Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bailey Tribute from Isles Illustrated

Captain's Corner - SI & Islander Media Reporting

I love the Isles just as much as anyone....and am an "entrenched customer" of the team......

But the shortest book on Amazon right now - is:

"Islanders 1994-2008 - 15 years of elite hockey"

It has zero pages.....

The recent history of the team *TOTALLY* matters.

What matters more - is - WHAT ARE YOU DOING TODAY?"

A *totally* valid point - is that the reporting on the team has a lot of info that is not accurate. This is bad reporting - and it diminishes the credibility of who wrote it.

When you get down to brass tacks - why should anyone (other than the NY area papers - who should cater to the readers of the local area) spend any time covering this team? The only reason is to watch the train wreck of achievements this team has made. Its the only thing interesting about the team.....with an occasional "blip" of good things (i.e. The 2001 playoff run, the Shooutout win with Dubie, the Arbour game) The S.I. story did a good job pointing out our shortcomings....and its fair game for the media.

I have a friend who is an executive at ESPN, and I spent an hour with her the other day discussing the NHL - and ESPN does NOT WANT THE NHL AT ALL. Maybe the playoffs, and then, they want the FINALS TOO - but the league wants that on broadcast TV.....hence - a disconnect.

Getting ANY hockey on the media's radar screen is tough enough for WINNING teams...even harder for those who are out of the money.

The bad reporting is usually minor points (Such as saying that Neil Smith quit when he was actually fired - but either way - he's gone) and while annoying - the general direction of the article is accurate.

Its not much we can do about it as fans/customers - and the team cannot do too much about it - except provide media outlets with positive news, etc.

The reason why I am somewhat BULLISH on the Islanders - is that its clear to me
(well, sort of clear) that the team HAS A PLAN....and one that Snow seems intent on sticking to. I think that for the next year or two - EXPECT TO SEE MORE BAD STORIES ON THE TEAM....or worse - NO STORIES ON THE we rebuild.

I am *Totally* hate it when the writers - especially out of market (read:CANADA) write dirt on our team. But we are what our track record says we are. And history does impact that - because IT DID NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. If we held onto the picks and prospects and had a real GM those years - we had a shot to have fielded a good team. Too many GM gaffes and too many wierdo things by the ownership group(s) have cost us dearly. All documented - but its time to draw the line in the sand (starting with THIS offseason) as the time where we make the decision to REBUILD and *MANAGE THE EXPECTATIONS* of the fan base.

To say that what happened in the past does not matter in how the team is perceived in the media - its just wrong. IT DOES. It will take *WINNING* to turn it around.

It will also take a lot of use of asterisks * * * to point out good things the team is doing....and we should all try to find the good in the team too. There is a lot of good stuff going on now - and will be in the future.

Have to give Garth Snow a chance here.

Have to work hard to convince the customers that there is no free lunch, that there is a road to rebuilding and to include them as part of the solution - to make the Coliseum a dreaded place for opposing teams to play. This will take time. But if we make another Trevor Linden type deal - I will FLIP OUT.


I hope its less than 5 years from now - but someday soonish - we will be having tailgate parties in late may and early june watching OUR TEAM march on to the Cup. I will settle for the first week in May in 2 years....right now !!! (meaning we win a playoff series - and may that opponent we beat be the NY RAGS)

I want to see the next generation of ISLES ICONS and they aint going to choose to come here - till we develop a CORE GROUP OURSELVES.

Rant over !!!!!

But hockey writers - for our sake - GET THE STORIES RIGHT!

Its not too much to ask for !! :)

And Isles - lets give them some GOOD stuff to write about - and we can start by hiring a GREAT COACH !!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Victory Iced Tea Esoteric

On July 17, Dan Sallows, a columnist on the Bleacher Report wrote an article about Quenneville and his liking of Long Island Iced Teas. You can see Dan's story at:

Since Dan brought up the potential Iced Tea connection that we may have in our future, I decided to write about a tradition that we have amongst my friends that dates back to the 70's. In fact, Victory Iced Tea and the Esoteric's early beginings are married together.

It’s called Victory Iced Tea. In reality, it is King Kullen brand Iced Tea Mix, that came in the black box, with 10 each 1.5oz. packets, UPC is 010500. The original product had to be from the packets in the box to be valid. Nowadays, with cost reduction, etc. Victory Tea can be found in packets in a plastic bag.

