old time hockey
I'm reading Fishticks: The Rise and Fall of The New York Islanders. Coincidentally, Metro TV was showing an Islander retrospective today, going back to the good old days of four Stanley Cups and the greatest team ever assembled on ice. Gillies, Nystrom, Bossy, Trottier. The ultimate team.
I was there when the Islanders one their second championship, against the Minnesota North Stars. Watching the team circle the ice with the cup held up high, standing right there watching it - that was one of my best sports fan moments ever.
I miss the old days of hockey. I miss the guys without helmets, Ron Duguay's hair flying in the wind, bare-knuckle punches landing on hardened heads.
I miss the bench-clearing brawls, sticks and gloves littering the ice, Billy Smith leading the charge from the opposite end of the rink, goaltenders locked in battle. I miss the old Flyers and Bruins, the ones who would climb into the stands to beat up on fans. I miss the rivalry between the Rangers and the Islanders, one that is just a shadow of its former self, with none of the vile emotion that used to carry it.
I can never get enough of watching Clark Gillies one-punch Terry O'Reilly into neverland. Old Time Hockey. Back when men were men and the Islanders uniform did not have the Gorton's fisherman on it.
Call me a neanderthal, I don't care. I miss Bobby Clarke and Dave Semenko and Dave "Tiger" Williams and Dave Schultz.
The Islanders were ruined by bad management and ownership who did not understand, or care about, the fans. Hockey was ruined by people who did not understand what they fans came to the game for. Sure, a smooth-skating, high-scoring game is exciting. But given the opportunity to watch Gretzky slink his way around the boards and try to evade being checked because he might, you know, break, and the opportunity to once again see a game that lies just short of something out of Slapshot, I'll take a combination of the two.
Old time hockey. Eddie Shore.