THE MORNING SKATE: Stars at Islanders, 7pmDeHaan Up, Poulin Starting

VERIZON FIOS TO CARRY ISLANDERS IN HD
Want to know how a cable company loves you? When they’ll go to court to make sure you see your favorite team in HD (OK, and maybe to level the playing field in the marketplace too). Long story short, Cablevision (aka Optimum) wouldn’t give Verizon MSG and all of the Pluses to you in HD. For the longest time, it’s been one of Optimum’s biggest marketing slogans that ‘you can only get News 12 and all six NY sports teams and the Mets all seven NY sports teams in HD on Optimum.’ I think I may have the commercial memorized. So Verizon took it to the FCC who said Optimum had to share their toys. And yesterday Verizon announced that you can have some of the HD-goodness too. You may start getting the channels as soon as today.

POULIN AND DE HAAN IN
So even though Evgeni Nabokov has been practicing with the team for nearly two weeks, he’s not ready to go. The Islanders have recalled Kevin Poulin from Bridgeport and he will start tonight to give Al Montoya a break. Also up is Calvin de Haan to replace an injured Steve Staios. At practice today, Capuano said he was leaning towards pairing de Haan with Dylan Reese probably due to Sound Tiger familiarity.

Steve Staios is out of tonight’s game against Dallas with a possible concussion. No word on when Staios’ concussion occurred and no official word from the Islanders that it is, in fact, a concussion. The Official Twitter is calling it an “upper body injury.” But hey, there’s definitely no concussion epidemic in the NHL. Nope. Nothing to see here.
Update (12:30pm): I missed it before, but Rick DiPietro was placed on IR to make room for Poulin. That is retroactive to 12/3 so he can come off at anytime.

SPEAKING OF THINGS THAT MAKE HEADS HURT
That Hamonic ejection/referee brain cramp got rescinded. Rescinded very, very quietly.

MARK FISTRIC IS IN THE BUILDING
A friendly reminder in case you forgot but I’m sure you’ve had it marked on your calendar.

Update (3:30pm): Fistric will NOT be in the lineup tonight.

Also, former beat writer for Newsday Alan Hahn has joined MSG as an analyst for both basketball and hockey.