1:05 pm – Blake Comeau played his first 19 games of this season in the minors and the next 17 in the NHL with the Islanders. Throughout the entire ordeal, Comeau says it was never unfair, never improperly handled, and never personal between the 22-year old forward and his head coach Scott Gordon.
“No, people should know that we have a good relationship – we did when I was in Bridgeport, and we do now,” said Comeau, who has 3 goals and 4 assists in those 17 games and was given 17 minutes of icetime in last night’s loss to the Rangers.
“Was it frustrating at times? Absolutely,” he said. “But I never thought it was about anything other than trying to help me become a better hockey player, and a better fit for what Scott’s trying to instill here.”
So what exactly was the problem? What was it that Gordon wanted you to change about your game?
“It wasn’t just one thing. People know part of my game is a tendency to hold on to the puck and look to make the play. Scott wants us to keep going to the net. It’s not like Scott was looking to change everything. Most of all, I know he wants me to play to my strengths.”
You went to Bridgeport, and over time your game got better and better. There was a period of time when other players were being recalled. Did you ever feel the process was unfair?
“The bottom line is that Scott kept his word. We agreed there were some areas I needed to work on, and when the time came when I was consistently one of the best players in my AHL games, I would get the call. The more and more I became confident in playing within the system, the better I did for the Sound Tigers.
“There were some frustrating times, but I never felt like the whole situation was unfair to me. Nothing was being handed to me and that’s the way it should be. I’m proud of the fact that we had a lot of team success when I was in Bridgeport. Jack (Capuano) was great with me. He told me his job was to get me back to the NHL. Stuff like that means a lot.”
What’s your working relationship with Scott been like since being called up?
“It’s good. We meet pretty regularly. We go over video together. It’s a chance to see the things that I still need a lot of work on. The communication has been real good.”
Now that you’ve been with the Islanders for a while – even with that one healthy scratch – do you feel you’re here to stay?
“(Laughs) I can’t have that attitude. Believe me: I’m not taking anything for granted.”
He shouldn’t. Unlike Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and the rest of the kids, Comeau is still living in the team-assigned hotel.
COMEAU OFF THE ICE
Last Movie in the Theatres: Traitor with Don Cheadle. “I give it 3 and a half stars.”
On the iPod: Collective Soul, Live, Tom Petty
Girlfriend? “Yes, from Kelowna.”
Hockey Idol: Steve Yzerman
Restaurant: TOKU in Manhasset, Buddakan in Manhattan
Parents: “Dad was a project accountant and Mom was a secretary at Millar Western, a pulp mill in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.” (That’s it, below).
ETC: No word from the Islanders on the health of Joey MacDonald or Rick DiPietro, or the identity of the team’s other goalie when the Islanders host Boston on Thursday night. Scott Gordon said he hadn’t spoken with Garth Snow yet, but he probably is as this is typed at 1:00 pm.
Said Gordon: “Come tomorrow night, there’s going to be two goalies.” Looks like Yann Danis will be the starter, while Wade Dubielewicz, either of the two Bridgeport goalies (Nathan Lawson or Peter Mannino) or a mystery free agent will be the backup.
Trent Hunter and Sean Bergenheim were given the day off the ice.