9:40 pm – Since we don’t know if we’ll get to a pre-gamer with Monday’s early start, here’s some nightly news and notes, followed by your chance to make your score prediction for Islanders-Sabres…
There is no news on Radek Martinek, injured (shoulder, probably) on a check by the Blues’ David Backes in the first period last night. In defense of the team, sometimes injuries like the one Martinek suffered take a second day of evaluation to make a more definitive prognosis.
Bridgeport (AHL) lost in Hartford tonight, 2-1, in a shootout. The big news for the Sound Tigers was the netminding of first-year pro Peter Mannino, who stopped 34 shots in regulation and overtime. Andrew MacDonald had the Bridgeport goal, while Artem Anisimov scored the shootout-winner. Mitch Fritz played for the Tigers, but the recently-signed Brandon Sugden did not dress for Hartford.
As an aside, I spoke last night with a visiting pro scout about Sugden. I gave it to him straight: the man can still fight but he’s way behind in his skating after two years in the LNAH. The scout told me his information from a colleague was that Sugden badly lost his fight to Bryce Salvador in the Islanders-Devils exhibition game. There are a lot of good scouts out there and many of them were very kind to me in my old career, but I tell ya, sometimes I’m amazed by the sheer crap I hear. Is it possible the scout said it because he just didn’t want the team to sign Sugden?
In a pre-game scrum with reporters last night that I missed while trying to down a jello shot at a tailgate party, Scott Gordon said Josh Bailey will be out 2-4 weeks. Officially, the team did not make any kind of announcement and would not confirm Gordon’s statement when I followed up today. I love when coaches break out on their own.
Congratulations to editor Corey Witt, designer Tom Rakoczy, Bruce Bennett and the Getty Images crew and the rest of the staff that worked on the super-sharp 2008-09 Islanders media guide. Can you believe how far Sean Bergenheim has come? Two seasons ago, he bolts the Islanders to sign with a team in Russia. Now he’s one of the 5 media guide cover boys, along with Rick DiPietro, Bill Guerin, Brendan Witt and Trent Hunter. It can’t just be Sean’s hotness.
Of the first 170 fans to respond to a poll on Islandermania today, 131 said they did not like the Islanders’ new goal celebration song while 39 said they liked it. I’ll repeat my suggestion from last night: let the Islanders tinker with it and then judge after ten games. Okay, just give it four games and then decide. The fifth home game is against the Rangers.
Joey MacDonald told us Detroit goalie coach Jim Bedard has been a major influence on his play. “The Red Wings signed me out of junior and Jim was there for me from the beginning,” said MacD, who once shared the Detroit nets with Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood. “One of the most important things he taught me was to never give up on the puck. Do everything in your power to stop it.” He put that to good use last night with a stunning stop on Andy MacDonald three minutes in.
A check of Ticketmaster reveals some seats available in most price ranges for Kids Day on Monday. Check out what the Islanders have in store for the day on newyorkislanders.com.
Greg Logan has an update from today’s practice at Iceworks on his Newsday blog. He thinks MacDonald will be back in goal for Monday’s matinee.
Today, I didn’t even try to find out who’s playing goal tomorrow. I will not try before the game. I won’t even watch warmups at 1:30 pm to see who comes out first because I’ll probably be eating cotton candy with my kids. I’ll just simply see who’s out there at 2:05 and won’t even blog right away about it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m too dense to understand how the Islanders can say they are being cautious with the franchise goaltender, but they were okay with the possibility of putting him in cold after sitting on the bench for over an hour if MacDonald had been injured. Whether it’s Rick DiPietro, MacDonald, Yann Danis, Dubie, Richard Brodeur, George Maneluk or Danny Lorenz, for the time being I just do not care. It only took two weeks, but regarding this subject, they’ve broken me!
SCORE-O TIME!: Well-rested since a shootout win in their home opener on Friday night, the Sabres – one of my picks to surprise in the East – will not come out flat like the Blues did on Saturday. They will also bring better goaltending in Ryan Miller. There will be lots of life in the stands with Kids Day and plenty of physical play if the Islanders are ready to match the fast and tough Sabres. I predict, in a thriller…
BUFFALO 4 ISLANDERS 3 (OT)
Point Blank Record for ’08-09: 1-0
After the success of Friday’s prediction game, let’s make it a semi-regular feature! Place your Guess-of-Score in the Comments area.