Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
A month from now, Biron could be part of a three-man goalie rotation on Long Island. Biron has been splitting the duties with Dwayne Roloson, who is in the first year of a two-year, $5 million contract.
Rick DiPietro, who signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract three years ago, is practicing again after missing a year with a knee injury. Isles coach Scott Gordon said DiPietro has been on the ice every other day. Once DiPietro feels ready, he’ll begin working out with the team in earnest.
Isles coach Scott Gordon wouldn’t give a time table, but there’s a good chance DiPietro will return in early December. Something will have to give. Isles General Manager Garth Snow knew that when he signed Biron in late July, giving him three capable NHL goalies. The Isles will need to trade a goalie, and Biron is the obvious candidate.
It’s equally clear that the Sabres need a more reliable backup goaltender. Ryan Miller started for the 11th time in 12 games Wednesday night. Coach Lindy Ruff claims to have confidence in Patrick Lalime, but his actions suggest otherwise.
from Dan Martin of the NY Post,
Injuries limited Andy Sutton to just 23 games last season, and even though this year is only 14 games old, the defenseman already sees a difference in this group of Islanders.
“Something happened partway through this season,” Sutton said after practice yesterday in Syosset. “We figured out our identity, and it’s showing in the way we’re playing.”
And the Isles are getting results, bringing a four-game winning streak into Buffalo tonight.
“We’re making simple, hard, effective plays and being tenacious,” Sutton said. “We’ve been pretty disciplined. I think is a young team that’s getting smarter.”
It’s also a team that might start getting recognition soon.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The learning curve lies ahead for Tavares, but he should have no problem with it. He has Crosby’s demeanour: respectful, ready to learn, yet in a hurry to take in the knowledge.
(Doug) Weight, who recently had H1N1 and jokes that his primary responsibility in taking the team’s franchise player under his wing is “Don’t give him The Swine,” would bet you an NHL paycheque that Tavares will turn into a superstar.
“He just wants to be an islander and be a great player. He’s on his way,” the tutor said. “His shot, his savvy. He’s got it, he gets it, and he wants it.
“He wants to be great. I think he’s going to be a winner.”
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
As his NHL career nears the end of its first month, Tavares gives the appearance of a player who’s enjoying the learning experience that goes along with the introduction to life in the NHL.
“It’s been great. I’ve been learning a lot, experiencing a lot of new things,” he said after the win against the Rangers. “I’m starting to learn the way of life in the NHL and what it takes to be a pro every day. Everyone from the staff and management, the coaching staff, the trainers and my teammates have been great. They’ve helped me out a lot with stuff away from the ice and allowed me to focus on hockey. That’s made it a lot easier. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Especially when you score a goal to help your team beat its biggest rival, right?
“Being in games like this one is what I worked for as a kid,” he said. “To finally be here and be a part of this is special for me, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Even with first-overall draft choice John Tavares, the Islanders managed just one victory in their first 10 games. Ironically, it was Tavares that secured the win with his shootout goal.
The funny thing about the Islanders is, with a little luck, they could be riding the same wave that has carried the upstart Colorado Avalanche to the very top of the standings.
Think about it. With five successful shots, the Islanders could be 6-4-0 and right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference. And if my aunt had ...
Well, you get the picture.
The point is, the Islanders have not been the dog’s breakfast this season they have been in the past. Regardless of their ongoing fight to have a new home built and the fact there are no guarantees the franchise will remain on Long Island, you could make a strong case that a corner has been turned.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Biron investigated a similar option in Buffalo. Backup Patrick Lalime was coming off a down year and two offseason surgeries. Starter Ryan Miller is scheduled to play for Team USA in the Olympics. Biron saw a team that likely would give him ample starts in the crease.
“We were fairly serious,” Biron said of talks with the Sabres. “Negotiations are what they are. To be honest with you, this wasn’t about money, not anything other trying to get a fit into where I would be able to play and compete, put myself in the position where on January 1 I can look for a long-term deal with the organization that I’m with, or come July 1 next year I’m at the top level where I was last year.
“This was a very unique year just because of the Olympic year, because there’s a lot of games. I knew that a situation like Buffalo would have been a situation where I would have gotten to play some games, maybe more than usual. But at the same time, this situation [in New York] was giving me the best chance to play on a regular basis.
“I was very excited about possibly having a chance to come back, but in the end, you make sacrifices to be at the top level you can.”
New York Islanders owner Charles Wang denounced a report Thursday saying he was ending efforts to build the Lighthouse Project.
“There’s no truth to the story,” Wang said in an interview Thursday morning. “It’s bogus. There are no plans to abandon the project.”
continued and that is why I did not post the story last night claiming the project was dead…
from Katie Strang of Isles Files,
There is no timetable for Rick DiPietro to come back for an NHL game, but he is watching the clock. And he was pleased that his workout with six skaters at Islanders practice today represented the longest he has been on the ice in a live workout during his rehab.
He was encouraged, and demanding of himself. It was a step forward for him, seeing “live” shots from skaters who were really trying to score. At one point, they did breakaways. At another all six were on various spots on the ice, taking turns firing shots at him. He did quite well in turning them away.
from Chris Botta of NYI Point Blank,
Thanks to a very kind offer of support from my employers at FanHouse, Point Blank will be in business for another year. My deepest gratitude goes to my editors at FanHouse, and especially the PB reader/AOL executive who introduced my work to the sports department.
Thanks also go to Chris Dey of the Islanders for creating this venture, Islanders players and coaches for their accessibility and cooperation and, of course, to the readers who keep on coming back to Point Blank.
If Rick Dipietro gets anywhere close to healthy, look for Islanders GM Garth Snow to offer either Dwayne Roloson or Martin Biron to the Red Wings.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet. Read more NHL notes from Mark…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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