Cheers for the Commissioner

It's time for fans to end the booing of Commissioner Bettman. Islanders defeat the Bruins to advance. Picking the better loser.

CHEERS FOR THE COMMISSIONER: Associate, Sig Demling sends a missive he titles, "Why The Booing Must End." Demling insists that the time has come for fans to stop the unnecessary booing when Gary Bettman's name is announced to the fans; especially at the Cup Final and NHL Entry Draft.

"Bettman has led the league through trying financial times; through the league's growth -- including expansion -- not to mention the Covid crisis," Demling argues. "The league has completed nearly two Stanley Cup playoffs without a hitch during the pandemic and now has landed a monster ESPN/TNT deal.”

"And who wins from all the Commissioner's work? It's the fans. With that in mind, I suggest that it's time to stop booing Bettman!"

P.S. I wholeheartedly agree!


THE JIVE: Last season’s “Bubble” success was said to be aided by the closeness the team developed over the months of seclusion in hotel rooms and on rinks. Now, a year later, the New York Islanders have EARNED their way to the NHL semifinals -- and just maybe, the scrappy team from Long Island now can be categorized as one league’s top clubs.

The expectations began to grow when Lou Lamoriello took over the g.m. post; and they soared when coach Barry Trotz took the helm behind the bench. And when expectations were matched, barn-bedlam ensued. The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio; the Howard Stern Show’s, Gary Dell’Abate; New York Jets lineman, Dan Feeney and No. 2 overall NFL Draft pick, quarterback Zach Wilson are all part of the 12,000-plus fan-fest happening at the closeout tour of the fan-base’s hallowed ground -- Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Postgame, fresh off the 6-2 series-ending win, Trotz commented, “It was deafening. I could barely hear myself out there.”

But none of this happens without the organizational structure that came when the current ownership group, Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky, purchased the franchise.

The dynamic duo have done everything right! They’ve built a winner on and off the ice, and soon they will make the state of the art UBS Arena, their new home.

But not before they try and make some more Islander history at the Coliseum!


THE JIVE: Forget about the regular season; when it comes to goaltending excellence, the playoffs are what it's all about. A few weeks ago the Jets Connor Hellebuyck entered the postseason with high esteem. Many rated him the repeat Vezina-winner. And he sure underlined that point during the sweep of Edmonton. 

But with all the shenanigans befalling Winnipeg -- most especially Mark Scheifele's suspension -- Hellebuyck had to lift his game. Actually, as the series progressed, it was Carey Price who delivered between the pipes. The Canadiens ace showed what he could do with a full tank gas. Poor Connor and his Jets simply ran out of fuel. (The decision goes to Carey with a TKO.)


THE JIVE: If ever a pair of solid forwards were expected the grass -- or ice in this case -- to be greener on the other side, it was Patrick Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Laine went to Columbus with much fuss and fanfare and almost immediately ignited a battle with John Tortorella -- or was it the other way around? Both wound up losers and its anyone's guess where Lamenting Laine will play his hockey next season. As for Dubois, if ever coach Paul Maurice needed Pierre-Luc to step up his game when Scheifele went to the Court of Last Resort, this series was it. Like Laine, Dubois wound up a loser. (The only difference was that Dubois made it to the playoffs.)


THE JIVE: TSN's Hockey Insider, Darren Dreger, reports that the LA Kings are in the market for top six forwards. "The Kings are hoping to acquire two top 6 forwards through trade or free agency," he tweeted yesterday. The Kings have some great young forwards in their system like Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Arthur Kaliyev, and Rasmus Kupari. It will be interesting to see if g.m. Rob Blake believes his team is ready to compete for the playoffs starting next season, and which forwards he will be after.

TRIVIA CORNER: Which two teams were accepted into the NHL following the great expansion of 1967? (Answer below.)

CLASSIC COMMENTS OF YESTERYEAR: "That's it, the end of the road; the end of the Punch Imlach era."

-- Leafs boss Stafford Smythe after firing his general manager, March 1969. In the playoffs the Bruins beat Imlach's Leafs, 10-0 and 7-0 before Toronto was eliminated.