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Tuesday November 24 2015
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Get Your Ink On

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This being PSR’s annual NHL Preview, we’ll dedicate this space to hockey – sort of. Not to say the hockey and the New York Islanders are one and the same. Forget about the beat-down with the Penguins last season that was close to being celebrated by the Islanders this offseason. We’re way, way past that.

We’re on to tattoos.

Here’s the deal with me and tattoos, recognizing there are a lot of fine people who wear them: I thought of it, but then I grew beyond that phase.

Not to be judgmental or anything.

Speaking of judgment, the Islanders—who have had theirs questioned on and off the ice for years (read above for recent examples)—have basically decided they just don’t care about traditionalists like you and me. Which, naturally, takes us back to tattoos.

If you’re having trouble following along, maybe this will help – be prepared to read about the end of the world.

Indeed, the End Times are now firmly stationed on the Island, where the NHL inhabitants have announced an agreement to designate a company by the name of “Tattoo Lou’s” as something called its official tattoo shop.

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Nor could I make up the part where the organization says it is “thrilled: to bring another Long Island institution to home games, where you will find as part of this—oh, man—“strategic partnership,” a tattooing and body-piercing station for ten home games this season.

You know, just like the circus.

I told you to be ready to read about the end of the world.

The president of the tat company sees this as a victory of sorts for the increasingly mainstream industry. Hey, who could blame him if he and his fellow artists can make some money because the Islanders allow them in the front door? Good for him – bad for the Islanders.

Seriously, if you’re a fan of this team, how do you keep a straight face? How don’t you question whether anything will ever get right on the ice when you have the guys in the front office thinking it’s a good idea to work out strategic relationships with tattoo partners? Or those front office guys working on that instead of fixing what ails the team?

Yeah, a ‘victory’ is one way to look at it. Another is an organizational cry for help.

I understand developing new and younger demographics, but piercing eyes, noses, tongues and whatever else – at NHL games?

Oh, more good news if you’re a Penguins fan. Pittsburgh appears on this promotion twice. So maybe if you get up there you can be seen by one of the two tattoo artists or one professional body piercer between periods. And, get this: the tat company describes the artists as “super versatile.”

I bet. Just get there before the world ends.

Neil Walker’s contract expires after the 2016 season. The Pirates second baseman is due for a big raise in arbitration this offseason—likely to $10 million—and signing him to a long-term extension will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million annually.
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