TAMPA BAY 4, ISLANDERS 0Discuss the game (and Kirill Petrov) right here

POINT BLANK NIGHT – Details

Chris Botta on Twitter

6:30 pm – My reaction to the Kirill Petrov/Anton Klementyev situation is in Comments.

 

5:15 pm, Bridgeport – I will start a live blog during Rick DiPietro’s comeback game in Bridgeport tonight in a new thread up top. Please talk about the Islanders’ game in Tampa Bay in this one. About an hour after the Sound Tigers’ game, I’ll have another story on DiPietro at FanHouse. Thanks for reading, and thanks for keeping me posted on tonight’s Islanders game.

 

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12:30 am – I’ll be in Bridgeport tonight, live blogging the return to game action of Rick DiPietro and writing all about it for the new-look NHL FanHouse. A thread will also be open for readers to discuss (and update me on) Islanders at Tampa Bay.

 

Look for DiPietro to play the first period and if he is holding up well at intermission, to play to the middle of the second period. DiPietro still needs to take small steps. Scott Munroe started in the Sound Tigers’ 5-1 loss in Lowell on Friday, so Nathan Lawson will probably back up DiPietro tonight.

 

I was reading back yesterday on what I’ve written about DiPietro’s rehabilitation the last four months. Interesting to take a step back and see how, after I wrote on Aug. 24 that Rick’s progress was not exactly zipping along, the Islanders were quick to re-group the same day and announce that DiPietro was on schedule and “gradually easing his way in before the start of training camp on Sept. 12.”

 

It is Dec. 5 and DiPietro is just beginning a 20-30 minute dip in the water of a minor league conditioning assignment.

 

In October, my projection of a Thanksgiving return to game action for DiPietro was mocked by a veteran reporter at a major newspaper who watched Rick dink around on Oct. 19 at his first practice for 15 minutes. He said DiPietro was obviously closer to a return than “some people” thought. That was six weeks ago.

 

Darn, I was off by a week.

 

It’s only hockey. This stuff is fun.

 

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Islanders catch a little bit of a scheduling break these next two games. They rested in rainy Tampa Bay on Friday while the Lightning had to travel to New Jersey and play the infuriating Devils. If all went well with their flight plans, Martin St. Louis and the boys got to their homes around 4:00 am. Advantage: Islanders.

 

Same thing when the Islanders play in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Peter Laviolette’s Flyers play Monday in Montreal. Even with all the perks of an NHL team, it’s never smooth getting through customs at midnight in Montreal. Been there, banged my head against that.

 

The Bolts’ New Jersey-to-home back-to-backs remind me of the time about a decade ago when Gary Bettman hitched a ride home on the Islanders’ charter after a Friday night game in Tampa Bay. Making conversation, the NHL commisioner asked when the Islanders’ next game was. He was told, “In about 19 hours.” Bettman said, “Seriously? You guys are gonna be tired.”

 

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Of course, the Islanders play on Wednesday in Toronto against a rested Leafs squad. I know that because – PLUG ALERT – Wednesday is the night Point Blank and SOCIAL (across from the Coliseum) are providing a free buffet, free shots, $1 beers and a raffle at 7:00 pm. Between RSVPs here, on Facebook and via email, looks like we should more people than they had in Atlanta on Thursday. If you can, you really ought to be there. I hope you can make it.

 

On Sunday, I should have our Point Blank Night guests confirmed. The first two people I asked said yes and are just locking in their schedules. Last year we were joined at our events by Jack Capuano, Justin Bourne, Michael Picker and The Jaff, so I know where your expectations are.

 

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Grass Isn’t Always Greener Dept: Chris Campoli, healthy scratch. Not sure what Chris expected simply with a change of address. Sure as heck don’t know what Bryan Murray thought he was getting for a late first-round pick. No matter what anyone thought or what becomes of that pick – the Islanders paid with extra picks to move to 12 and take Calvin de Haan – Chris Campoli for a first round pick gives Garth Snow major cred at the GM poker table.

 

 

Comments on this post and tonight’s games. No road live chats for a while: in Bridgeport tonight, on assignment Tuesday and hosting PB Night on Wednesday.