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

Aug 16, 2011, 4:39 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

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.

  1. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I want to hear from the NYI faithful: how do yous feel about this?

    • islandersfan - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:00 PM

      “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” (Quote from above article)

      Pretty much sms up my response. Only thing I’d add is that as much as its not a game I would hold as a shinging example of sportsmanship by ay stretch – Every time a franchise has “turned it around” there is always a moment you look back on as a spark and maybe this was it. Maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know but it could (emphasis on could) be a historical moment and love history or hate history you need to remember it.

      Would I be proud to have this be a spark that helps the franchise become what it once was? Yes, in context … but let’s hope the team learns how to beat the Pens 9-3 without that many penalty minutes.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:57 PM

        Could be right. We shall see.

      • timmons94 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM

        i agree with everything u said.
        as a Pens fan, fights happen..
        BUT…Talbots hit was CLEAN, and your goalie acted like an ass the previous game, he deserved to get run into by Cooke.
        calling up that pos Haley to go after a goalie was a disgrace- Garth must be tickled as punch
        as dirty as Cooke is, Gillies is the worst…No hockey skills…Cooke has plenty..Gillies goes after a young kid and then taunts him- as classless as you will ever see..
        and the Islanders want to promote this ? wow…stay classy Wang and company…

  2. spizzjr - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    I love it that was the night we stopped being “doormats” and unfortunately the penguins were in the wrong place at the wrong time people forget we scored like 9 goals in that game

    • cannonblast14 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      Which was 9 times more than you scored almost every other night. :)

    • timmons94 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      that game catapulted u right into the playoffs…oh wait…

  3. bcisleman - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    There is a little ditty written in honor of some of the greatest war heroes ever to serve the US–the heroes of Bataan.

    Bataan was the last outpost to fall when the Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1942. They had been promised supplies and a rescue fleet. With much of the US fleet at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, however, it was decided that the US could not afford to risk its few remaining assets, so the heroes of Bataan were left to fight, die, or endure a gruesome captivity. This was composed in their honor:

    We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan,
    No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam,
    No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
    No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces,
    And nobody gives a damn!

    Now, I do not for a minute compare the NYI or us their fans to these immortal heroes. The sentiment behind the ditty, however, fits to a tee.

    The NHL, hockey journalists, and fans of other teams have not been kind to the NYI over the past decade. The NHL, especially Coli Campbell, has consistently ignored serious foul plays against the NYI while lowering the boom anytime an Islander commits a foul. That is no small part of the reason why the team has led the NHL in injuries consistently.

    The sports media and hockey fans in general have been quite merciless in mocking the NYI, their owner, their management, and their fans. In the past they mocked the team’s incompetence. With the team’s resurgence, that wasn’t as easy a sell. So they use the 2/11 game to dismiss the team as a bunch of goons.

    That, however, ignores the facts. There was, as I have noted, the past history of NHL dismissal of dirty play against the NYI. There has been a particular history with the Penguins taking cheap shots and causing injuries in recent years. Then there was this past season.

    Earlier in the season, Matt Cooke, the most infamous tool in the NHL, deliberately ran DiPietro not once, not twice, but three times. He was given a minor each time but was not thrown out of the game or suspended. Either Byelsma has no control over his guys or he told Cooke to run RDP. Same goes for the way the Pens took cheap shots all game long against the NYI on 2/2. It had to have been directed by Byelsma. And then, of course, RDP stepped into Cooke at the end of the game in retaliation for the 10/16 nonsense leading to the fight with Johnson.

    That, however, wasn’t all of the buildup. In between 2/2 and 2/11, there were games w/ the Sens and Leafs in which the NYI and their fans were reminded just how little Coli Campbell thought of them.

    Toward the end of the second period of the Sens game, Sen goalie Robin Lehner knocked Islander goalie Kevin Poulin to the ice. He got a minor which cost his team a goal and the game but was neither ejected or given subsequent discipline. Subsequently Lehner and several of his teammates punched JT in the back of the head in front of the Sen net. Even with the ref looking on, no penalties, no subsequent discipline.

    Then there was the Leaf game. Dion Phaneuf had already had a history with the NYI. The previous season, he had blindsided Kyle Okposo in an exhibition game and gave him a concussion. No penalty, no discipline.

    In this game, he blindsided JT with a crosscheck to the back of the head that almost knocked JT’s helmet off. Again, no penalty, no discipline. To rub salt into the wound, the NHL glorified the hit the very next day with a video entitled “Meet Mr. Phaneuf”.

