Interactive Q & A and chat with Chris Botta begins tonight at 6:45 in the Comments space.
Noon: The Islanders have won four of their ten games this season – two of them in regulation, two on the strength of full 4-on-3 power plays in overtime. When I pointed out on Twitter that the hysteria was a bit over-ripe when the team was 3-1-2 – posting screen shots of the Eastern Conference standings…REALLY?! – I wasn’t being negative. Just trying to keep both feet on the ground. Others inside and outside the organization might be wise to do the same when the next winning streak comes around.
In an interview with Hockey Night in Canada radio yesterday, Garth Snow told co-hosts Jeff Marek and former teammate Brad May that he cannot predict what this season has in store for Rick DiPietro, but the early signs of good health for the comebacking goaltender have been enouraging.
“We haven’t put a number on it,” Snow said about a projected amount of starts for DiPietro. “This is a situation that’s different from the past two seasons where Rick has been able to come in from day one of training camp and participate in full practices. From that standpoint, it’s been an encouraging sign for Rick and our organization that he’s been part of the group on a full-time basis.
“As it’s played out, it’s been pretty even in terms of games played for both goalies. We view it that we have two No. 1 goalies that on any given night give us a great opportunity to win a hockey game.”
Notes: The Islanders are 0-9-1 in their last ten games in Philadelphia. DiPietro is 1-5 with a 3.37 GAA in his last six starts against the Flyers.
Milan Jurcina is sidelined tonight with a hamstring injury. The big defenseman, who did not play well in the team’s three-game losing streak, will be re-evaluated on Monday. Bruno Gervais is likely to move back to the blueline in Jurcina’s absence.
The AHL conditioning stint of Rob Schremp is apparently over after one strong game with the Sound Tigers. Mike Fornabaio of the Connecticut Post reports that Schremp was returning to New York today.
Bridgeport won in Manchester on Friday, 3-2, on an overtime goal by Travis Hamonic. Kevin Poulin made 25 saves for the victory. Poulin to Fornabaio on the three-goalie rotation: “It’s the first time I’ve experienced it in my career. You have to deal with it. When you play, you have to play your best.”
John Tavares on Matt Martin‘s first NHL goal, scored on Friday: “That’s his game. He gets in those dirty areas, plays hard, and he’s a real strong guy. It was great to see him get his first one. He deserves it.”
I’ll take any Islanders questions you may have and talk about tonight’s game beginning at 6:45 in a new Comments thread. See you then.