It's not meaningless
Instead of coasting, York says he'll play for pride and the fans
BY ALAN HAHN
Newsday Staff Writer
April 2, 2006
This was expected, poor playoff chances or not. The Islanders
yesterday went through one of those practices that a team can earn
after a night like Friday's 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh.
Pucks were barely touched but skates were going non-stop. And there
was Mike York, cracked cheekbone, two weeks from a concussion and
seemingly running on fumes.
"I'm feeling fine," he said, with his cheek yellowed and bruised
where a puck smashed into it in a freak deflection during a practice
The injury has forced him to wear a tinted visor as protection for
his broken cheek, as well as to ease the strain of bright lights on
his pupil, which had been dilated from the trauma.
Not much left to play for? York, who has every excuse to shut it
"Pride," he said. "Pride in the organization, playing for the guy
next to you ... For me, I love playing this game. If you're capable
of playing, you play. You play for the front of the sweater, you play
for the fans."
The 28-year-old center has played for the front of three different
sweaters - Rangers, Oilers and Islanders - and three different sets
of fans in his six NHL seasons. He will be a restricted free agent
this summer and should be easy to qualify at $2.05 million.
In 2007, however, he'll be unrestricted and therefore could be trade
bait in the offseason if the incoming general manager doesn't see him
fitting into the team's future.
"I really haven't thought about it much," York said. Given a few
seconds to think about it, York said, "I love it around here."
So much so that he and his wife, Aimee, bought a house in Plainview
with the hopes they can establish some roots.
"I'm comfortable here. My wife likes it here," he said. "This is a
good area. The traffic's the only downside, but you get used to it.
Overall, it's a great area and the fans get into the games. It's a
great place to play."