It had been 23 years since the New York Islanders were able to get to the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs. Fortunately for them their first round opponent was the perennially mediocre Florida Panthers whose postseason futility nearly matched the Islanders since they hadn’t won a playoff series since 1996.
The Isles dispatched of the Panthers in six games and the way the New York media reacted you would have thought that they had won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1983. Some of the hype is understandable since the Devils did not qualify for the playoffs and the Rangers were knocked off with ease in round one by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Throw in the fact that both the Knicks and Nets’ NBA seasons ended in April, the Islanders were in the unusual circumstance of having the New York playoff sports stage all too themselves.
Their luck ran out in round two however on Sunday when they lost 4-0 in Game 5 to the NHL’s other Florida team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders had no answer for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop. Islanders star scorer, center John Tavares, was basically a ghost in the series and no one else on the blue and orange stepped up.
Jon Ledecky, who grew up in Bayside, and his fellow fiancier, Scott Malkin, will become majority owners of the Islanders on July 1 as they’ll switch roles with current CEO Charles Wang. While the Islanders are improving they are still a long way from being legitimate Stanley Cup contenders as the team is still basically John Tavares and four other guys on the ice.
Improving the player personnel is just one issue facing them.
The Isles’ current home, the Barclays Center, did not exactly draw rave reviews. For some reason, it was not built with hockey in mind and there were a lot of seats with obstructed views.
The team’s so-called radio network, whose flagship is Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, is rinky-dink by New York professional sports team standards.
While the Islanders were enjoying their moment in the playoff sun, iconic WFAN afternoon drivetime air personality Mike Francesa called the Islanders public relations department third-rate because of their inability to get players or coaches on his show.
Based on my experiences, Mike is right on the money. The Islanders have not provided me any media access over the last five years which has resulted in my inability to write much about them. Hockey is a niche sport and the Islanders don’t exactly command the back page. Nowadays, disposable income and leisure time are both at a premium and there are a plethora of entertainment options out there for the consumer. Ledecky and Malkin would be wise to ensure that the Islanders step up their media relations game.
Mets nominal ace, Matt Harvey, was able to quell some of the negative talk about him, after going six innings in Sunday’s nail-biting win in San Diego over the pesky Padres. Harvey once again had trouble in the fifth inning, which as the late Hall of Fame Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy used to say, has become his bugaboo. Nonetheless he located his pitches better and was able to pitch with greater velocity on more pitches than in his April starts.
Fans and the media may have been overly critical of Harvey’s dismal performance against the Braves during the Mets last homestand. He wasn’t feeling well before that start and required intravenous fluids before the game. Frankly, I am not sure why he was allowed to take the mound. The cold, dank weather didn’t help matters either. The warmer weather which has to eventually come to Queens should help him.
New York Racing Association officials will be praying that Nyquist, who was the favorite coming into the Kentucky Derby, and won it, will be able to repeat his performance in Baltimore at the Preakness a week from Saturday. As was evident last year with the success of American Pharoah, interest in the Belmont Stakes skyrockets when there is a chance of a Triple Crown winner.
Is it my imagination or has interest in the NFL Draft diminished ever since the league made the decision to relocate it from Radio City Music Hall to somewhere in Chicago two years ago?
He may not have been the player that the Giants wanted to draft in the first round, but Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple certainly has a great name to play in this market.
David Garrow was an infielder in the Minnesota Twins organization in early 1990s but he never made it to the majors. Playing in the minors is a draining experience because of the countless long bus rides and the less than optimal living conditions both on the road and at home. In order to fight fatigue, Garrow used a lot of sugary energy drinks and gulped coffee which isn’t the healthiest way to live.
Seeking an alternative, Garrow designed a cloth towel (think of it as a large Wet-Nap) that resembles a scarf and contains both healthy minerals and smelling salts that push extra oxygen into the body while cleaning facial pores.
After years of working on a prototype, the ProEnergy Towel has just hit the market. Company executives are hoping that anyone needing to stay awake, such as drivers on a long trip, will use the towel instead of energy concoctions or chugging Red Bull.
The Outdoor Chanel is not a cable network that gets great ratings in New York but it is a change of pace to watch their archery, fishing, and marksmanship shows. It would be nice if the Outdoor Chanel could obtain the rights to reruns of the 1960s ABC Saturday afternoon series, “The American Sportsman” that was hosted by the late Curt Gowdy.
In a case of better late than never, CBS is finally showing the last season of the thinking person’s action series, “Person Of Interest,” that stars Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. In its five seasons, “Person Of Interest” has refreshingly used Queens locations for shooting scenes even more than they have used Manhattan.
Many Knicks and Rangers fans have long frequented Brother Jimmy’s BBQ which is located right across from Madison Square Garden on the southeast corner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue. Brother Jimmy’s has just opened in the Dining District of Long Island’s Roosevelt Field and if you are a fan of Carolina barbecue than this is a must stop.
Contrary to popular belief, you can eat healthy while enjoying barbecue with dishes as smoked turkey breast and pulled chicken. Even Jimmy’s barbecue brisket is lean and tender. And yes, they have pulled pork, smoked ribs and wings as well as tasty sides as collard greens, candied yams, mac and cheese, and baked beans.
Forget the calories; leave room over for their sinful banana pudding.
When the Nassau Coliseum reopens in 2017, make sure to dine here either before or after an event.