BROOKS SAYS NYI WILL BID FOR KOVALCHUKNewsday shoots down; latest on goalie rotation

FanHouse Podcast: Botta and Ciskie (includes some NYI talk)

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5:45 pm – Today the Islanders did not fulfill another in a long line of requests from Point Blank to speak with Garth Snow, although he was sitting in Scott Gordon’s office when this reporter, Billy Jaffe and Arthur Staple spoke with the coach today.

 

Snow told Larry Brooks for his story (see below) that he had no comment, but later this afternoon told Staple of Newsday that he is not going to deviate from his plan. Arthur also quotes a source saying the chances of a Kovalchuk deal are “slim to none.” This led Arthur to write that the “word on the Internets” is “not necessarily the truth.” C’mon – take a stand, buddy.

 

You mean, the Thrashers won’t take Calvin de Haan, Kirill Petrov and a conditional first round pick for Ilya Kovalchuk (26 goals in 39 games)? No way! You’re kidding!

 

You mean, the Islanders wouldn’t consider trading two players not named Okposo and Tavares plus a conditional first round pick and sign Kovalchuk for eight years?

 

Aw, that’s too bad. Add a top defenseman in the UFA market and the rebuild would be over.

 

Maybe Snow decided he needed to speak so his happy-go-lucky team doesn’t get rattled by the tradewinds. If that’s the case, a very wise move by the GM.

 

I still have plenty of issues I want to run by Mr. Snow. Maybe someday.

 

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2:30 pm - The New York Post‘s Larry Brooks, who enjoys a solid working relationship with Garth Snow – remember the on-the-record “We’ll spend money at the deadline” story? – just dropped an Islanders bombshell. According to Brooks, the Islanders intend to make a trade proposal to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk.

 

Larry’s story includes the name of some C-level (Jyri Niemi) and B-level (Jesse Joensuu) prospects, and it’s hard to envision Calvin de Haan being the primary piece in a deal for a superstar. It’s funny thinking about Atlanta GM Don Waddell trying to convince his bosses they should say goodbye to Kovalchuk and bring in mysterious Russian forward Kirill Petrov, who has two years left on a KHL contract.

 

Nevertheless, Larry’s work should be taken seriously. Historically, Brooks does not step out for a major article on one of the local teams he does not cover daily unless he is confident he has strong information.

 

The writer says Snow declined to comment, but…you know…

 

Even if Waddell shops Kovalchuk as a rental, not allowing teams to discuss a long-term deal with his agent, it’s a fire-able offense if the Atlanta GM does not bring back Kyle Okposo in a trade.

 

Of course, the Islanders will not trade Okposo and that’s when the trade talks likely cease. The Islanders have Okposo and John Tavares, who are not going anywhere, before a moderate drop-off to Josh Bailey. There is no one in Bridgeport of significant value. The Islanders’ first round pick in 2010 is not guaranteed to be in the top five, so that’s little help to Waddell.

 

Snow made a nice play for Ryan Smyth by giving Edmonton two bleh prospects (Robert Nilsson and Ryan O’Marra) along with the No. 20 pick. If he can pull off Kovalchuk for some combination of two of his teenage prospects and a draft pick, never mind Michael Farber’s post-Smyth recognition of Snow as GM of the Year. You’d have to put Snow right into the Hall of Fame.

 

Final thought: Gordon’s gritty-gutties are on a roll and have been a heartwarming story lately. It will be worth monitoring how the team reacts in the wake of this leaked major news item.

 

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The NHL standings are placed in the Islanders’ locker room for the same reason the team’s TV ratings have doubled: Christmas is over, and the Islanders are in the playoff hunt.

 

This, of course, wasn’t the case this year, so Scott Gordon and his coaching staff use the smartboard in the locker room to remind the team what they’re playing for.

 

“You have to be thinking about it,” Gordon said of the standings after today’s practice at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

 

Gordon gives the occassional pop quiz to make sure his players understand crunch time has arrived. He’ll test his charges from time to time on how far they’re out of a playoff seed, or how many points they are ahead of behind an opponent in the Eastern standings. Speaking about recent games against Ottawa and Atlanta, Gordon said, “You can treat these games as regular games, but they are not.”

 

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I asked Scott Gordon if Dwayne Roloson’s sustained excellence – and the team’s superb play in front of him on Tuesday – affected his goalie rotation. The coach said no, because the abundance of upcoming games means, “We’re going to need two goalies.”

 

I followed up by asking if Rick DiPietro would play in one of the upcoming back-to-backs (Monday vs. NJ, Tuesday in Pittsburgh). Said Gordon, “Definitely one of the back-to-backs.”

 

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Same line combinations and D pairings at practice today from the win over Detroit. Brendan Witt did not practice. Nate Thompson and Jeff Tambellini were the extra forwards.

 

Comments. Andy Sutton discussion continues below.