This and only this product, in the packets, has been known, by my family and friends as Victory Tea for four decades. YES, I said 4 decades. VT started for me when my cousin, Larry, who was from Nesconsett at the time, moved in with my Grandmother in East Meadow to attend Nassau Community College. Larry and his friends were all hockey fans and HUGE fans of the New York Islanders. Back then the games were primarily broadcast on Cablevision, this group of friends needed a place to go. Larry, as a college Kid, had cable and my grandmother let him and a half dozen friends stay and watch the games at her house. At the time I was about 10 years old and it was great spending time like that with my grandmother, cousin and his friends. As my own girls, Abby Nystrom, Ally Gillies and Amelia Potvin get older I will pass on the tradition to a fourth generation (4-G-er)of Islander fans. In fact, 4-G-ers have already made an impact as one of the original 6 friend's son actually works at King Kullen. The power of the Tea is just and almighty.

Victory Tea evolved with the Islanders prosperity and along with it came a ritual of the actual VT making process. VT originated in the early 70’s as the guys were underage and could not partake of malted beverages. VT was born and subsequently, we had almost 10 years to hone the process until the 1984 finals. Since that time, we have only had the opportunity to savor pure VT only 29 times in over 20 years and only 9 of those 29 pitchers of VT have been from the second round. Perhaps with the widespread knowledge sharing ability the power of VT can be regained and we can storm through the second round in the coming years.

The process must be followed to the “T”, anything else would be considered sacrilegious against the Islander gods and doom the team to a multi-game losing streak. I continue to question whether any of us had severely violated the VT code in the past which has led to the Islanders dry spell. Do not laugh VT is powerful stuff.

The ritual begins with the hermetically sealed packets. This is important because if any of the mix left the packet early or was exposed the VT would be tainted and destroy the powerful positive energy of the Victory Iced Tea. This seal can not be broken until victory is imminent. I remember times we have made VT too early and the Islanders lost. It has magical powers, do not question it. Original VT has to be made in a green Tupperware pitcher; you know the kind with the round lid that can be turned to allow for just liquid flow on one side or flow to allow ice cubes on the other.

VT evolved as a celebration of playoff victories and is the purest form of Victory Iced Tea. Over the years as I have been away from home for over 21 years in the US Army, Victory Tea has been my own private celebration abroad, after the team wins a game.

Realize that this year I have drank VT during different deployments to Iraq, Korea, Colombia, Poland and Czech Republic to name a few places. During past seasons I have carted VT with me to various corners of the globe and actually have drank of VT in a combat zone. It has been such a meaningful tradition with us that when my grandmother passed away about a year ago, we included a packet of VT when we sent her on her way, since she had always been a huge Islander fan and a 93 year resident of Long Island and East Meadow.

The actually process of making the VT starts with the actual decision to make the Tea. Since as I mentioned early, this is very powerful, you need to take caution and not open the packet too early. Once victory is imminent and you decide to make the Tea, carefully open the packet. Ensure that the packet remains as one piece and you do not tear the top off so there is two separate pieces. This would be considered bad. Next, you take the VT vessel and fill it with water. VT powder must not touch anything besides the packet it is delivered and water.

Once the packet is empty fill the packet with water, swish the water in the packet around and dump the residual water and mix into the VT vessel. This process ensures that all the mix is completely consumed from the tight seals of the packet itself. Place the torn top into as close of an original position as possible and fold the top over at least once. Place the empty packet near a central location in the room, such as the TV where you would watch the game. Nowadays, it would be deemed appropriate to keep it near the computer with the advent of the internet. You will need to keep this packet in hand until the next victory when the process is repeated and the old packet now is obsolete.

The choice of vessel is important. If you can find an old green tuppperware pitcher this will work the best and keep the Islander gods happy. However, whatever vessel you choose it must only be used for VT and nothing else. Once pure VT is made in a vessel it will serve only as the vessel to hold Victory Iced Tea.

The issue we face nowadays is that VT in it's purest form is harder and harder to find, even in the plastic bag pouches. After extensive research into the manufacturing process of VT, it is discovered that VT is actually made at 4C in Brooklyn, who knew it was made here on "Long Island". Yes, Long Island. What body of water do you cross to go from the coliseum to Brooklyn? None. Thus, Victory Tea is actually a Long Island based product.

Do not mess with the power of the Tea.

In order to help find Victory Tea here is a link to King Kullen store locater webpage: