Thursday's incident during the Flames-Islanders game has once again sparked the age old debate, is preseason really necessary? This is a topic that rolls around each year like the flue, after a big name player for some team goes down in a preseason game with some sort season changing, bone rattling injury. The argument mostly stems from football and hockey due to their intense physical game play and proved no different following the earth rattling hit laid on Kyle Okposo.
So after the game was over and the Flames had one, that same pesky question reemerged, is preseason really necessary? The answer is so simply put, Yes it is.
Preseason is a job interview for prospects to make their mark on a team or make a stab for an open spot. The intent is to pick out the best players and put them on the ice to compete everyday, just like a corporationor business who want to find the best of the best employees. They wouldn't just pick people without seeing how they can handle a real situation they would face out in the field of that profession and the same goes for hockey clubs. preseason is a bonafide interview extended out to several games to see how the 40 plus guys that are invited can handle themselves during a game. A game in which involves all the aspects of a regular season game, skillful play, enthusiastic crowds, fights and hard hits. Those last two are what freak fans out the most, cause those fights or hard hits can detrimentally effect a major player on their team.no comments
The Islanders and flames will once again face off tonight in a rematch in Saskatoon. Much of the hockey world and all Islander fans,players and coaches are still up in arms on what some have described as a cheap shot on Kyle Okposo by Dion Phaneuf. Many remain sour over Dion's repeated refusal to drop the gloves with Islanders players challenging hit to a one on one fight, forcing his teammates to come to defend him.
"He was given every opportunity to stick up for himself and he didn't," coach Scott Gordon told Newsday. Adding "I think the admirable thing would've been to step up . . . if you're going to play like that, you live by the sword and die by the sword."
Many players and media alike have repeated the same sentiment through out the last two days, including George Johnson of the Calgary Herold. Johnson outlines several issues he has about what went down the other night and challenges Dion Phaneuf to stand up for himself after he hits someone.
In other news the Islanders made their first cuts yesterday, assigning Casey Cizikas, a fourth round draft pick in the 2009 draft and Travis Hamonic, a second round pick from the 08 draft back to their major Junior teams.
And finally Frans Neilson is undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Kyle Okposos is said to have rested at the team hotel in Saskatoon and did not practice with the team yesterday.
When Phaneuf ran over Kyle Okposo ever Islanders fan collectively stoped breathing, had their heart skip a beat, and wanted to run on the ice and blindside Dion Phaneuf. The legality of the hit is a mute point for the time being. As kyle Okposo Lay there motionless his teammates backed him up as everyone jumped up and wanted a piece of Phaneuf, which Morency got after he jumped the boards. Even Martin Biron ran out of his net to try and get a piece of Dion. And after things calmed down his teammates, opponents, arena crowd and stunned home audience watched in disbelief as Kyle lay their motionless. I could not have imagined that happening to one of our guys in the pre-season and it felt as if a personal friend had been attacked and I couldn't due anything to help and you could see even his own teammates felt helpless.
After leaving on a stretcher, news started to come in as Bob Nystrom told Canadian radio that Okposo called his father to tell him he was alright. Following the game Katie Strang tweeted that Okposo was talking and moving his hands, another good sign. And recently the Isles announced that Okposo was diagnosed with a mild conconcussion and he has been cleared to travel with the team back to Saskatoon tonight. A cautious optimism can be enjoyed by fans since the severity of the Injury looked bleak.
Many fans tonight and for days to come will debate how clean Phaneuf's hit actually was, some will valiantly say it was a dirty hit as Phaneuf appeared to leave his feet and others will say it was a clean hit and is part of the game. All I can call was extremely unessesary for a pre-season game, but hey judge for yourself and post a comment on your thoughts of the Phaneuf hit on Okposo.
Focus for this game was mainly on Theo Fleuy's comeback, since tonight would be his first game in six years. Calgary Fans made him feel right at home giving him grand applause every time he shot or touched the puck and the place erupted after Theo became tonight's hero scoring the game winning goal during tonight's shoot out.
For Islander fans though they will resonate on the fact that one of their star players was taken out on a stretcher after a huge hit by Dion Phaneuf.
Following a less than stellar start to the first, in which sloppy passing caused the opening goal by Nigel Dawes just 4:53 into the first. The Isles started coming alive late in the first keeping the puck in the flames end resulting in a goal. Josh bailey fired one from the left side of the net and Trevor Smith got his stick on the puck to redirect it in tying the game up at one.no comments
After a tough game against the Oilers last night in Edmonton the Islanders headed over to Calgary to take on the Flames tonight. Several story lines are entwined with tonights game including the return of fan favorite Theo Fleury after his 6 year absence from the game. Fleury even told the Calgary Herald “I would love to get hit — that would be great.”The game will be streamed live on the Calgary Flames website, you can check it out here as i will embed the feed right to the site for your viewing pleasure.
Notable events from last night include an impressive performance by Nate Lawson,two groin strains to Sean Bergenheim and Doug Weight which hopefully minor injuries, and Calvin de Haan scored his first goal in preseason. Here's what de Haan told ITV after yesterdays loss,
de Haan, who had a rough few minutes eased into the game showing many why he deserved to be taken at 12 in the draft.