensBlog. The PensBlog guys have made it their own mission to rip Gillies and the entire Islanders organization since this game and this Islanders watch party is in their sights as well.

Just a heads up, some of their language is a little “colorful” so if you’ve got delicate sensibilities, this is your warning.

Now, this kind of viewing-party idea is kind of cool in general.  And we’d actual tip our hats to the Isles organization for using social media to bring fans closer if it wasn’t to celebrate lunacy.  If they’re gonna circle-jerk to a run-of-the-mill 9-3 drubbing, we’d be all for it and not dip our toe into the water.

But celebrating the blatant attempts to injure in this game isn’t gonna fly.
And for the Islanders to be promoting it right on their website is beyond words.

As much as The PensBlog guys might upset you sometimes, they’re dead on about this. We understand that this game was a big, important moment for Islanders fans. They were sick of seeing their team getting pushed around and taken advantage of by the league for other, apparent misgivings and the Penguins (and officials) pushed the right buttons that night to send the team over the edge. This game was the fans’ “Network” moment where they say “they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take this anymore.

Celebrating your team taking a stand is fine and it’s not the only time we’ve seen teams and fans take pride in an all-out bloodbath. These kinds of moments can unite fans with their teams. That said, you can’t help but feel this is a 1,000 different kinds of awkward given the circumstances. Tangradi suffered a concussion thanks to Gillies’ elbow while Gillies’ reputation in the league was destroyed after this incident and Brent Johnson served notice to the Islanders that he’s not to be trifled with.

Given the Islanders’ role in the brawl and the fact they were slapped with a huge fine for what went down, it seems wrong that they’re going along with hosting a party to re-watch the game. I understand why the Islanders are doing it and I understand why Penguins fans would be really annoyed about it… But this just feels uncomfortable.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Its called desperation.

    • derpdederpdederp - Aug 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      agreed. like you said, it keeps the fair-weather American fans coming back

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:11 AM

        Yep yep. The fair weather fans have that dumb saying, ‘I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.’ Hockey is more than fighting. Playoff/International Tourney hockey has no fighting but it’s the best display of hockey one can watch. Is fighting a part of hockey? Of course. Players can police the game and swing momentum. But the fact the Islanders want to celebrate a brawl is so dumb. I can’t stand the Pens but this is unnecessary. People remember the Flyers /Senators brawl back in ’04? Neither team had a celebration the following season. And that brawl trump the amateur hour nonsense that was in Long Island.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:44 AM

        yeah, and that was a good old fashioned hockey brawl, not a goon-filled slugfest

  2. bigbear42 - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    This is unbelievable. You would have to think the Isles would know that this would only bring negative attention. What do they hope to gain from this?

  3. tharealest0431 - Aug 13, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    haha its pathetic this is all the team and their fanbase can celebrate about from last season…..J-O-K-E!

    • blastfurnaceknows - Aug 15, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      The Islanders franchise, ownership & administration have been staining the sport for years. Just take a look at their “accomplishments” the past 21 years: 15 failures to qualify for the playoffs & 5 1st round losses. Sometimes a group of humans deserve the misery that they’ve suffered. For Exhibit A, allow me to intorduce you to the current classless clowns wearing the Isles jersey and flying the Isles banner. To think that a few weeks ago I actually felt sorry for these buffoons and the possible departure of hockey from Long Island. Here’s hoping now that you either lose your franchise or endure another 20 years like the past 20.

  4. jpelle82 - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    sucker punch on talbot from behind, cheap elbow on tangradi from behind, skater attacks a goalie, gillies pathetic smack talk to an injured player. for the organization to draw attention to this or glorify it in any way is just sad. i think they should be more worried about selling tickets, who wants to watch a doormat get stepped on for 82 games a year?

