4:30 pm: Scott Gordon claimed today – we mostly believe him – that a decision has yet to be made on the status of Nino Niederreiter. After the 18-year-old plays in Montreal on Wednesday, the Islanders can return Niederreiter to Portland (WHL) before he plays his tenth NHL game and not lose a year on his Entry Level Contract. Or they can keep him in the NHL for the rest of the season, as they did with Josh Bailey and John Tavares. “Garth (Snow) and I have talked about it a little bit,” Gordon said Monday after practice. The coach said he expects to discuss it more with the general manager on the flight home from Montreal.
There is still little point in discussing what happens to the Islanders’ lineup when Rob Schremp returns. The center is just starting to recover from a back injury. He skated before practice Monday and skated on his own Sunday. When a player has missed as much time as Schremp, Gordon traditionally likes him to take part in a few full-scale practices before even thinking about writing his name in the lineup. Figure on Schremp being at least a week away, probably more.
Despite the recall of Matt Martin, Michael Grabner‘s groin injury does not appear to be serious. (Just about every new visitor to Camp Gordon goes through this, no?) On his Twitter page, Grabner wrote: “Couple days of rest…got a little banged up in the last game but nothing serious…next game will be fun…back to Canada”!
Since Martin was recalled on emergency, and the Islanders are at the 23-man roster maximum (updated: duh – AMac is out, so they’re currently at 22), perhaps Martin’s stay will be short. Another option is to demote – after waivers – a player like Trevor Gillies (averaging one minute per game) or Bruno Gervais (healthy scratch all season).
Scott Gordon on the return of Jack Hillen in Florida on Saturday: “He was steady.” The defenseman is getting away from some of the ill-advised tendencies he showed in camp.
To his credit, Gordon has been realistic about the Islanders’ recent mini-run of victories and point-grabs. Speaking of his team’s performance before the loss in Sunrise, Gordon said today, “We didn’t play the last four games with the oomph we played the previous three. There was a feel-good feeling in the locker room (as a result of the victories). Now we need some practices to get out of some bad habits. There are some drills you can’t do in the pre-game skate” Bingo. He added that the Islanders were better in the second and third periods against the Panthers than they were in the previous four games. “The difference was, we won the special teams battle,” said Gordon. His team has a lot of work to do to become a better team five-on-five.
Gordon was asked today by the resident part-time philosopher on the Islanders’ beat about the meaning of confidence as it relates to success. Replied Gordon:
“Confidence is a ten-letter word. It’s over-played. Usually the guys that are lacking confidence are taking shortcuts.”
Matt Martin on Bridgeport linemate and impressive Islanders prospect David Ullstrom: “Unbelievable vision. Great to play with.”
Dear Readers: Respectfully, on the days when I don’t write about the Islanders’ goaltending but you cannot get past the goaltending discussion, please bring it to an Islanders message board. No one wants to go round and round that circle 24/7 every day for the rest of the season. Well, a few do. You get my point. I appreciate your courtesy and understanding. Comments on this post are encouraged.