Isles Make a Point Of Moving on Up
By Alan Hahn
January 29, 2004
Get over it. That was the message coach Steve Stirling gave his team
following Tuesday night's frustrating 2-2 tie with the Bruins at
Nassau Coliseum, which featured a missed high-stick penalty by Rob
Zamuner and a subsequent late goal by P.J. Axelsson. The Islanders
and Bruins hook up again tonight in Boston to complete the home-and-
home, and Stirling wants his team concentrating on the two points to
gain and not the point lost.
"We should've had two. Yes, we should've," he said to them. "But
we'll take one, and we'll move on. One's better than none."
The point did, if anything, help the eighth-place Islanders (54
points) gain on the seventh-place Montreal Canadiens (56), as well as
move five up on the Rangers, who fell to the Capitals, 2-1, last
night, and four up on the Atlanta Thrashers, who finished with a 1-1
tie with the Blues yesterday.
With 32 games left in the regular season and the all-star break just
around the corner (Feb. 6-8), the preliminary stages of scoreboard
watching has begun. Fans at the Coliseum on Tuesday knowingly cheered
when the center-ice scoreboard showed the Canadiens losing to the
Buffalo Sabres. The players are aware, as well.
"We're obviously trying to move up now," rookie Trent Hunter said.
That is why Stirling didn't want his team - which is without its
three highest-paid forwards, Alexei Yashin, Mark Parrish and Michael
Peca - to be distracted by the lost point against the Bruins, who sit
in sixth place, just five points ahead. The Islanders can close to
within three of Boston, which is winless in its past three (0-2-1),
with a win tonight in front of a national audience on ESPN's Thursday
Notes & Quotes: Excellent timing by the Islanders promotions staff to
have an Islanders ice-scraper giveaway scheduled for Tuesday night,
when a blizzard fell outside the Coliseum. Many fans put their new
gift to use right after the game ... While praising the versatility
of defenseman-turned-forward Sven Butenschon, coach Steve Stirling
said Eric Godard, a healthy scratch in eight of 13 games in January,
is not being punished. "He's gonna have to keep working on his
skating and his hands and wait for an opportunity," Stirling
said. "There's nothing he did or didn't do." ... Rick DiPietro was
impressed with the game Shawn Bates brought on Tuesday: "I thought
Batesy was absolutely flying. That was one of his best games of the
Radio: ESPN (1050)
'Miracle' On Twice /Movie hopes to capture magic, significance of '80
By Mark Herrmann
January 29, 2004
As Islanders scout and former Olympian Ken Morrow put it, "You don't
see many hockey movies come along." So the current Islanders are
looking forward to a private screening of the newest one next week,
even though they know exactly how it ends. A few of the players
realize that the ending is really their beginning.
American players on the Islanders and other National Hockey League
teams believe the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team is their
inheritance. They have grown up with the youth leagues, the new
arenas and the widespread interest that sprouted from the "miracle on
ice" - the subject of "Miracle," a Disney film starring Kurt Russell
that opens a week from tomorrow.
Players who were way too young for Herb Brooks' squad still see that
1980 gold medal as their family history. Without it, they might never
have made it to the NHL.
"It got me hooked on hockey," said Islanders goalie Garth Snow, who
was 10 years old in Massachusetts when the team upset the Soviet
Union on the way to the championship. Snow remembers coming in from
playing street hockey to watch the games and remembers his dad
bringing a TV to the office of his building supply company during the
"I didn't play on the team, I wasn't involved in the team. But I'm an
American and I know what the political environment was then, with the
hostages [in Iran], the Cold War," Snow said. "I know I loved hockey
before that, but watching that every day . . . "
Before those 1980 Games in Lake Placid, it was inconceivable that an
American goalie could be chosen first overall in the NHL draft, as
Rick DiPietro was in 2000. DiPietro, who has a 4-0-1 streak as the
Islanders visit the Boston Bruins tonight, feels a connection with
the 1980 Olympians, and he wasn't even born until 1981.
"I guess, being from Winthrop [Mass.] and having that be the home of
Mike Eruzione, and getting to know him and his family, it's something
that's always talked about. It's there," DiPietro said, referring to
the 1980 team captain. "I think any athlete, especially any hockey
player, will recognize that as one of the biggest moments in U.S.
