Smorgasburg Saturday: The Islanders, NHL, Ticket Prices, NBA Tanking, PS4, Video Game Reviews & Calling out The Hunger Games!

The First Place Islanders???

Thank you all once again for checking out another blog here on I really appreciate all the feedback this new endeavor has been receiving. I’m usually not much of a Saturday Night blogger, but since I have flu or just flu like symptoms (Men don’t go to doctors), I’m stuck in the house. Tonight, we’ll hit the NHL, the disgusting NBA, Playstation 4, DVDs and movies. A little buffet of topics, if you will.

I’m 100% sure you’ve read all my work thus far, here on the new If you haven’t don’t fret, you can read the archives, located on the right hand of the site. In one of my columns, I talked about the Rangers/Yankees/Giants vs Islanders/Mets/Jets, as well as the price of hockey tickets. I also talked about in another column why “The Rock” in New Jersey, is my favorite place for an NHL game in the tri-state area.

One arena I’m looking forward to seeing soon is the Barclay Center, where the Islanders will call home starting next season. However, the Islanders are in no rush to get there, as it looks like they are planning on making more memories at the Nassau Coliseum.

If you’re reading this, you know me. I hate the Islanders. Despise them. I can’t deny them where credit is due. The Islanders have just as many points as the first place Pittsburgh Penguins and would be in first place right now, if the Penguins didn’t have a game in hand. No one projected the Islanders being at the top of the division nor conference. What happened? Three personnel moves changed the fortune of this team.

– A healthy John Tavares. 
– The Boychuck/Leddy deals right before the season.
– Signing Halak to replace Nabby.

Are the Islanders the real deal? Many chest-beating blue and orange fans will tell you how they are winning the Stanley Cup right now. It’s only November, and the real NHL season doesn’t start until April, but it looks like the Islanders are for real. Barring any major injuries, the Islanders might close out the Coliseum this year with a Stanley Cup playoff run.

And really, come playoffs, who wouldn’t want to see the Rangers vs the Islanders, one last time, in that dump in Uniondale?

My friend’s seats at the Predators game

I talked about the price of hockey tickets in one of my first columns for In the column, I argued that the NHL could lose the younger generation in NY because ticket prices aren’t affordable. This year alone, I’ve attended 10 Ranger games and I don’t see many kids at these games. When I was growing up as a teenager in the ’90’s, the Coliseum and MSG had a strong teenage turnout. Today, you’re lucky if you see 100 kids, at most at these games.

On Saturday, 11/22, the NHL had a full slate of games. I had friends that attended games in three different states. One of my close friends, Ray, attended the Panthers vs Predators game in Nashville, TN. Another one of my friends, Carlos, attended the Lightning vs Wild game in Tampa, FL. A bunch of my friends were at the dump in Uniondale, NY to see the Islanders dominate the first place Pittsburgh Penguins.

The sad thing about all three of these SATURDAY night games? The price of a seat, in the 100s level, for all three games combined, was cheaper than one ticket to a Rangers game in the 100s level.

My friend Ray, walked up to the box office, while vacationing in Nashville today, and was able to get a 6th row seat for $55. Islander seats were $35. Stubhub had Tampa seats in the 100s going for as low as $25. A ticket to Rangers game, during the week, which excludes the jacked up prices for Saturday/Sundays (The Rangers have no home Friday night games this year.) average around $350 for a ticket in the 100s level, and that’s if you exclude the first few rows.

I fear, that even despite the recent Cup run, the Rangers will turn off the young generation. There is no reason to charge this type of money, but as long as the Jews in suits, that eat sushi and text during the games, will buy them, real fans and potential new fans, will fade away. Damn, that was a lot of commas.
How long before the NBA Officially Licenses Tanking T-Shirts?

I hit on this topic in my last blog, and after watching the horrible Knicks vs Sixers game on Saturday night, I am hoping that new NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets his shit together. Out of all four major professional sports organizations, the NBA is the least competitive. If you add MMA and NCAA sports, the NBA is still the least competitive.

The NBA embraces tanking. I am not joking about my caption for those Sixers fans pictured above. How come the NBA doesn’t sell “TANKING” t-shirts? It’s embraced and has made a mockery of the sport. The Sixers have 9 fucking D-League players on this team. That is not fair to Sixer fans and especially not to the season ticket holders.

Many words have been written by columnists, former players, current players and others associated with the NBA, on the topic of how to fix it.  After reading and listening to a bunch of different ideas, this is how I believe you fix it, in two easy steps:

– The teams that finish in the bottom four of the league lose their lottery pick. The team that finishes fifth from last gets the most ping pong balls. This will then make the five worst teams in the league compete to make sure they are not in the cellar.

– Whatever team finishes last in the league MUST refund their season ticket holders. Simmons from ESPN pushed this idea, and it’s hard to argue with him. Ticket money is easy to refund. The teams still make money with the concessions and merchandise anyway. This would be a good faith move from a league that makes billions.

Of course, it’s up to Adam Silver to embrace tackling the tanking issue. Many times in sports, commissioners, coaches and management tend to wait to the last second before acting on major issues. It’s time to take a progressive approach here. The NBA is not fun to watch at all. The Knicks and the Sixers, two teams in two major markets, are a combined 4- 23.  Even from a business end, does Silver want to lose money and interest in two major markets before Thanksgiving? Wake up NBA.
Another love of my life!

