"NO ONE goes Tyson-versus-the-Black-Rhino
on OUR bitch-ass goalie!!"
I'm curious what the average New York Islander fan thinks of Fox Sports Pittsburgh's airing of "Friday Night Fights: Hockey Edition" this past weekend, an event otherwise known as the Pens-Islanders game.
My hope is that they would be embarrassed.
The Islanders launched an organized assault on the Pens, all in the name of revenge... and revenge for what? Revenge, basically, for Rick DiPietro being a slack-mouthed, glass-jawed bitch. DiPietro is better at getting injured than he is at goaltending, and if he really thought he and Brent Johnson were going to yuk-yuk-yuk it up at center ice after he clotheslined a Penguin with :16 left in the Feb. 2 game... well... then he deserved to get his face shattered.
On top of that, before the first-round bell rang on Friday, the Islanders were in the middle of putting a lopsided donut on the Pens. What better way to show up your opponent than to whitewash them? In fact, that possibility makes the Islanders' premeditated plan that much more idiotic. The plan should have been, "Okay, guys, if we get up early, don't be afraid to run up the score. Let them start some shit, and we can respond in kind."
I'm not even sure, though, that Maxime Talbot's concussive/questionable hit on Blake Comeau — which, along with the DiPietro KO, is what supposedly triggered Friday's revenga — deserves the thuggish-ruggish beatdown the Islanders attempted. They called up a Vick Mackey strike team of minor-league goons and went open season on the Pens, including career Neanderthal Mike Haley — you know, the guy who looks like an psychotic albino gorilla about to wallop Craig Adams in the most-publicized photo from the game.
Admittedly, I stopped watching the game when it was 4-0, so I had to watch the brawling on highlights. And I actually saw Mario Lemieux's statement prior to watching the highlights, so I thought initially that Mario was talking as much about the Pens as he was about the Islanders. Looking at it now, definitely not.
That's a little problematic for me, because Mario Lemieux employs Matt Cooke. Don't get me wrong. I love the Cookie Monster, but I'm not going to argue with anyone who says he can be a dirty player. But Matt Cooke has never tried to suckerpunch anyone like Martin tried to do Talbot. That was Bertuzzi-ish. That could have been a career-ender if Talbot doesn't catch it at the last second.
Maybe Mark Madden is right. Maybe it's time to ban fighting from the NHL. It's definitely time to do something more about blind-side hits and head-hunting. You fix that, and the only storyline for this rematch is whether Rick DiPietro's face looks like the end of Rocky I or IV.