9:27 pm - The Worst of the Web: In this era of tweets, here's a reason for not having open practices.
Today's morning skate was open to some school groups as part of a community program presented by the Islanders. As the students arrived, Rick DiPietro faced a series of shots from Rob Schremp. DiPietro ended the workout with a Pete Townshend-like flourish - by smashing his goalie stick over the crossbar.
This was immediately spread about the information stupidhighway as DiPietro messing up his hip and/or tweaking his knee. This blog received more than 20 emails about DiPietro's "setback."
According to an impeccable source, DiPietro did not re-injury himself. "There was a goalie stick that was not making as many saves as it should have," said the source, "so it had to be dealt with."
Point Blank stands by its projection from three months ago of "Thanksgivingish" for an NHL return for DiPietro.
Quinn and Tavares: Edmonton coach Pat Quinn saw the best of John Tavares when he coached the Islanders' young star at last year's World Junior Championships with gold medal-winning Team Canada. Here's what the Oilers coach told Point Blank today about his experience with Tavares:
"What I learned in the few weeks I had coaching John is that he is a terrific young man who loves the game. As skilled as he is, he works hard at getting better. Some guys take their talents for granted, but not John.
"For someone who's still a teenager, he's incredibly wise about offensive play. He has beautiful hands as a goal scorer and he's a deceptive skater. He gets everywhere he needs to go with no problem and he's tough to knock off his feet when he's determined to make a play.
"I found him to be such a smart player. As a defenseman, what he gives you visually...you think you have him but he gets by you. I saw him make plenty of talented young defensemen stutter. His hockey intelligence is at a level you just don't see much from veterans, let alone a 19-year old.
"I'd say the Islanders, with John, are going to have a great goal scorer and a very good all-around hockey player for a long time."
Hey kids...it's time for that Islanders home game tradition - Post-Game Plus/Minus!
Plus: Brendan Witt - you cannot stop him, you can only hope to contain him.
Plus: Brendan Witt - like Ovechkin, what you want to do is make him work hard on defense, make him chase the puck so he doesn't have the energy in the O zone.
Plus: Brendan Witt...on a serious note, just a good man. A few days ago, another Islanders hanger-on/ninny led him to believe this blogger was disrespectfully carving him up. So Brendan - not exactly a regular visitor to hockey blogs - asked me this morning about it man-to-man, saw the facts, got the truth, continued our friendly professional relationship...and promptly went out and shot the puck like his boy Sergei Gonchar. Now that's some bad-ass secondary scoring.
Plus: The fans responding to Witt in the final minute of the game.
Plus: With the Islanders down 1-0 and looking like they were struggling to keep up, Sean Bergenheim plasters Patrick O'Sullivan with a big hit in the Oilers' end. Less than a minute later, a forechecking Matt Moulson catches Edmonton sleeping and feeds Tavares to tie the game.
Minus: Tavares named the Islanders' (Sponsor) Player of the Month for October. Like he's not going to win a few dozen of these over the next decade. Like they couldn't throw Matt Moulson a frickin' bone. Fix!
(for dramatic effect, I have greatly exaggerated how much I care about the above)
Plus: If Andy Sutton keeps this up, I...I...well, I don't know what to say. Cripes, the Islanders may have to offer him a contract extension. Nah, keep the big guy hungry. "Sutts is really turning the corner," said Scott Gordon.
Plus: He didn't score, but Jeff Tambellini continues to look like a different player. You know, a good NHL one.
Plus: Robert Nilsson, proving in living colour why his draft selection by the Islanders was an epic failure, proving once again why Garth Snow was smart to get his perimeter-loving buttocks off the roster the first time he had the chance. We'll give Grebeshkov a pass tonight. He's usually pretty good.
Plus: Dwayne Roloson looked like he loved every second of it, even the first period when he kept it close while under siege. Better still, after the game he acted like it was no big whoop. "It's another victory. Doesn't matter who we played," said the goalie.
Plus: Can't be a coincidence the Islanders have played their best hockey after Doug Weight returned to the lineup. Two even-strength assists tonight from the captain.
Plus: To the New York chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, for successfully lobbying the NHL to convince the Islanders that distributing media notes to the, uh, media was a proper thing to do. The Islanders have not lost since.
Plus: Maybe it just felt that way with the home team winning, but sure was nice to hear some good ol' guitar-driven, loud rock and roll pumped through the Coliseum speakers in warmups and during the game. Maybe Witt also took over as DJ.
Plus: For the second time in three nights, a visiting team came into the Coliseum with a Harlem Globetrotters routine - behind-the-pack passing, toe drags, fancy crap - only to fall victim to work ethic, execution and KISS hockey. If the Islanders can bottle it, there's no reason why Go-Go Ball shouldn't play well on the road.
Join in the Plus/Minus fun, comment on this post and talk about the game. This is an Election-free zone.