12:50 pm – Rick DiPietro said today’s session was his longest and most active since beginning his “rehab protocol” (everyone in the organeyezation chants that phrase like monks).
Any skepticism aside, the smile is back and DiPietro is clearly optimistic. “I feel like I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I hope it continues.” When asked if there is a date circled for an NHL return for DiPietro, both the player and Scott Gordon say it’s still too early. I’ll stand by my longtime projection of Thanksgiving if all goes well.
Some notes from a sit-down with Gordon (and Newsday columnist Mark Herrmann) in the upstairs coaches office:
- Reviewing the tape of yesterday’s game, Gordon counted two odd-man rushes and six offsides that negated odd-man rushes.
- The next video session will be at Wednesday’s practice.
- In the best-case scenario, Frans Nielsen could play a game next week. He would not play back-to-backs.
- Joel Rechlicz, sent to Bridgeport today, could be back before you know it.
- Sean Bergenheim was offered a chance to play the right side and perhaps increase his minutes. He declined. (Point Blank prediction: that could always change).
- Asked to confirm that a shakeup was not coming before this weekend’s games, Gordon admitted that the Islanders’ current contract situation makes it difficult.
Although I believe it would be not be a major loss if the Islanders put a player or two through waivers – and lost them – Gordon is not ready to give up on anyone. At this time, he believes every player up with the big club deserves the chance to prove they are worthy parts of the program. I wonder if the Islanders should take a cue from Edmonton, which lost Rob Schremp for nothing and haven’t spent a second fretting about it.
11:50 am - On the morning after, a quiet one at Iceworks. The coaching staff decided to make off-ice workouts mandatory, but on-ice practice optional.
Only six skaters are on the ice: Josh Bailey, Sean Bergenheim, Frans Nielsen, Nate Thompson, Jeff Tambellini and Jack Hillen. When you think about it, there really was no option for the latter four.
Dwayne Roloson and a fella named DiPietro played goal. In his final act on ice, Rick faced a series of breakaways that ended in wrist shots from each skater. He stopped each one, but it was notable that no one could deke or really test his side-to-side movements.
After playing a total of six minutes over the last two games, Joel Rechlicz was sent to Bridgeport. The winless Islanders’ next game is Friday in Buffalo. On Saturday they host San Jose.