Ne Cede Malis

Syosset’s a bit of a commute for a 10 a.m. practice, even if it is for a Cole Jarrett story. But I rolled out of bed. Had to go boldly against misfortune.

Most of practice, for me, was spent figuring out who was who. One whole line and about half of the other players were easy; the remainder, not so much. Coaches, also easy, knowing Dave Baseggio on sight of course, knowing the helping-out Sergei Nemchinov on sight of course, and having a pretty good guess which was Pat Bingham and which was Lane Lambert.

But they started to sort themselves out by the end of the day, and Baseggio clued me in on my last few gaps. He warned not to read anything into these line combinations. But what’s the fun of not reading into things?

Rob Collins-Jeremy Colliton-Kevin Colley*
Steve Regier-David Masse-Cole Jarrett
Luciano Aquino-Matt Koalska- Masi Marjamaki
Joe Tallari-Chris Thompson-Mark Lee

*-And imagine being the opposing radio broadcaster with that line out there. Reminds me of… I’m not sure if they ever were all on the roster at the same time about 15 years ago, but the Rangers came close to being able to ice a unit of Brian Mullen, Corey Millen, Kevin Miller, Randy Moller and Troy Mallette, if you stuck a forward at the point…)

The five defensemen were Jody Robinson, Vince Macri, Paul Flache, Mike Jarmuth, and 18-year-old Dustin Kohn. Chris Madden and Frederic Cloutier were the goalies.

Now, of course, on Tuesday, when they’re in different combinations, I’ll be lost again.

They tore up the place: During a drill, the puck flipped up toward the ceiling. The round lamps, hanging down from the ceiling, are protected by metal cages; one such cage popped right off the lamp and crashed to the ice.

(Random hockey note, before we move off-ice: Did you catch Mark Pukalo’s note in another state publication (wink), about former Beast of New Haven tough guy Peter Worrell showing up in Hartford camp? A little more muscle for a Rangers team that needs something.)

Caught through a doorway: Baseggio playing table hockey against Rick DiPietro in the Isles’ newly renovated room at IceWorks, a pretty fancy getup. A darn sight nicer than it was two years ago.

Most unintentionally funny thing: Being told by the Zamboni driver that if I wanted autographs, I had to wait away from the dressing-room door. (Come to think of it, he probably just didn’t want me accidentally glimpsing the DiPietro-Baseggio grudge match, and then writing about it. Oops.)

(OK, now I’m going really off-ice, so those who don’t care, I’ll catch you later.)

But anyway, then I got to come home.

Nothing personal, Long Islanders, but my favorite view in the world might be the view when you’re leaving Long Island, at the top of the Throgs Neck Bridge on a clear day. That’s my whole world spread out before you.

Manhattan off to the left. Connecticut, Westchester and the Sound off to the right. And my homeland dead ahead.

Two flags I want, eventually: The flag of New York City (you might catch it on my computer desktop sometime), and the flag of the Bronx. There’s a sign at the end of the bridge welcoming you to the borough, with the Bronx’s seal, bearing the motto: “Ne Cede Malis.” It’s from the Aeneid. Book 6 (ahem, VI), as it turns out. The whole line goes, “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito, qua tua te Fortuna sinet.” Roughly (read: cobbled together from translations found on the Web and musty memories of eighth-grade Latin), something like, “You, do not yield to misfortune, but go boldly against it, the way your fortune allows you.” I’m reminded I really need to memorize that line.

It was just early enough when I crossed the bridge that I went on a little tour. Stopped at Louis’ Seafood in Throggs Neck to pick up lunch. Drove past St. Raymond’s Cemetery, where most of my departed family members spend their time. (History buffs thinking “Lindbergh Baby”: Yep.) Drove up to my old neighborhood, past the memorial at St. Dominic’s Square, honoring the Van Nest boys who died for their country. The fourth name from the bottom on the Vietnam side is Robert J. Taranto. He’s my dad’s cousin. Drove around a little more, past my old house, past some of the old stores. The neighborhood goes back to the days when the railroads cut through, and it has evolved over the years. So much has changed in 24 years — a lot less Italian on the deli signs, for instance — but so much is still the same. It’s still so comfortable, but now so foreign. (There’s a Neil Diamond line for it, but I’ll leave it to you.)

While driving around today, noticed something I’d never caught before, and it’s rather appropriate nowadays: If you ever get caught on Throggs Neck in a hurricane, East Tremont Avenue is a marked Coastal Evacuation Route. Head to Lehman College.

By the way, picked up Paul McCartney’s new record, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” on the cheap after it fell off a truck on Fordham Road at Costco this week. It’s pleasant enough on first spin, which was driving home on I-95.

Michael Fornabaio