Photo: Elise Amendola/AP
I laugh when critics and so-called hockey purists whine about the Islanders playing boring hockey of being defense-first. It’s been the battle cry for the last three seasons. Apparently, the Islanders are not good for the hockey establishment. Only these people prefer the NHL’s Original Six, Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche since they play exciting hockey. Whatever that means.
I watched the Boston Bruins play the Islanders in Games 2, 3 and 4, and I have to tell you I was bored. This isn’t even hockey what they are playing. If clutching and grabbing along with fighting is what they do, they represent everything that’s wrong with the game.
The series appears exciting, but it really is not. There’s nothing entertaining about the Bruins making Mathew Barzal as a bounty target in Game 4. There’s nothing appealing about fights breaking out every five minutes by the Bruins. Who wants to waste entertainment dollars watching a team that just clutch and grab every minute of the game? Who wants to see the Bruins turn hockey into soccer?
Whatever the Bruins pay their blowhard TV play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards to sell this sorry product, it’s not enough. He has to call their games during the regular season and one playoff round. I would hate to have a job like his. It’s not that glamorous. Real work may beat this.
The Islanders stress defense, but at least they let their players skate and use their skills offensively. Anthony Beauvillier and Barzal don’t have to resort to being deployed on offense the way Taylor Hall has been. Imagine Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy coaching the Lightning or Avalanche and turning them into a defensive-first team. UGH!
It’s hilarious Cassidy is crying about the Bruins not getting many power-play opportunities and complaining about the Islanders’ tactics. That’s like calling the pot kettle black. He doth protest too much.
Maybe he’s starting to show his frustration that the Islanders may not be as easy as he thought.
The Bruins know they are in a dogfight. This isn’t the same old Islanders anymore. This isn’t a team that is just a pitstop for them to get to their dream. They should know the Islanders want to win the Stanley Cup just like them. They should know their counterpart wants to get its shot against defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning, who are up 3-1 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round. After all, the Islanders took them to six games and lost in overtime in the Eastern Conference Final last season. If Brock Nelson scored a breakaway in Game 6 against the Bolts, this goes to Game 7. You never know what happens in a Game 7.
The Bruins have been in the playoffs perennially, but they only won one Stanley Cup to show for it. With a line that features David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to go with Taylor Hall and Tuukka Rask, they should win at least two or three Stanley Cups. If they underachieve again in the playoffs, someone will have to take the fall. Maybe it’s Cassidy.
I don’t feel bad for the Bruins head coach. He showed zero respect for the Islanders throughout this series and the last few seasons. It’s amusing Islanders head coach Barry Trotz spew hosannas on the Bruins yet his counterpart can’t bring himself to say anything complimentary about the Islanders. His players reflect his coach, too.
Game 5 becomes a pivotal series as it always is in the Stanley Cup playoffs. There’s pressure on the Bruins to win tonight since that they are the home team. Sure they can win Game 6 on the Island. Sure they can win Game 7. But the Bruins will have so much burden to deal with if they lose Monday night. Maybe that’s why Cassidy is whining about the lack of power-play his team has not had. It’s a tact from the book of Phil Jackson to whine to the media in getting calls.
For hockey’s sake, the Islanders should beat the Bruins. Who wants to watch a team clog up the zones and play dirty in the postseason? Hockey should be about displaying talent and giving players the freedom to skate. At least the Islanders do that to go along with playing defense. With the Bruins, it’s just not like that.
The Islanders and Lightning can make this Eastern Conference Final entertaining. No one can say the same about the Bruins if they participate in it. Who wants to watch an immovable force (Lightning with their speed and size) against an immovable object (Bruins with their rugged style of play)? Certainly not me or Islanders fans. Certainly not Bettman. Definitely not NBC. Even the Lightning fans are praying that matchup does not materialize.
I for one hope this ends on Wednesday.
The sooner this series ends, the better off hockey and its fans will be.