PRACTICE: 3.18.09, Islanders IceworksSutton…roster decisions..Mannino…KO USA?

1:10 pm, Iceworks - Some quick notes from practice now, plenty more stories to come over the next few days.

 

Peter Mannino, Mike Iggulden and Joel Rechlicz are all back in Bridgeport. With both the Islanders and Sound Tigers not playing until Friday night, the team has plenty of time to make roster decisions.

 

Today’s lines at practice: Tambellini-Nielsen-Okposo, Hilbert-McAmmond-Jackman and Comeau-Bailey-Park. Nate Thompson, healthy, had his own practice jersey color. Considering the Islanders will call up players by Friday, these combos don’t really mean diddly.

 

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Andy Sutton had his first full team practice. Two weeks ago he told Point Blank he was on his way back and the only question was whether he’d play some NHL games at the end of the season. Now we know the answer. “I’m going to play,” said Sutton. “It’s a matter of when.”

 

It probably won’t be this weekend, but it could be sometime next week (the NYI play Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). Said Scott Gordon, “If he’s healthy, you want him in there – especially Sutts, who’s been through a lot. It would be great for him to get some action and give him something positive to build on.”

 

Doug Weight has resumed skating and has a goal of returning for the April games.

 

If the Islanders get Sutton and Weight back, an added benefit is the roster of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers would be replenished.

 

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Gordon, candidly and with a smile when asked whether Peter Mannino‘s performance in Chicago surprised him: “Yeah.” The coach said he chose to tell the rookie goalie about his first NHL start on the morning of the game. “On one hand you want to give guys time to prepare, but I also didn’t want him to have much time to think about it.”

 

Gordon said the start was the perfect time to give the kid a shot, plus he was aware Mannino’s mother and father were coming to the game whether he was starting or not. Gordon said he hadn’t made his goalie decisions for Friday (Carolina) and Saturday (Ottawa), but would not rule out a second start for Mannino.

 

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From the blog that last week brought you “Okposo Joining Bridgeport,” comes “Is Okposo Joining Team USA”? Nothing is official yet. Asked after practice today, Kyle Okposo said he has not been officially contacted by USA Hockey about playing at the upcoming World Championships. Our take: they’re just being respectful of the Islanders and the invitation will come soon.

 

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Gordon on his first look at the play of center Frans Nielsen. “Before the job interview process started with Garth, I watched and broke down several Islanders games from the end of last season on tape. I knew about Frans a bit from coaching in Providence, but he really stood out for me on the tape – his awareness, playmaking, hockey sense. I told Garth that Frans was a player we could really work with.”

 

More to come. Revised Comment Guidelines. Prospect talk in next thread.

 

The great Glenn Tilbrook at the Crazy Donkey in Farmingdale tonight. You do know Squeeze, right?