Normally, I’d be mad at myself for going so long in between posts here. But the reality is I’ve been writing and having a blast with the great folks at Lighthouse Hockey, been swamped at my “real job,” been enthralled by the Islanders current playoff chase and been working on a pretty expansive pet project. All in addition to spending as much time as I can muster with my family.
The benign hope I had for the Islanders has manifested itself into a persistent drive to see them continue playing as well as they have been. To be honest, I’m so giddy I don’t even want to talk about it. Suffice it to say that this is most exciting spring Islanders fans have had in a long time. As nervous as I get, I don’t want it to end.
The pet project I referred to is the Law & Owners Special Islanders Unit series over at Lighthouse Hockey. What started as some lockout filler expanded into…well into a book. Seven chapters, each a couple of thousand words, each a lot longer than I expected them to be.
Writing it was a highly enjoyable experience and the idea for something like that had been rolling around in my head for a while. A comment at LHH about the Islanders never having a good owner got me to thinking. I knew about John Pickett. Everyone knows about John Spano. More people should remember Steven Gluckstern and Howard Milstein. I didn’t know as much about Sanjay Kumar as I thought I did. And I knew nothing of Roy Boe, other than his association with the Nets and Dr. J.
So after a lot of web searching and few books, the end result is something I’m very proud of. Judging by a lot of the comments, the series contained some fun nuggets that people either didn’t know or forgot like I did. I’d like to expand it and offer it as an e-book on Amazon in the near future.
But until that time, and in the interest of letting nothing go to waste, here is some extra materials that I couldn’t find room for in the Law & Owners series.
“Islanders Skeptical About Their Fate” (New York Times, May 6, 1991). In which the Islanders lament a lost season, Pat LaFontaine’s hold-out and trading Doug Crossman.
New York Social Diary (Feb. 9, 2010). A pretty recent look into John Pickett’s gilded home in Florida which is described as, “a charming and warm venue with its pine paneled walls and book shelves replete with sparkling Stanley Cup trophies won by John’s former team, the New York Islanders…” followed by a description of what they ate for dinner at the time of writing. Man, I really wanted to shoehorn this in somewhere.
“Flately Begins His Rangers Metamorphosis” (New York Times, Sept. 11, 1996). In which the former Islanders captain and living link to the dynasty era suits up for the Rangers after the Islanders tried to get him to retire. I hated Flatley for a long time after this.
“Islanders Owner May Buy N.J. Nets” (Associated Press, May 8, 1998). In which Howard Milstein finds yet another team to spend money on that’s not the Islanders.
“Spano Fools NHL, Befuddles Potvin (Sun Sentinel, July 27, 1997). Denis Potvin reacts to the untangling of John Spano’s web of lies, one he believed in wholeheartedly. Also a great use of the word “befuddles.”
“Vanishing Act in Fraud Case” (New York Post, (March 10, 2009). It’s not bad enough that Paul Greenwood was indicted on fraud charges, but then his prized horses “disappeared.” Not sure how that happens. Maybe they were pegasuses (pegasi?)
Finally, with the John Spano ESPN 30-for-30 movie “Big Shot” debuting this Friday (I’ll be there at the Tribeca Film Festival to see the world premier), I figured this would be my only chance for my own Spano movie to finally see the light of day.
No, I didn’t actually make a movie. But about 10 years ago, I did write a screenplay (working title: “Cold Hard Cash”) not-so-loosely based on the Spano case. In my version, wheeler-dealer Kermit Lilly tries to buy the Long Island Pilgrims hockey team, but isn’t all he seems to be. Turns out he’s a con man with an unshakable confidence and a belief that he’s doing the right thing by exciting the fans and energizing the franchise. Too bad the crusty coach, cheap owner and idealistic reporter see things a little differently.
Here is an excerpt of a few of the least awful scenes. Standard “IT’S A FIRST DRAFT!” warnings apply. Consider it an insider’s glimpse into what would surely have been one of the most mediocre sports comedies of all time.
I always pictured Kevin Spacey as Kermit Lilly and Jake Gyllenhaal as reporter Tim Bledsoe.