ISLANDERS at CAROLINA, 7:00 pm – NYI Sign GilliesGordon wants team to "put somebody on their ass"

Backchecking with … Ryan O’Byrne

UPDATED at 6:00 pm - The Islanders have signed enforcer Trevor Gillies, who has been fighting and playing this season in Bridgeport. He has one goal and 123 penalty minutes in 18 games with the Sound Tigers.

 

Gillies will join the Islanders on Friday and could play in the bring-the-kids matinee against the Broad Street Brawlers on Saturday. Seems the Islanders have decided a four-minute enforcer may be useful after all.

 

Scott Gordon does not need his team to become the Broad Street Bullies. He’s not asking all of his players to morph into Steve Webbs. But the coach does want to see his team hit a lot more than they did in the last week, when the Islanders lost three of four games.

 

“For us to be successful, our whole team needs to be playing physically,” Gordon told Point Blank. “Sometimes when a team gets on a roll in the offensive zone, it forgets about doing all the dirty work. The reason we’ve had success scoring goals is because we initiated the contact, because we were the team drawing the penalties leading to 5-on-4 situations. There’s no question there has been some slippage in that area.”

 

Asked about aggressive young veterans like Blake Comeau and Sean Bergenheim, Gordon was emphatic that the Islanders’ drop-off in physical play was not about them or any other specific players. The coach will demand it from everyone, starting tonight in Carolina.

 

“We’re not as good as we may think we are sometimes,” said Gordon. “We need everyone contributing in every aspect of the game. When it comes to hitting, everyone on our team has to get involved. Everyone on our roster is capable. There’s no reason why all our guys can’t step up, play the body and put somebody on their ass.”

 

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Five days ago, if the Islanders could have won that third period against New Jersey, they would have earned the two points needed to be in sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

 

Again faced with the opportunity to claim sixth place on Tuesday with a win at home over Washington, the Islanders were creamed by John Erskine and the Capitals.

 

Now it’s Thursday, and guess what? Maybe tonight’s the night the Islanders make their move in the bad, bad East. Carolina is playing much better of late, but they played last night in New York while the Islanders rested in Raleigh.

 

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11:15 am - Rick DiPietro is tonight’s starter. In a stunner, looks like Jeff Tambellini will be the healthy scratch.

 

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