Islanders Bits: Kirill Kabanov's Bloody Night

Whoa, wait, totally different Memorial Cup. Still a Russian though.

If you're curious about the progress of Kirill Kabanov, you'll have a few more chances to see him if you have access to NHL Network (U.S.) or Sportsnet coverage of the Memorial Cup continuing through next week.

Last night Kabanov was kept off the scoreboard in host Shawinigan's 4-3 loss to WHL champion Edmonton, but he exhibited many of the raw traits that make him one of the NHL-bound players in this tourney: He was "hard on the puck" (in the parlance of our times) along the boards, his skating allowed him to cover ground quickly and change directions smoothly on defense, and of course his stickhandling is quick and decisive.

The defensive coverage in particular got him in trouble -- but not in the way you might think: While blocking a passing lane in the neutral zone he took a puck to the face, instantly spilling blood to the ice -- a 40-foot trail by one account. A hockey player, Kabanov got stitched up and returned, apparently declining the metal cage announcers said was prepared for him.

Plenty more on his progress this year -- everyone still tells him to shoot more, he's put on weight, he's had fun with his mother in town -- in this piece on Kabanov at Sportsnet. He's raw, but there's enough there to dream.

Other NHL properties and 2012 draft prospects were also on display, with Henrik Samuelsson and Griffin Reinhart both picking up big goals, and Keegan Lowe coughing up the puck in front of his own goal to blow Edmonton's lead (they grabbed it right back, however).

It was Shawinigan's first game in a month, but they looked in stride, a credit to team and coach.

Islanders & Hockey Bits

It's Basically Never Safe to Rip Officiating or Diving

I actually agree with Dave Tippett's comments about embellishing -- and watching the Kings this playoffs, I'm getting a better idea of how Dustin Brown "draws" such a disproportionate number of penalties -- but I hate coverage that makes it seem Tippett was making excuses for his team's loss. (That's from Pierre LeBrun, who's normally extraordinarily fair, but I think that piece is too casual with the context.)

In the full post-game press conference, Tippett clearly pointed to the things his team didn't do right. Then, a reporter asked about him being frustrated with officiating, which is when Tippett elaborated on what, in particular, frustrated him. But he even noted that when embellishing takes hold, both teams (including his own) do it. But you can clip one quote and make it sound like a coach is deflecting blame ... which makes me think it's never safe to talk about a very real issue in the game.

Playoff Thread

The Rangers and Devils resume their series today in Newark at 1 p.m. EDT. Consider this your open thread for in-game comments on the Tri-State Hate.

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