PRE-GAME: NYI at Pittsburgh, 7:35 pmDP for an AHL tuneup?…Sim clears…Comrie…

1:05 pm – Jon Sim has cleared waivers and will remain with the Islanders. However, Sim will not be playing tonight. Nate Thompson is back in after sitting out a game with the flu. Mitch Fritz remains in the lineup and will fight Godsy.

 

Joey MacDonald returns to the nets, likely for every game until Rick DiPietro returns. This is our psychological read on Scott Gordon’s comments after Yann Danis played in Philly that he’d “have to look at the tape” and “I’d like him to get the game-winner,” referring to Simon Gagne’s slapper.

 

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As reported by Katie Strang in today’s Newsday, Rick DiPietro has started to skate in full goalie gear and hopes to return to action by Christmas.

 

It has been suggested by some Point Blank readers and we wholeheartedly agree: whenever DiPietro is cleared for game action, he should start with a conditioning stint in Bridgeport. For example, the Sound Tigers play three games in three days at their home rink between Dec. 19-21. If DiPietro is cleared by then, playing the games Friday (Springfield) and Sunday (Lowell) and being around the AHL team for the weekend would be a terrific pressure-free tuneup for him.

 

(Sound Tigers tickets are available by calling 203.334.GOAL).

 

If an AHL stint was good enough for 1,000-gamer Mike Sillinger, it’s good for DiPietro. If it’s good enough for 1,600-gamer Chris Chelios (in Grand Rapids this week), it’s good enough for DiPietro.

 

And if you’re scoring at home, a few years ago the Islanders and one of their goaltenders agreed a game in Bridgeport was what the doctor ordered. The fact that the goalie was 36 years old and well-established in the NHL did not get in the way of the smart thing to do. The goalie stopped 29 of 30 shots and the Sound Tigers won.

 

The goalie was Garth Snow.

 

 

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Mike Comrie skated at Iceworks today and appears to be close to returning to the Islanders lineup. Word is the treatments and time off have done wonders for the health of the center, who underwent hip surgery in the offseason.

 

There’s an excellent chance Comrie will re-join the Islanders for a full practice on Monday and could play when the team hosts Washington on Tuesday.

 

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Did you know?…Eight of the ten most-watched events in the history of TSN – Canada’s version of the World Wide Leader in Sports – are games featuring Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. That’s Canada. That’s hockey.

 

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Reminder: Bruno Gervais will be at an Islanders-hosted event at the Dave & Buster’s at the Source Mall in Westbury tonight. Watch the Islanders-Penguins game with Bruno and win stuff.

 

I did tell the story about Bruno repeatedly calling my son Cole on his own after my son had surgery 18 months ago, right? You’ll have a blast with Bruno tonight. Check it out if you can.

 

He also shares a Foundation with Max Talbot of the Penguins, so he’s probably good for some stories about his buddy.

 

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Rick DiPietro is the subject of a lot of discussion in the Comments area of Point Blank. But it says something about what the general populace feels about the goaltender when he can draw an immense crowd of Islanders fans to Sunrise Mall like he did last night for an autograph signing, even when he’s out of the lineup.

 

I suspect he will still be the team’s biggest star for at least a few more years. Shoot, look at what you can get on not just nhl.com but MLB.com.

 

 

 

Thoughts on DP to Bport, reaction to anything else and your game predix in Comments. See you later. B.D. Gallof – off a record-setting Monday – has the game recap. I will work on other things.