  5. southyank7 - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    no words, let me try to put into words froma PENS fan.
    Absolutely NO CLASS by a franchise run by a man who supposedly builds shopping centers & malls
    the JOKE is on them, because NY will have 1 less hockey team in a few yrs.
    I’m sure players from the SC winning teams are cringing @ how this franchise is spiraling out of control. CONTRACT them, hey WANG. go back to building strip malls & shopping centers

  6. raidergreg2000 - Aug 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Pens suck!

  7. paulsdamnblog - Aug 13, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    I hate the Pens a lot, I’m a Flyers fan, so I have to. I can totally understand what the Islanders are trying to achieve here with the viewing. They want re-energize their local fanbase and get them excited about the team. Why? Simple, they want a new arena and they want their fanbase to want it too. How they’re doing it is whats wrong. Showing this game is really not helping them or the image of the league. The Islanders have a great history. They had a dynasty in the early 80’s and some great players came through there. The Islanders were a part of some epic hockey games in their history and that’s what they should celebrate.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      But there has to be a better way to re-gain the energy and prestige of the 80’s dynasty. It’s not even the best brawl we have seen in the last 10 years haha.

    • southyank7 - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      you could have stopped @ “i’m a flyers fan” & everyone would have known what a IDIOT you are, but you kept going. LMAO good luck w/ wholesale changes you all made, 1 more “cheap-shot” to your china doll “Pronger” & his career is over. NYI can goon it up all they want while “REAL TEAMS” win games & make deep runs to the SC….NYI will be relocated within 3 yrs to Kansas City or Seattle or just CONTRACT them along w/ fla panthers. make overall quality of play throughout the league BETTER…

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 14, 2011 at 5:31 PM

        hahaha you sound like a rangers fan.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 7:06 PM

        southyank7: with that post youre the only that looks like a total idiot. he may be a Flyers fan but at least he can write something coherent

  8. mikevee1 - Aug 13, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    And this is why the entire NHL thinks the Isles orginization is a joke. It is a classless orginization from top to bottom. Can’t wait to see the 2000 fans per night they get sitting in the asbestos filled dump they play in.

  9. cannonblast14 - Aug 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    As much as i hate the Pens (and im sorry, i really do), i wasnt a big fan of what the Isles did on the ice that night. Sure, it had some entertainment value, but its not what generates popularity in hockey and it isnt needed.
    Now the Isles are basically saying they are proud of what happened on the ice by replaying it for a party and re signing Gillies to begin with.
    Its bad publicity for the Isles organization and im quite surprised they are doing it.

  10. stakex - Aug 13, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I’m a Rangers fan, so it KILLS me to defend the Islanders for anything… but I think this is a lot of talk about nothing.

    Was there a cheap shot in this game? Yes. Did Gillies act like the low life goon he is? Sure did. However you have to remember that the Islanders did in fact blow Pittsburgh out of the water in this game, and won by 6 goals. For a team that hasn’t had much to celebrate over the last few years… this game, the cheap shot aside, was definatlly a bright spot and I see no reason not to replay it.

    As for the fighting in the game… the Pens were more then willing to take part in the fighting for most of the game. Lets not try and re-write histroy and make it seem like the Islanders were just out for blood all night, constantly going out of the way to fight. Pit dropped the gloves as well. Hockey is a game that has fighting in it… and some nights games get out of hand. It happens. Again, not a reason for the team not to replay one of their best games of the last few years.

    The Islanders have so many other problems right now… lets give them a break on this one.

    • materthegreator - Aug 15, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      You’re forgetting the (attempted) sucker-punch to Talbot from behind, calling up two extra goons for the game (planning for the brawling), and punching Tangradi in the back of the head after he was down, from an elbow to the head delivered from behind.

      The Islanders planned this because Brent Johnson ended Rick DiPietro’s season when dumbass Rick first tripped Matt Cooke as he skated by, then challenged Johnson to a fight. He proceeded to break his face on Johnson’s fist on just one punch.

      The fact that the Pens bench thought this was amusing (since glass-bones DiPietro went looking for the fight).

