PRACTICE: NVMC, 1.15.10: More on KovalchukDiPietro's next start…Witt's wounded knee

Chris Botta on Twitter


1:00 pm, NVMC: With the Posting of one credible trade rumor, Calvin de Haan went from blue-chipper to trade-his-ass.


This is the unfortunate by-product of rumors when they are not immediately squashed. All of sudden cherished prospects becomes The Expendables.


If Garth Snow had immediately told Larry Brooks what he told Newsday three hours later, parts of the Country would not have pondered life without question marks like de Haan and Kirill Petrov. Many would not have dreamed of Kovalchuk scoring 50 goals a season on a line with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo.


Still, although it was three hours later – and almost undoubtedly, after speaking with a voice from above – Snow did the right thing by silencing the buzz. The feel-good fortnight of the World Junior Championships was starting to fade away, replaced by rotisserie talk. Hey, it was fun while it lasted. This blogger would like to personally thank Larry Brooks for jazzing up a sleepy Thursday in mid-January.


Snow was in a tough spot. If he goes around shooting down every rumor, where does it end? As he has done a lot this season, the general manager got it right. All the yuks about the former goalie-turned-GM, all the concern about the inexperience, no matter how this season ends, have been put to rest.




1.800.882.ISLES: Scott Gordon was presented after practice today with an opportunity to announce when Rick DiPietro will make his first start in front of the die-hards at the Nassau Coliseum. Everyone, including the head coach, understands officially announcing DiPietro’s home game comeback could result in the selling of an additional stack of tickets for one day. Gordon, for now, is not opting to go there.


“We’re not going to base a hockey decision on that,” Gordon said, referring to marketing.


More than perfectly understandable, that way of thinking is 100% correct. However, since Gordon and Snow will know 24 hours out when DiPietro is starting – whether it’s today for Saturday night, or Sunday for Monday’s matinee – you might as well help the sales staff and your franchise’s bottom line by getting the word out. Much excitement over the team has been generated, but good seats remain very, very available.


Later on, Gordon told a story about playing a season in Knoxville and sharing the nets with Manon Rheaume. In an effort to sell tickets, team ownership – not the coach – announced that Manon was starting a game. The coach was not happy. His team trailed 4-0 after the first period before the goalie switch.





Lineup News: The same line combinations and D pairings that blew out Detroit were featured at practice for the second straight day. DiPietro took one net, while Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron shared another. I was told this means nothing because DiPietro and Roloson have alternated since Rick’s return.


As Katie Strang mentioned in her blog today, Rob Schremp is moving into a new apartment. This is important because it means the Islanders told him to move out of the hotel, which is important because it means the Islanders have told Schremp they consider him an everyday NHLer.


With this in mind, I asked Gordon if Andrew MacDonald has been told to move out of the team hotel. Gordon said he didn’t even know the Schremp news until today, so he wouldn’t know about AMac. He did, however, continue to sing the praises of the young defenseman.




Talk is Cheap: Gordon was asked if he was concerned about his young team becoming a little too over-confident. In the last two practices, the coach stopped a few drills soon after they got started. Gordon was not worried about over-confidence, but said he still needs his team to communicate more on the ice.


“We’re not a shy team off the ice,” said Gordon, “but we’re shy on the ice. We don’t talk enough. It’s the easiest thing to do.”




Hurting Witt to Rest a While: Although the team has talked of calf tightness, Point Blank has learned that Brendan Witt tried to play through a knee injury for several weeks before Garth Snow, the team’s medical staff and the veteran defenseman made the decision to shut him down for the foreseeable future. Although surgery is not likely, Witt will be out of the lineup beyond just a one-week stint on the IR.