UPDATED 12:10 pm, NVMC – Scott Gordon just did an excellent job explaining his take on the Chris Campoli trade to reporters after the morning skate, declaring that he had no problem with the young defenseman but that he was excited about the acquisition of another first round draft pick.
“I like Chris as a player,” Gordon said. “I think he does fit in (the system). I wanted him to want more of himself. I told him that I understood that when you have an All-Star defenseman (Mark Streit) in front of you, it can be difficult. But I had no problems with Chris. His play had improved. I had told him, ‘I want you to have more expectations of yourself.’”
….said that Jack Hillen might be able to fill the hole left by Campoli’s departure. “That will come with time and confidence.”
…said “I’ve liked the way our defensemen have been playing, especially since that West Coast trip (in mid-January).” Gordon singled out Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek and Bruno Gervais.
…said that he loved Witt’s positioning and eagerness in front of the Carolina net on the power play on Thursday night. Gordon said he discussed the idea with the veteran dman earlier in the week and “his eyes popped out of his head.” He said Witt’s play was a “lesson” to his other players and joked, “If you don’t mind taking a puck in [the defensive zone], you’re not going to mind getting hit with the puck if it means getting a goal.”
Gordon was relaxed, confident – more than he has been in a while. Saying farewell to two players who didn’t love him might have had a little to do with it.
11:15 am, NVMC - Garth Snow just met with the media in Room 6 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. A summary:
The Islanders GM said yesterday’s trade of Chris Campoli for a first round pick is consistent with his team’s rebuilding plan. “Now it’s up to us to get a good player with that draft pick,” Snow said.
He refused to discuss Chris Campoli’s request for a trade, saying he wasn’t comfortable talking about private conversations he had with one of his players. Snow took the high road. “Chris Campoli is a good young defenseman,” he said. “We gave up a good player to get a first round draft pick.”
Snow acknowledged that Jack Hillen is the first defenseman the team is looking at to see if he can fill the void left by Campoli. “Jack will get that opportunity,” the GM said.
On the possibility of more trades, Snow said “the last week to ten days there’s been lots of conversations.” He also credited veterans such as Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, Doug Weight and Brendan Witt for their role in the development of young players Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau. “That doesn’t happen without proper leadership,” he said.
Asked of the importance of the 2009 draft, the general manager said “It’s huge – just like last year’s was.” He acknowledged that the economy is a factor for his team and any team looking to acquire one of his high-salaried players, but added, “The No. 1 priority for me is to build a championship team. As tough as it has been this season to lose, we have to stay the course. We’re going to build this the right way.”
ETC: Dean McAmmond did not arrive for the morning skate but is expected at the Coliseum in plenty of time for tonight’s match against the New Jersey Devils. According to Chris King of Islanders Radio, expect Andy Hilbert to center Jon Sim and Bill Guerin and McAmmond to center the fourth line…The Islanders have recalled defenseman Joe Callahan.
Maybe They’ll Get Coburn: Amazing that all the intelligent hockey writers in Ottawa – well okay, let’s leave Donnie Brennan out of that group – actually bought into Mike Comrie being a key piece in the trade. I doubt even MC thinks he was a major piece of that deal. Ottawa GM Bryan Murray made a good trade for his team. He’s already picking in the top 10, so he could easily afford to give up a late, late first round pick for a good player like Campoli. But if the deal ended right there, Murray still would have done it.
Just throwing this out there to stir it up, and just in case it actually happens:
What’s your reaction if Ottawa turns around at the deadline and wheels Mike Comrie for a third round pick?
White-Out Tonight: In case you missed this post in all the hysteria of the Campoli trade…
The Inbox has been buried with emails to spread the word, so we shall. Islanders fans in support of the Coliseum property development want to be seen and heard at tonight’s Islanders-Devils game, which is Town of Hempstead night at the Coliseum.
There are plans for a “White-out for the Lighthouse.” In a nutshell, wear white if you’re going to the game. There will be chants and also don’t forget to visit the Lighthouse info tables. For details, read about it in Nick G’s blog here and all over the world wide web.
Hockey Talk on the Radio: Don La Greca and I are going live with our “New York Hockey This Week” show at 5:30 pm tonight on 1050 ESPN Radio. Going live means taking calls, so if you want to talk Campoli trade instead of listening to Renney rants stand up and let your voice be heard.
More later, if anything comes out of the morning skate. Comments. Guidelines.