Jason Blake, who was 6 years old in Moorhead, Minn., in February
1980, said: "After that happened, it made a lot of people interested
in hockey and it gave a lot of them more opportunity. I think every
American takes pride in it."
Shawn Bates, a Boston University alumnus, who was 4 in Medford,
Mass., back then, said: "I know a couple of guys on that team who
played at BU - Mike Eruzione, Dave Silk, Jim Craig. To just talk to
them, you kind of get goose bumps about what they went through. It's
unbelievable, what they did."
The "unbelievable" aspect is the fact that the U.S. team, composed of
college players, beat the Soviets, who had been together for years
and who featured several hockey Hall of Famers. The improbability is
both the big selling point and the great risk for "Miracle." There is
a chance that no movie could capture the deep emotions that grabbed
the whole country. Preliminary reviews from some experts have been
"My daughters saw the movie last week, and they liked it," said
Morrow, who joined the Islanders as a defenseman right after the 1980
Olympics and now is their director of pro scouting. "They mentioned
they saw me at the beginning and toward the end. I don't know that I
have any lines. But they said they liked it. They asked me about
certain things that happened during that year."
Morrow plans to attend a private screening tonight near his home in
Kansas City and will join his old teammates Monday for the premiere
in Hollywood. Although he has not met Casey Burnette, who portrays
him on screen, he said he spoke with researchers who wanted some old
photos. "They re-created the jerseys, right down to the stitching and
the patches," Morrow said. "I know Herb Brooks was heavily involved,
so I'm sure it's accurate."
Russell plays Brooks, who died in a car accident in August after
having capped his career by coaching the 2002 U.S. Olympic team to a
silver medal. His widow, Patti, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press this
week that Russell's work is "fabulous," and that the new film
is "1,000 times better" than a 1980s made-for-TV movie that starred
For Morrow, the concern is how the hockey will look.
"With other sports, you can get by by faking it, but it's pretty
tough to reenact hockey scenes," he said. "From what I've read, they
went after hockey players and taught them how to act."
Filmmakers had regional tryouts that drew 4,000 players.
They chose 60 and had a final cut to 20, as Brooks did with the real
team. Buzz Schneider is portrayed in the movie by his son, Billy.
DiPietro said he played amateur hockey with Mike Mantenuto, who has
the role of Jack O'Callahan, and Bobby Hanson, who plays Dave
Silk. "I definitely want to check it out," the goalie said.
No matter how the reviews go, the movie is bound to evoke gratitude
from modern NHL players. Snow, who played for the 1994 Olympic team,
said he still can't get over the magnitude of the upset of the
Soviets. Although the United States hasn't won the gold medal since
then, he believes hockey's boundaries were widened forever.
"I don't know for sure, but it probably had an effect on NHL teams -
going to Florida, going to Arizona, going to Texas," he said. "They
say it was Wayne Gretzky getting traded [to Los Angeles before
the '88-89 season], but I'm sure the achievement of the 1980 team was
the first step."
Morrow said: "It's nice to hear that from a new generation, and it
has been a whole generation. For 10 or 15 years after it happened,
I'd go to schools and get the same reaction. But after that, it was
different. I realized that they didn't even know the Russians were
ever our enemies."
If nothing else, he said, it's great to see another hockey movie come
out. "Although," Morrow added, "I don't think it's just hockey people
who are interested in this."
ISLES SET FOR ROUGH REMATCH
By MIKE FORDE
January 29, 2004 -- You don't need a crystal ball or tarot cards to
predict what will happen tonight when the Islanders complete a home-
and-home against Boston at the FleetCenter.
There will be hitting and lots of it. That's usually the case with
the Bruins, whom the Isles played to a 2-2 standoff at the Coliseum
Tuesday night. So with that mix of predictably rugged play and a
practice filled with pain for Michael Peca, the Islanders' captain
(strained chest muscle) will sit out for a third straight game.
"There are times I think I will [play in a game] and then there are
times I know I'm not," Peca said. "I'm definitely not going
[tonight]. It's kind of a game-to-game thing. It was sore for [last
Friday's] Carolina game and it was worse after the Carolina game, so
I just gotta rest it."