      The fact that Gillies got only nine games was obviously stupid. This was made even more obvious when he got suspended the first game he got back — again.

      Here’s the perfect opportunity for the league to act for the good of the game. The Islanders obviously need to be fined again as they didn’t get the message the first time.

  11. critter69 - Aug 13, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    I’m sure if the ‘adventures on ice’ that the Isles had in that game had been with another team (say the Devils, or Flyers, or Capitals, or Bruins, or Sharks, or Blues ….. ), The PensBlog guys probably wouldn’t have much, if anything, to say, except to salute the Islanders for “sticking it to the other team”.

    Next time you get some comments to put in a piece, maybe they should be pertinent, AND from a neutral group?

    In this case, getting reactions from Capitals fans wouldn’t be good either. The Caps and Caps fans have a hatred for the Islanders (dating from several OT playoff games), and now they are not fond (putting it mildly) of the Penquins, either.

    • stakex - Aug 13, 2011 at 8:55 PM

      Agreed. The PensBlog guys are the most un-balanced source of hockey reporting around, which is shown with their hyper dramatic interpretation of this situation.

      Lets be clear: There was NOT “blatant attemptS” to injure… there was ONE attempt to injure, and that one play does not define the whole game. If your a Pens fan though, perhaps it does since its easier to focus on that then the fact your team got its ass beat into the ground both physicly and on the score board by the worst team in the NHL.

      As for the line: “If they’re gonna circle-jerk to a run-of-the-mill 9-3 drubbing”… that has to make you laugh. I mean who writes like that? Not only is there no such thing as a “run of the mill” 9-3 drubbing, since when has it become wrong to celebrate success? I mean, using a phrase like “circle jerk” to describe a team celebrating a win… who the hell does that? Sounds to me like that writer is just thinking about what hes going to be doing later, and it just crept into his writing.

      Bottom Line: The Pens got curb stomped by a team that does not stomp anyone, ever… I think the Islanders are celebrating the fact they actually managed to drub a team 9-3, then the ONE dirty hit in the game. The PensBlog guys are just butt hurt, thats all.

      • Jeff Thomas - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:26 AM

        Why would you expect “balanced reporting” from a team-centric blog?

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 7:08 PM

        because stakex was born with a few extra chromosomes

      • materthegreator - Aug 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        There were several blatant attempts to injure. Trying to hit a guy (Talbot) from behind without a heads up is called a sucker punch, and is universially recognized as dirty.

        Hitting a guy when he’s down and turtled is an attempt to injure. This happened twice. Gillies hit Tangradi from behind with an elbow, then punched him in the back of the head when he was down, more than once.

        Michael Haley then had somebody turtled again, and hit them while he was down, and then skated over to challenge Johnson. I wish Eric Godard would have stayed on the bench, because that punch that ended DiPetro’s season looked like it could be repeated.

    • capsrockva - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      right one with that comment

  12. derpdederpdederp - Aug 13, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    the Flyers had a bench brawl against the Sens a few years ago, whens the next screening?

  13. mikey52 - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    I guess no one even bothered to figure out why all the fights took place in that particular game? No one bothers to mention the fact that the Islanders ate crap from the Pens in their last few matchups? Matt Cooke blatantly ran over Rick Dipietro about 3 times in the previous game, and Max Talbot concussed Blake Comeau with a blindside hit. No calls were made by the refs on any of those plays. And to top it off, when Dipietro fought back against Cooke, he got clocked by goaltender Brent Johnson who broke his cheekbone. So obviously, payback was going to happen sooner or later. You can call the Isles cheap shots all you want, but the fact of the matter is the Pens had it coming. And if the refs and the NHL disciplinarians won’t do their jobs, the players will take justice into their own hands. Nuff said.

    • Jeff Thomas - Aug 14, 2011 at 3:25 AM

      Talbot hit Comeau shoulder-to-shoulder and it’s not Johnson’s fault that Dipietro is a freaking China doll. Both teams showed poor character that night, but the Isles take the cake by celebrating it 7 months later.

