It's weird how these things line up sometimes; a star player on the opposing team returning for a game against the Islanders. Seems like it happens with some regularity.The Islanders headed to Pittsburgh for Sidney Crosby's big return a couple seasons ago. Earlier this year, Kris Letang and Carl Hagelin both made their first appearances of the year against the Isles after injuries and tonight it looks like Alex Ovechkin will do the same (although he's only missed two games). Maybe it's weird coincidence, or maybe just a statement on how often hockey players get banged up and miss time.?Another return of sorts is Jon Sim signing a 25-game PTO with the Sound Tigers.?Yes, it's that Jon Sim who was on the Islanders for a few seasons from 2007-2011.Sim bounced back and forth between Bridgeport and Long Island a bit and was eventually placed on waivers to head to Bridgeport in January 2011. He refused to report, instead opting to head to Europe, saying it was the best option for his family (translation: $). The Islanders placed him on unconditional waivers, clearing him from the franchise completely.?He's bounced around since he's left, playing in the Swiss-A, German league and the Czech league. He spent last year between Adirondack and San Antonio in the AHL but failed to catch on with a team this year. The Sound Tigers have injuries to Chris Bruton, Joe Finley and Johan Sundstrom is day-to-day, so Sim is just another warm body to have around. And a familiar one at that.While he left on a bit of a sour note last time around, he's saying the right things now, so that's good: [sny-box]?I?m going to go in and I?m going to play my game. I?m going to help the young guys, be a professional and a leader hopefully and try to get this team some wins and help the young guys along the way the best I can.[/sny-box]Placing Brian Strait on injured reserve yesterday opened up a roster spot for the Islanders. That gives them the option for a call up from Bridgeport. If they so choose, of course.With Bridgeport not playing until the weekend and the Islanders not traveling further west than Columbus, Ohio, on the four-game road trip, it's probably pretty easy to get a Sound Tiger to join the Big Club at a moment's notice. There's also a day in between the first few road games. ?No stress, no rush.Between Nino Niederreiter, Rick DiPietro and Matt Moulson, is there more fretting over former players here than in any other fanbase? The Moulson thing is recent and he's a fan favorite, so totally understandable. But every time Niederreiter or DiPietro does, well, anything the news of it seems to pop up and catch the front burner in Islander land. DiPietro I guess makes sense too, he's so tied to this organization having spent so many years here.But is this a thing that happens with other fanbases as well? I have no idea. Legitimately asking the question. Maybe it's because of Twitter, blogs like this one and other media that are so hyper-focused on one small segment of the hockey world (the Islanders) that even the smallest stories seem pertinent (see: next paragraph).What I was getting to was this story about DiPietro in Charlotte with Carolina's AHL affiliate, trying to work his way back to some sort of goaltending job. He's on a tryout contract so nothing's guaranteed and has surrendered nine goals in two games for an .875 SVP. The guy has the best pension plan in the NHL, getting $1.5 million per year for the next however many years but genuinely seems like he won't be completely settled until he can find out if he's cut out to be an NHL netminder again or not.He's not with the team anymore, he technically doesn't matter to the team the blog covers, but I still feel compelled to mention the story (as many others did on Twitter yesterday). It's the Ex-Isle Phenomenon.The video below is Mike Francesa being Mike Francesa. And yes, if you record your call-in asking Mike about the Islanders I will absolutely post it.https://vine.co/v/hjx0XVEaxmQAlso: How they make the ice pink for Pink the Rink night... The League is considering 10-game suspensions for goalie fights, obviously thanks to Ray Emery's antics... And here are the Flyers and their color commentator doing the mental gymnastics to conclude that a line brawl in a 7-0 game was totally necessary?and good for the team...And here's the full 80-minute YouTube of Big Shot. Get a look at it before ESPN files a copyright claim...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZU7srdgw8c
Next Tuesday, October 22nd at 8pm Big Shot premieres on ESPN as part of the network's 30 for 30 documentary series. It chronicles John Spano's fraudulent purchase of the Islanders in the mid-1990s and is directed by celebrity Islanders fan Kevin Connolly.