    The NYI and their fans had enough by this point. It no longer mattered what the NHL, fans, or writers thought. The NYI were going to take care of business and they did.

    Of course, there was no end of hypocrisy by the Penguins owner, coach, and fans. Never mind the behavior of the coach and players that led to the incident. Never mind that their team consistently led the NHL in penalties, fights, and majors. Never mind that Cooke is the biggest goon in the NHL.

    The pattern was repeated against Minnesota. Never mind that Cal Clutterbuck is a well known cheapshot artist and instigator. Never mind that he had been taking cheap shots and getting away with it all game long and continued to do so after the play in question. Never mind that he had just taken out a much smaller player who was writhing in pain on the ice as Clutterbuck was hit. All that mattered was that Trev Gillies, “villain” of the 2/11 game, was the one to hit Clutterbuck and that Clutterbuck was injured.

    At this point, it matters not at all that the rest of the NHL thinks of the NYI or their fans as incompetent or classless. This team and its fans will take care of each other. We are the battling bastards of Long Island. What Daly, O’Brien, Lemieux, or the rest of the NHL think matters not at all.

    • cannonblast14 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      Sorry, but i refuse to read a comment that is longer than the actual article. BOOO

    • stakex - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      I write some long comments, but damn man…. we need a tl;dr version.

    • miketoasty - Aug 17, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      TL;DR Version:

      The league lets every team gang up on the Islanders and never does anything about it. Every team plays dirty against the Islanders. Matt Cooke is a goon. “The Islanders” don’t care about what anything thinks anymore. That basically sums it up. Oh and something about a Filipino man or something. Seriously though he compared the Islanders to the Americans who defended Bataan. Right.

    • timmons94 - Aug 18, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      get a life, hobby…

      u cheapshot Talbot for a clean hit the game before
      u call up a goon to attack a goalie
      and u emplly Trailer Trash Trevor who taunts people when hurt on the ice

      this team and its fans(all 20 of u) will take care of each other..

      of course on weeknight homegames, only 500 will show up to watch this trainwreck play
      biggest goon in NHL- Gillies…by a mile

  4. stakex - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    “Fight Night at the Joe” (massive brawl between Red Wings/Avalanche in 1997) is a celebrated moment in Red Wings histroy… and that was a fight filled game that involved a semi-blatenet attempt to injure another player for retribution. If the Red Wings were going to show that game at a Viewing Party, no one would care. In fact, it would be hailed by their fans.

    Yet, the Islanders want to show a game in which they beat the hell out of (physicaly and on the score board) one of the better teams in the league and its a huge deal. Was there one cheap shot in the game? Sure… but most of the fighting seemed pretty mutual. I fail to see a problem with a team wanting to celebrate a game in which they finally showed a spine after years of taking it on the chin. After all, can anyone remember the last time the Islanders won a game 9-3? If I was an Islanders fan (I’m a Rangers fan), I would have celebrated this game as well.

    For a sport thats suppose to be about toughness…. far too many of the hockey fans now adays are a bunch of crybabies. If the Islanders want to show this game, and some of their fans come to watch, who gives a damn. Grow a set and drop it.

  5. echolmberg - Aug 17, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    “I’ve never seen anyone get up and leave an NHL game during a fight”– Barry Melrose

    I thought a game was supposed to be about entertainment. And the reason to re-showing a game is to entertain and pump up your fans, especially the die-hard fans. What is more entertaining than showing your team beat one of the best teams in the league 9-3 with a bunch of fights?

    The NHL and the media trying to make fighting passé are trying to bow down to loud mouths who don’t like hockey anyway, but think they know better.

    Stand in an arena when there’s a fight on the ice and then tell me fans aren’t entertained by that.

  6. hockeyfan1701 - Aug 17, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Look at this way, when the only thing you have to look foward to is a watching a reply of a game from a season ago when you called up the goon squad to fight things are not going well for your team.

  7. tommyelay - Aug 17, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Shouldn’t Penguin fans be worried about Crosby’s brain more than the Islanders?

  8. timmons94 - Aug 18, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    they did ok without him…

    the Islanders are a disgrace:
    1.call up a goon to go after a goalie…wow..tough
    2. chase down and blindside Talbot whose hit the previous game was CLEAN….wow…tough
    3. trailer trash trevor goes after a young kid, then taunts him when he is down….wow…tough and classy
    the Islanders are a joke..

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