Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Al Arbour Night Reprise

I had a chance to witness the now legendary Al Arbour night first hand and let me tell you, it was class all the way by the Islanders Organization. Heading into the game I was having discussions as to why the Isles would schedule such a historic night against a tough opponent like the Penguins. I then agreed that an Al Arbour night combined with Sid "The Kid" equaled a guaranteed sell out at the Coliseum. Even before the drop of the puck there was a buzz in the arena. I think everyone sensed a little magic back in the building where Arbour steered the franchise to four consecutive Stanley Cup victories.

Due to the great seats I had (6 rows off the ice), you could see the speed of the game and the Isles looked a step or two behind while the Pens jumped out to a 2-nil lead. But as Ted Nolan has the knack of doing, the Islanders were able to slow down the game and weather the storm. A fortuitous bounce of the puck to Trent Hunter got the fans riled up and everyone in the Coliseum seemed to agree that things were going to start going our way, and then Dipietro went down. At real time, game-speed, to be honest I don't think Crosby meant harm, he was driving to the net and his stick was being tied up.

In the third period it was all Satan. The effort Miro gave on Saturday night is what he needs to bring to the rink every game. He was forcing the play on the fore-check and creating offensive chances and to my surprise being physical. When he netted the winner off the rebound, the Coliseum erupted as it did when the seconds wound down and the Isles sealed win number 740 in game number 1500 behind the bench for Al Arbour.

The post game celebration was all first class. Old Islanders and new were brought together to celebrate a tremendous accomplishment for a tremendous ambassador of the sport of hockey. In the end the number 1500 banner was raised to the rafters and the legend of Al Arbour will live on forever in the hearts of Islander and hockey fans alike.

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