Matt Gilroy and Chris Higgins share something in common with me - they're Long Island natives. They are also separated by one distinct measuring point that creates enemies - they are members of the New York Rangers.
Higgins, who hails from Smithtown and was recently acquired by the Rangers from Montreal, grew up a die-hard Habs fan, so playing for the Blue Shirts isn't as sweet as it sounds. However, when I spoke to Higgins last month he was more than thrilled to be playing for one of the Original Six teams.
Gilroy, who is from North Bellmore, finished a stellar career at Boston University, leading the Terriers to a national title and grabbing the Hobey Baker Award as the nation's top college hockey player. He signed with the Rangers shortly after his unthinkable senior season.
Both Higgins and Gilroy have very likable personalities. It's a shame they aren't playing for the other New York hockey team - the one on their native island. But, they are both happy with their place in the hockey world. They both have also been working out and skating at The Rinx in Hauppauge over the summer.
So, Islanders fans, when you are watching the Islanders-Rangers games this year and see Higgins and Gilroy on the ice, be proud. Don't hate on them - just the rest of the team.