Since I’m all over the place in this blog, let’s talk PS4. What a glorious machine. I’m not what you would call a “gamer” but I love playing sports games and GTA. For all you parents out there, who are looking for Xmas gift ideas and for 30 year old somethings like myself, who are on the edge of the fence, here are some quick shots  on some of the more recent games I’ve purchased:

– GTA 5- 100% buy it. If you played one, you know what to expect. It’s better than the PS3 version, and it was such a fun game, it’s worth playing again.

– WWE 2K15- Only buy it if you’re a WWE fan. Controls are clunky. AI is disgustingly hard. Trophies are ridiculous, if you’re a trophy guy. The stamina system is beyond retarded. A huge step back from last year’s game. The roster is also very weak compared to years past.

– MADDEN  2015- Always a must buy for me. My favorite game to play although it has taken a back burner to the more recent releases. Just a game anyone can pick up and play, and for people who like advanced games, the online game play is always fun.

– NBA 2K15- Another excellent release by 2K sports. There is so much to do. I do find their version of Ultimate Team faulty and clunky to maneuver. Gameplay is much better than recent years. They need an easier shooting mode for rookie players.

– NHL ’15- The mecca in my apartment. This game gets the most usage. So much to do and so little time! One of my good friends and I are hooked on the HUT, although we are only in division 5 out of 10. One day we will master the advanced controls, but it’s still exciting to beat people online with a minute left to go.

-FIFA ’15- I guess it’s great if you’re a soccer fan. The graphics and commentary are insane. Since I’m not a soccer guy, I lost interest fast and had no interest in FUT. I guess if you love soccer, then this is your Madden.

– Call of Duty Advanced Warfare- Loved the story mode, even if it was short.  The online is fun when you’re running around with your friends. However, usually I’m getting waxed by some 12 year old Asian kid. It’s tough to play online unless you got ADD and can run around aimlessly for fun.
Worth watching? OOOOOHH YEEEEAAAAH (That was corny)

While on reviews, let me give a few words on some recent DVD releases:

– Randy Macho Man Savage WWE Documentary- An excellent documentary, but I felt it came up short in some areas. The documentary didn’t mention anything about the Flair, Jake “The Snake” Roberts or even his silly Crush feud. Nothing was mentioned about his work in Spider-Man or about his Rap CD.  I heard the original cut spent more time addressing the Stephanie McMahon rumors, but they lightly touched it in the final release. I was also expecting Vince McMahon to be one of the talking heads on this DVD.

Complaints aside, it’s a must for any wrestling fan. Savage was always the 1A player where ever he went, and to many people, was their #1. He was a true legend with a great story. It’s nice that the WWE is finally acknowledging him now, but the entire time, you just keep asking yourself, “What if?” Worth the money, despite the short run time. I don’t even bother with the matches they give you, since everything is already for free on the WWE network or on Youtube.

– Guardians of the Galaxy- Finally just saw this movie and it was my favorite in the Marvel Universe. I liked it because it doesn’t take itself so seriously. During that Avengers movie, and don’t get me wrong, Avengers was fun, but it took itself as serious as the Allied Forces battling the Nazi’s during World War II. Great cast as well, and worth a watch.

– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Fuck you Michael Bay.  That is all. After watching this crap, I immediately rewatched the ’90’s movie to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

While this is not on DVD yet, go out of your way to see “St Vincent” with Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. I think Murray gets an Oscar nomination for this. One of the best movies I’ve seen all year.

While I’m talking entertainment here, go check out “Lilyhammer” on Netflix. It’s a mob show, but campy, with constant shout-outs and tributes to “Godfather”, “Scarface”, “The Sopranos”, etc. It starts Steve Van Zandt (Silvio from Sopranos/Steve from  Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band) as a mob turncoat that relocates to Norway. While some of the themes are the same as other shows, the Norway setting and actors give it a different element. As I said at the top of this article, I’ve been sick these last few days. The one bright side was binge watching “Lilyhammer” season 3 in one sitting.
A two hour preview/trailer for Mockingjay Part II

Finally, this brings me to “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”. This movie will make billions and probably has made $200,000 in the time it took you to read this sentence.  I saw it Thursday night and boy, did I walk out of that movie disappointed.

Thus far, I’ve read mixed reviews. People, who were fans of the books, loved it. Others hated it because it got away from the “Hunger Games” part of the story and weren’t into the whole political/revolution stage of the story. The reason I didn’t like it was because it wasn’t a movie to me, it was just a 2 hour preview for the next movie.


Out of the 2 hour 3 minute run time, I would say 95% of the movie is Katniss crying or walking around ruins. The story moves so slow, and while I get they are setting up the next movie, this came off as a total cash grab and a way to extend the franchise’s existence. There are minimal action scenes and the ones you do see are expected and basic, nothing like you saw in the first two movies.

The endless dialogue made me feel like I was watching a “Gilmore Girls” marathon. You just sat there waiting for something to happen, but it would just be more talking, more reflecting and more boredom. Even the plot has several holes. Seemingly, Narcisse, from “Boardwalk Empire”, controls the entire world from his computer. I can’t tell if J-Law is a slut, and not based on those pictures that leaked, but because she cares so much about Peeta and that other guy who’s always creeping around her. It’s like she wants to be a Mormon woman with the male benefits.

If you can see this movie for free, I guess go see it. It’s not worth your money. It’s just a 2 hour commercial. Download it. Wait for it to come out on cable. I’m sure Mockingjay 2 will be phenomenal and be all sorts of kickass. However, you don’t want to pay the same price for Mockingjay 1 as you did any other movie in this franchise. The studio is just taking your money.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with postgame Ranger and NFL thoughts sometime on Monday. Until then, LGR!!!

Comments, feedback, death threats can go to:
Sean McCaffrey
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter

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