They brought their TOYS with them.
We are in one of the NHL's annual silly seasons, with speculation often jumping into rumor, while sourced info gets buried. A couple of unnamed sources for Chris Botta: That the Isles are discussing 1- and 2-year offers in extension talks with Evgeni Nabokov.
One rumor du jour: That Mark Eaton "requested a trade," something he flatly denied that to Newsday's Arthur Staple -- but that won't keep logic (Milan Jurcina and Mark Eaton are unsigned pending UFAs) from evolving into an echo chamber of "reports say" giving those stories legs. Suffice to say they're veteran UFA D-men, and it's a seller's market. They aren't worth much, but if the right buyer comes calling ... deal faster than you can say "Hal Gill."
Meanwhile, it was a chatty kind of Tuesday. Staple fielded plenty of Isles questions, while the Connecticut Post's Michael Fornabaio handled fans queries on the hot Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Botta and NHL.com's Brian Compton also did their metro podcast at Point Blank. Those links go to the full chats; highlights for discussion are below in this post.
Staple says the room is fine; Compton says he has to believe yesterday's failure means there's a "leadership issue" in that room.
I say the team is an NHL quasi-.500 team playing NHL quasi-.500 hockey.
Staple on the Islanders
Questions for Staple ran the gamut of the usual Islanders fan zeitgeist. A sampling of answers reflecting the beatwriter's opinion on the Isles follows below.
Staple on the flu bug running through the team:
Right now, the head coach is suffering the most. Nabokov should be ready to return on Friday against the Rangers. I think after taking nearly a full year off and then playing as much as he'd been, Nabokov suffered more than most would due to the flu.
On Brian Rolston, who turned 39 today:
I think the entire organization has been stunned at how much Rolston's game has fallen off, and I am surprised that Capuano keeps putting him out there.
Brian Rolston is so old, _______________.
Speaking of disappointments for the organization ... Marty Reasoner?
Yes, very much so. He fills a role -- and, frankly, there's a chance he'll get moved before Monday because he can fill a role -- so no one expected 40 points. But he has been a disappointment.
On Why Can't Have Cizikas And Everyone Up Here Now, Now, Want Now, 'Cause Want Now Have:
My feeling is the staff wants to keep rookie pros like Cizikas and De Haan in Bridgeport for the entire year to continue to build on what they've done so far, rather than drop them into a messier situation up with the Isles. Best case scenario is Cizikas is ready to compete for a role starting next training camp.
On Travis Hamonic, recovering from his broken nose:
If Hamonic is still on target, he'll want to play Friday; Sunday seems more realistic.
Go to Newsday for the full chat.
Sound Tigers with Mike Fornabaio
On Tomas Marcinko, who received a game misconduct for boarding over the weekend:
Boarding is one of those penalties where two game misconducts carry an automatic one-game suspension. Assuming the league doesn't rescind the penalty, and at the moment I have no information that that's even under consideration, I assume he gets one to start. Given that this is two such penalties in about four weeks, it's possible there's more...
Fornabaio also discussed some of the PTOs currently playing -- and it seems, brilliantly procured by Brent Thompson -- and how they'll need contracts if they're to stick around and be on the Clear Day list. Contracts would be needed by March 5. Some of their PTOs expire before that.
Katic, if all goes well, the hope was that he could be ready as early as this weekend.
There's plenty more at Fornabaio's chat too. For discussion purposes here, that's the latest insight on the team at both parent and farm team level.
* * *
Talk amongst yourselves...
Commenters, please consider that when doing your usual chatter. And please be respectful of each other, for Bossy's sake.