      • mikey52 - Aug 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

        The Comeau hit was debatable, i will give you that and Dipietro has had a ton of injuries. You fail to mention the whole Matt Cooke incident though. Here’s video evidence ->

    • micklethepickle - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Wow, the first intelligent comment in this thread. I’m amazed at the hockey fans who will call players a coward for not engaging in a fight, but then go off about how a game like this one “ruins the sport”. STFU! Islanders put the Penguins in their place after the Pens had led the league to that point in fighting minutes and major penalties. On that day in February, the Islanders silenced the league’s bully. Hell, I re-watch that game all the time, and I’m a Caps fan!

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 14, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Hahaha well we have one thing in common: our dislike towards the Pens. That being said, it was one game that had some fights. Why should an organization celebrate that? There is nothing wrong with fans watching it on Youtube. That’s your God-given right. But for the Islanders to have an celebration about one game that was meaningless doesn’t seem right. They came in LAST place in the Atlantic division. And came 4th to LAST in the NHL. I don’t see anything to celebrate. The Pens had it coming to them but I’m going nuts because it happened. The Islanders were still out of line. And guess what? That game has NO bearing on this season. I wonder how many Islanders’ fans actually support this notion.

    • materthegreator - Aug 15, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      You obviously used to re-write history books in communist Russia, Mikey 52. DiPietro skated well out of the crease to trip Cooke. He got called for interference. He then challenged Johnson to the fight. He lost. Badly.

      The fact is that the Isles got their asses handed to them by the better team, and instead of trying harder, they punked out and called up two extra goons and tried to injure some Pens to settle the score. They got fined for this.

      Face it, they were wrong.

  14. micklethepickle - Aug 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Wow, this thread sure did attract all the Pens fans from their trailer park office spaces. I’m glad the Isles are celebrating what was one of the biggest statement games played last season. As one of the above commentators pointed out, it’s not the like the Islanders decided to just brawl for the hell of it, they responded to the classless play by the Pens (or do you all not remember the Pens’ bench laughing while DiPietro was helped off the ice? Or calling the Isles the “doormat of the NHL”?).

    Plain and simple, the Pens were the dirtiest team in the league last year. Don’t believe me? Go check the number of penalties they received last year. Also, let’s not forget that their goon of choice, Cooke, is directly responsible for ending several careers and trying to end others. I’m just sorry he wasn’t on the ice when the Islanders pounded the rest of that roster into the ice.

    I hope they open up next season’s game with the Pens by doing the same damn thing… just go easy on my Caps when they next meet.

    • capsrockva - Aug 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      awesome comment love the Caps Caps rock Pens suck

      • hockeyfan1701 - Aug 15, 2011 at 8:10 AM

        When was the last time the Caps won the cup?

    • blastfurnaceknows - Aug 15, 2011 at 5:38 PM

      Leave it to a Caps fan to relish in someone else’s claim of accomplishment. Sad, but not surprising. And hockeyfan, the answer to your question is ZERO. ZERO championships. So, go ahead & celebrate with the Isles – after all, you got nothing else going for you, do you?

  15. hockeyfan1701 - Aug 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Maybe the Islanders can use that Cro-Magnon Gillies to beat people into getting them a new arena. What a pathetic franchise. To think they were once on top of the hockey world and now are a punch line.

    • derpdederpdederp - Aug 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM

      employing Brian McCabe (and making him a captain!) can do that to a team

  16. jimeejohnson - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    I am rooting for Sydney Crosby to come back strong and play the game the way only he can. Pittsburgh fans should stop acting like whiny little girls and realize the Islanders suck and that the once proud franchise is reduced to WWF style entertainment, not real hockey. Finally, I hope Matt Cooke gets his ass kicked multiple times, with a few blind side checks thrown in, too. Guys like Cooke bring out the worst in other teams, and the Penguins have to take it as well as dish it out.

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