Dear Penguins Fans, It's Time to Move On: An Open Letter from NY Islanders Fans

Daniel Friedman@DFriedmanNHLCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 17:  Fans hold a sign in reference to Mario Lemieux statements regarding a fight between the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins before an NHL hockey game between the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins at the Nassau Coliseum on February 17, 2011 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Since it has become apparent that Pittsburgh Penguins writers and readers have nothing better to do than crash the New York Islanders' B/R home page, I thought I'd relay the following message to our Gillies-hating counterparts:

I know it must be difficult cheering on a team that has been to the Stanley Cup finals twice in the last three seasons, employs not one, but two elite forwards in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and gets the benefit of the doubt nine out of ten times when it comes to dealing with Commissioner Bettman and Co.

But seriously, the whining about the Trevor Gillies incident, as well as the other fights and "unjust" actions of "goonery," has got to stop. Like, yesterday.

When is enough really enough for you guys? Gillies was suspended for nine games, Matt Martin for four- two pretty harsh rulings from a league that is incredibly inconsistent when it comes to such matters. The NHL even fined the Isles $100,000 right off the bat for "failure to control the players," while your head coach, Dan Bylsma, got away clean as a whistle, despite also failing to stop Eric Godard from leaving the bench.

Also, not sure if you noticed, but both your fans and your owner are complete and utter hypocrites for calling out the Isles and the NHL. Your team leads the league in penalty minutes and fighting majors, and of course employs the real dirtiest player in hockey—Matt Cooke.

But don't just take my word for it, read these excerpts from Stan Fischler (a well respected hockey writer and reporter who has been in the game longer than most) in his response to Super Mario's comments:

"The Islanders played hockey to the tune of nine goals; the Penguins didn't know whether they were coming or going. As for the fights, the NHL race is so tight in so many places that fights erupt all the time. Just two nights earlier a similar outburst took place in Boston between the Bruins and Canadiens. Not a peep was heard from Lemieux.

Just recently a Dallas-Boston match featured three fights in the first four minutes. From Lemieux, we heard nothing but the silence of the lambs. As for the "travesty," that best describes the Penguins’ performance. If I were Pittsburgh's owner I'd have found that painful to watch as well.

Fighting has been an accepted part of hockey since the game was invented. If Gary Bettman wanted to eliminate it, he would have done so at some point during his 18-year tenure as commissioner. And Lemieux should know a thing or two about mayhem: His Penguins have led the league in penalty minutes and fights this season.

Before you give us any free advice about 'the safety of our players,' check out your own roster, specifically a chap named Matt Cooke. Among his peers the Pittsburgh forward is regarded as the NHL's dirtiest player. Lemieux's own former teammate, Rob Brown, told the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson that Cooke is 'a guy who can end careers. He possibly ended Marc Savard's career (hit to the head). He could have ended Alex Ovechkin's by sticking out his knee. I've played with guys who have no conscience, and that's Cooke.'"

There were others in the media, such as CBC's Don Cherry, who had similar words for Mr. Lemieux, but I think the above is more than sufficient.

The most ridiculous and mind-boggling thing about this sudden flurry of anti-Islander sentiment that has invaded our web space here is that these are in response to a game that didn't even involve the Pittsburgh Penguins! This game was between the Islanders and the Minnesota Wild!

I'll check again after I'm done writing, but I'm fairly certain that there were no such articles written on our Bleacher Report page by Wild supporters. But if there were any team whose fans would have the right to do so, it's the Wild, not the Penguins.

I'm not defending Gillies, but I do think it's questionable whether or not last night's incident was indeed a hit to the head, as reader "Bob K" has pointed out numerous times throughout the day. I also think this is getting far too blown out of proportion, especially because there are others like Gillies who play the same type of game, yet they receive far less notoriety around the NHL. 

It's time to move on Penguins fans, and it's time to go away and leave us Isles fans alone.

For Islander fans who usually check in to this site to read articles that are insightful but certainly not derogatory to their team, seeing two articles that were written with (speaking of intention) intention to insult is more than just upsetting—it's disrespectful and just plain wrong.

So please, if you're going to bash our team, go right ahead. Just don't do it on our home page. If you want to publish a story geared towards rooters of your team, feel free to post it on the Penguins' B/R page. That's why it's there.



Islander Fans Everywhere


Comments are welcome.