While there were nothing but good vibes in Nassau on Sunday for most of the Islanders faithful, some took their fandom too far.
Brooklyn resident Nate Smith, who belongs to the fan group New York City Capitals Fans, wrote about his group’s experience at the Coliseum for Game Three, which included some psychical and verbal altercations with some Islanders fans, his friend’s car getting keyed and his license plates stolen, and some less-than-helpful security attendants.
Smith gave credit to many Islanders fans for defending his group and encouraging them to ignore some of the abusive fans, but he ranks it as the worst experience he’s had at a game as a fan — by far.
“There were a ton of Islanders fans that were cool to us but we had incident after incident [Sunday] in a way that I have never seen. The combination of racism, sexism, homophobia, vandalism and violence was something almost impressive to behold,” Smith wrote on his blog.
Not cool, people.
Listen, we all love the Islanders. That doesn’t give you a free pass to be a terrible person. Sometimes sports can feel like war, where everyone in the opposing sweater is an enemy that needs to be vanquished. It is not actually war. These are just people, like you and me, who just happen to root for a different team. Homophobic slurs, physical altercations and property damage are not an acceptable way to act. I can’t believe I actually have to type that out, but if you really need to get it through your head, read it again.
Every fan base has their idiots, and on behalf of ours, I want to apologize to Nate and his group. I’ve been an away team fan in hostile environment, too, and it can be an awful experience when you’re around not-fully-evolved morons. For Islanders fans who are going to Game Four, don’t be an idiot to Capitals fans who make the trip. You don’t have to like their team, but buying a ticket and wearing an Islanders jersey doesn’t give you free reign to break the law and be a jerk. Be loud. Cheer and boo. Go crazy when our boys score. But let’s be a whole lot better than the behavior described in this account.
The Islanders took a 2-1 series lead over the Capitals on Sunday with an overtime win at Nassau Coliseum.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Alexander Ovechkin irked the Islanders faithfull on Saturday, when he made a remark doubting the Nassau Coliseum crowd would be as loud as the Verizon Center was in Game 2.
So Islander fans didn’t hold back on Sunday when they packed the Coliseum for Game 3. Hours before the puck even dropped, fans filled the parking lot to tailgate and when they got into the building they didn’t stop making noise.
“I didn’t think it could be any louder than when we played Pittsburgh,” Islanders Coach Jack Capuano said about the atmosphere. “But it was. It was just a lot of energy in the building tonight and that’s what it’s about.”
In 2013, the players really got a taste of what the Nassau Coliseum could be like when it was sold out and rocking. This season the Islanders have seen the building full on a number of occasions and it has been a real home-ice advantage for them.
Fans booed Ovechkin ever time he touched the puck and chants of “Can You Hear Us?” echoed across the building throughout the night. Even as Capitals’ Coach Barry Trotz addressed reporters in the Coliseum Expo Hall, fans could be heard chanting in the lower lobby.
“It was huge,” Kyle Okposo said about the fan support. “It was a little bit louder than the Verizon Center I think. We’ll take the atmosphere and try to use it to our advantage.”
After the game Johnny Boychuk was asked if he felt the crowd. His response, “oh definitely.”
“If you didn’t feel it, I mean, you probably weren’t in the building,” he added.
It’s hard to say even that was true. At times the decibel level felt so high that fans in Washington D.C. could hear the Coliseum crowd. When the Islanders scored in the second period, and in overtime, the “Yes!” chant was the loudest it had been all season.
It’s probably safe to say that Ovechkin’s opinion about about noise level at Nassau Coliseum has likely changed.
“They played him hard there in the two games in Washington,” Capuano said after the game. “He still had some chances, but tonight 91 was 91. He did a lot of good things for us, not only on the ice, but on the bench too. He calmed things down when they made the push. He’s been there all year for us and it’s no different for us here tonight.”
The Islanders captain scored the game-winning goal 15 seconds into overtime, leading the Isles’ to their first playoff overtime victory since 1993.
Tavares won the faceoff to start the overtime period and the Islanders quickly dumped the puck into the zone. The Islanders forced a Washington turnover, Nick Leddy redirected a shot from the point and Tavares put the rebound into the back of the net.
“To get one like that is big,” Tavares said. “I’ll always remember. I’ll look back at it after the season, but I just want to get ready for the next game.” To read more of this story, click here
Recap: The Islanders won at Nassau Coliseum Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Need to know: John Tavares won it for the Islanders with a goal 15 seconds into overtime. It was the first overtime playoff goal for anyone on the Islanders’ roster.
Kyle Okposo was credited with the opening goal with with 7:23 left in the second period after he redirected Lubomir Visnovksy’s shot. Nicklas Backstrom tied it with 6:06 left in regulation on a shot from the point past a screened Jaroslav Halak (24 saves).
The Islanders had the first nine shots of the game and outshot the Caps 16-5 in the first period and 17-8 in the second. The Caps had a 12-7 advantage in the third.
Braden Holtby (40 saves) was back in goal for the Caps after missing Game 2 because of illness.
The Capitals and Islanders were both 0-for-3 on the power play.
The Caps haven’t scored in last nine playoff overtime periods against the Islanders. That covers four games, including the Islanders’ four-overtime win in 1987. The other two games went two overtimes.
The Caps missed an opportunity in the first when they blew a 3-on-1 after the Isles killed a penalty and only had four men on the ice.
The Caps’ Eric Fehr did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury in the first period from a hit by Okposo.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: Game 4 is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m in Uniondale.
The Islanders and Washington Capitals are back on Long Island with the series even at one game a piece. Today’s Game 3 broadcast will be nationally televised on NBC with Mike “Doc” Emrik, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire on the call. WHRU 88.7 FM and LI News Radio 103.9 FM will have the radio broadcast with Chris King and Dan Savarino calling the game.
Braden Holtby will start in net for Game 3 after missing the previous game due to illness. Isles’ Coach Jack Capuano said that Jaroslav Halak will be back in net at Nassau Coliseum. Tyler Kennedy will take the spot of Michael Grabner in the Islanders’ lineup.
Nikolay Kulemin-John Tavares-Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey-Brock Nielsen-Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Tyler Kennedy
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuk
Brian Strait-Calvin de Haan
Thomas Hickey-Lubomir Visnovsky