Peca joined practice, which was run by Islander assistant Curt
Fraser, for the first time since aggravating the injury against the
Hurricanes. He first sustained the injury in the Isles' Jan. 15 match
Peca participated in Tuesday morning's non-contact skate and finally
tested the chest yesterday with a few hits, one a light check on
Justin Papineau against the boards.
"And it hurt," Peca said. "Those were the signs I knew I wasn't
With the Isles already down Alexei Yashin (wrist) and Mark Parrish
(ankle), coach Steve Stirling said that his team is feeling the
effects of Peca's absence.
"Physically, we are [feeling the effect]," Stirling said. "[Dave]
Scatchard and [Shawn] Bates and [Trent] Hunter up front are getting
more minutes and really stepping up. But it's not fair to those
three. The others have to pick it up as well."
Asked when he plans to have Peca back, Stirling said, "Michael's been
around a long time, so I know that when he thinks he's ready he'll be
back in the lineup."
Yashin skated with trainer Dan Marshall before yesterday's practice,
an exercise that he began doing last week. Yashin practiced a bit of
stick handling today, but only with his left hand.
"I think by next week we can do a little stick handling, some
passing, some shooting," Stirling said of Yashin.
SOUND TIGERS RALLY TO TIE ALBANY 2-2
Newcomer Gauvreau scores equalizer late in third period at home
BRIDGEPORT, CT â" The American Hockey Leagueâs Bridgeport Sound
Tigers, top affiliate of the National Hockey Leagueâs New York
Islanders, rallied to tie the Albany River Rats 2-2 at home
Wednesday. Brent Gauvreau scored the tying goal with 1:54 left in
regulation in his Sound Tigersâ debut.
The Sound Tigers took the first lead of the game on Derek Bekarâs
17th goal of the season 13:19 into the first period off assists from
Kevin Colley and Brandon Smith. However, Albany tied the game then
took the lead on the first two goals of the year by Ilkka
Pikkarainen tied the game at 1-1 5:12 into the middle frame and gave
the River Rats their first lead of the contest 9:32 into the third
period. Craig Darby and Joe Hulbig assisted on both Albany goals.
The Sound Tigers were put behind the eight ball late in the game when
Cole Jarrett took a high-sticking penalty to negate the teamâs fifth
power play and create a four-on-four situation. However, Head Coach
Greg Cronin called a timeout and pulled Goaltender Wade Dubielewicz
in favor of an extra attacker with 2:12 left to play, and the gamble
paid off as Gauvreau, who signed a professional tryout contract on
Monday, notched the first AHL goal of his career at 18:06 off assists
from Ryan Kraft and Brandon Smith to tie the game at 2-2.
The teams then skated scoreless through the five-minute overtime
despite three shots apiece in the extra session.
Gauvreau earned the first star of the game for the tying goal. River
Rats Netminder Ari Ahonen was the second star with 35 saves.
Pikkarainen was the third star for his two-goal effort. Dubielewicz
finished the game with 23 saves as the Sound Tigers had a 37-25 shots
on goal advantage. The Sound Tigers were 0 for 5 on the power play
while Albany was 0 for 3.
Darby hits milestone
Capital Region native records 500th AHL point in River Rats' tie
Winger Ilkka Pikkarainen scored twice and captain Craig Darby
assisted on both goals as the Albany River Rats skated to a 2-2 tie
against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday.
Darby, an Albany Academy graduate and current Saratoga Springs
resident, passed the 500-point mark in his AHL career and now has 501
Bridgeport opened up to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Derek Bekar.
Pikkarainen got the Rats on the board with his first goal in the
second. Pikkarainen gave Albany (13-19-6-5) the lead in the third
period with his second goal of the night.
Brent Gauvreau scored the game-tying goal at 18:06 in the third,
sending the game into overtime. Each team fired three shots on goal
in extra session.
Albany goalie Ari Ahonen faced 37 shots and made 35 saves. Bridgeport
(25-11-6-3) goalie Wade Dubielewicz stopped 23 of 25 shots he faced.
The River Rats play host to Binghamton at 7 p.m. Friday.