10:25 pm – In our continuing attempts to break up the repetition of our game recaps, tonight it’s List Night as New Jersey beats the Islanders, 5-2.
TWO BURNING QUESTIONS
How is Frans Nielsen after the high hit by Mike Mottau?
The Islanders announced that Nielsen suffered leg and head injuries. His status for the rest of the trip is unclear. On a positive note, Nielsen briefly chatted with a pair of reporters on his way out. He seemed to be feeling better although walking with a slight limp. “We’ll see,” he said.
Scott Gordon said Mottau deserves a suspension. Bill Guerin let out a rant about how he’s tired of hearing how the PA must get involved. Guerin said it should be a league-wide effort. The captain also said, “Mike Mottau is not a dirty player, but that was a dirty hit – just as Thomas Pock is not a dirty player, but he gave a dirty hit.”
Why didn’t Gordon play Mitch Fritz in the aftermath of the Mike Mottau hit on Nielsen?
You can’t say Gordon is traditional. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” the coach said. “You jeopardize your own players’ safety.” He pointed out that the roster was taking another major hit with the potential loss of Nielsen and “we’ve got a game tomorrow.”
Asked about Gordon’s unconventional decision, Guerin replied, “That was Gordo’s call. He has his reasons, and that’s good enough for me.”
Brendan Witt had an Wittian response. Asked by Greg Logan if he was surprised Fritz didn’t play at the end of the game, Witt said it was a “coach’s decision” and immediately veered into a discussion of how his team played in the first period.
POSSIBLE REASONS WHY THE NYI LOST TONIGHT
Three days off after three wins + playing on the road = sluggish out of the gate.
The Devils consistently went hard to the net all night and as a result scored more crazy-scramble goals than the Islanders.
Joey MacDonald uncharacteristically wandering far out of his net twice in the first period had an unsettling effect.
The Devils were better.
The Devils had Zach Parise, who made something out of nothing on Brian Gionta’s back-breaking goal to make it 4-2 with 15 seconds left in the second period.
BUTCH GORING’S PLAYERS OF THE GAME
We asked the Islanders dynasty final piece and TV analyst to list the standouts in tonight’s game:
BILL GUERIN’S DEVILS INFLUENCES
These teammates had a profound impact on Bill Guerin when his NHL career began in New Jersey in the early ’90s. “I was young and impressionable, and these were the guys I looked up to,” said Guerin before the game. “Their influence is still with me today.”
MITCH FRITZ’S MOST RESPECTED FOE
1. Georges Laraque
We asked the Islanders enforcer for a list of respected opponents and he immediately said, “Georges.” After all his years in the minors, Fritz was proud of going toe-to-toe with the veteran heavyweight and of Laraque telling him when it was all over, “Good job.”
“I saw in the papers he said something good about our battle,” said Fritz. “I’d be lying if I said that didn’t mean a lot to me.”
THE BEST OF THE ROCK
We asked Devils Radio play-by-play announcer Matt Loughlin, a New Jersey native, for some of the Prudential Center’s best attributes.
Fan Amenities: For the high-end customer at places like the Fire & Ice club and everyone else, the arena is first-class. “I’ve also heard nothing but raves for the staff here,” said Loughlin. “The customer relations are exceptional.”
A Place to Call Their Own: “It is the Devils’ building and you know it the moment you first see it outside. The logos, color scheme, everything says Devils.” Even the plumbing features the Devils logo.
Access to Mass Transit: “For a large section of Devils fans, the Rock is much easier to get to now.”
Gold Bar: It’s exclusive before and during games, but open to everyone after. “It’s become the gathering place for hockey fans post-game.”
Concessions: The building has incorporated many of Newark’s food places like Hobby’s Deli and has a wide variety of choices. “Great food,” says Loughlin. “Just ask Chico.”
CHICO’S UNDERRATED ISLANDERS TEAMMATES
Former Islanders Cup-winning goalie and current Devils TV color commentator Glenn “Chico” Resch on some of his favorite unsung teammates.
Garry Howatt: “Howie was our little policeman on and off the ice. If you were messing up or were out of line, Howie called you out. He brought accountability to our team.
Bert Marshall, Gerry Hart, Billy MacMillan: “Teachers, pros. We learned so much from them. They were a big part of the growth of a team that became a dynasty.”
Dave Langevin: “Toughness, presence. We were a different team after we Bammer arrived.”
NEIL SMITH’S UFA SIGNINGS
With Neil Smith in The Rock press box tonight, a list of his free agent signings during his time as general manager of the Islanders.
1. Brendan Witt
2. Mike Sillinger
3. Andy Hilbert
4. Tom Poti
5. Chris Simon
TEAMS WATCHING TONIGHT’S GAME
The following NHL teams were represented by at least one scout in the press box tonight:
Tampa Bay (That’s Ryan Malone, whose father Greg was here. That’s all.)
POINT BLANK’S FAVORITE SONS OF JERSEY
1. Bruce Springsteen
2. Jack Nicholson
3. Dan Federici (may he rest in peace)
4. Frank Sinatra (for my dad, may he rest in peace)
5. Steven Van Zandt
6. Meryl Streep
7. Max Weinberg
8. Abbott & Costello
9. Gary Tallent
10. Kevin Spacey, although we forgive him for Beyond the Sea
***Clarence Clemons (Norfolk, Virginia) and Roy Bittan (Rockaway Beach) ineligible. Not a big Bon Jovi fan.
We’ll hold back one list for another day: an expert’s view of the Islanders’ top prospects not currently in Bridgeport or New York.
Talk about the game and anything else hockey-related in Comments.