12:20 pm, NVMC – Unlike some other coaches, Mike Babcock does not mind talking about his opponents. The Stanley Cup-winning coach had some kind words today about the Islanders.
“I really like what they’re doing here,” said the Canadian Olympic coach. “The Islanders have a youthful group. The whole team looks like first round picks. They come at you hard, skate and don’t stop. They’ve looked real good lately.
“They’ve got some very talented kids in Tavares, Bailey and Okposo. As the three of them grow, they could be a really dynamic force.”
11:45 am, NVMC – Sean Bergenheim is definitely in tonight. Jeff Tambellini is out. The other scratch? Nate Thompson, maybe. Doug Weight and Richard Park were given a free pass to skip the morning skate.
Rick DiPietro mentioned to Point Blank that Sudarshan “Sudsie” Maharaj is coming to Long Island tomorrow for some one-on-one work leading up to his next start. Scott Gordon said it will be beneficial for DiPietro to get in three practices this week.
In a rare occurrence, the Islanders are practicing the rest of the week at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Answering a question from the Detroit media, Gordon called Frans Nielsen “one of the best-kept secrets in the NHL.”
The coach had respect, but little sympathy for the Red Wings’ length injury list. “Anytime you can roll out Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lidstrom…”
10:50 am, NVMC - Although Scott Gordon termed Brendan Witt a healthy scratch on Saturday in Phoenix and said the veteran defenseman’s “calf tightness” was minor, Witt goes on IR today and Sean Bergenheim comes off.
Dwayne Roloson, who certainly knows the Red Wings well from his many years in the Western Conference, starts tonight. If you want to see Rick DiPietro’s first home start since last Christmas break, consider grabbing some tickets for Saturday against Buffalo. Just don’t ask me for a refund if I’m wrong.