9:55 pm, NVMC - According to sources around the NHL, the Islanders are asking teams for a lot if they want to acquire Brendan Witt. The team is apparently in no rush and feeling no pressure to say goodbye to their toughest and most experienced defenseman.
With the deadline less than two days away, Witt's commitment to being part of the Islanders' solution is stronger than ever. A week after telling Point Blank that he'd like to stay an Islander but would not appeal to management to keep him because he knows "it's a business," Witt re-asserted his belief in the rebuilding franchise.
It all adds up to this: when the Islanders host the Rangers on Thursday night, Brendan Witt will still be a member of the home team.
"I want to stay, and I hope not by things I say but by my actions on and off the ice that management understands that," Witt said during the Islanders' 4-2 win over Colorado.
Fair enough, but here's what the 34-year old defenseman said on a few issues:
On Scott Gordon: "We're good. No issues. We work together well. He's doing a good job in what's been a tough year. Look at how all the young players are coming along."
On those young players: "Tremendous. Great kids. Talented. They're fun to be around. They're a big reason why I don't want to go anywhere else. Kyle, Bails, Comeau, Bruno, Franzie."
(Later on, while reminiscing about the leadership of his old Capitals teammate Ulf Dalhen, Witt said, "That's who Franzie can be - Ulf Dahlen. He plays just like Ulfie." Dahlen had 655 points in 966 NHL games.)
On a Newsday report of veteran discontent with Gordon: "I'm not going to talk about it. It's not the way to go about it." He laughed. "Stays in the room, right"?
Looks like the Islanders will have at least one respected, returning veteran to pound home that message at the appropriate time. Unless the Islanders receive overpayment in a trade offer, Brendan Witt is not leaving the room.
First NHL Game, Goal for Joensuu
Jesse Joensuu scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. Prior to the game, Scott Gordon said that Joensuu's call-up was probably just for one game. Count on the 6-4 Finn playing his 5th in 5 nights tomorrow in Bridgeport. Depending on the status of Nate Thompson and Richard Park, Joensuu could get a second taste of the NHL.
Joensuu made it three players from the Islanders' 2006 draft in tonight's game, along with Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald.
ETC: Trent Hunter took warmup, but sat out the game with a lower leg injury. The Islanders have won two games in a row with just 17 available skaters in the lineup.
It's not just the three assists for Jon Sim tonight. His relentless play the last few weeks has sparked his lines and also drawn the attention of scouts. Although the season remaining on Sim's three-year contract will likely be a detriment, the Islanders may get some calls about him the next two days.
The Islanders offered all ticketholders for tonight's game a complimentary ticket for one of three select games. Check the team site for details.