"It's been a grind. These three days have been a grind. For the first time [Tuesday] you could see it."
That's New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano talking to media after the initial "LOCKOUT's OVER!" giddiness transitioned to days of skating in the accelerated prep for the season.
Tonight they get a relief of sorts, with no morning practice and a Blue/White scrimmage in front of eager fans and with some of the other organizational prospects who are angling for their jobs. Game is at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum, with free admission, free parking, cheap hot dogs and merchandise discounts. It will also be streamed live. We'll have a thread.
But this post is about celebrating actual hockey coverage. A sampling is below, followed by video of Capuano covering a range of topics.
Wait...before we get to our first link, a quick vent or lament or warning: Hoping for regular shorthanded goals is a siren song not worth wasting too much energy on. As long as I've followed hockey, people have tried to capture the uncapturable, but small samples confound it: Consistent shorthanded goals just aren't a thing. You have good years and bad years, and two seasons ago was one hell of an unrepeatable year for both Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen in that department.
I mention this because among the topics in the Capuano scrum was Michael Grabner's drop in shorties (a question prompted by media, not by Capuano). He said they've talked about it over the summer. Staple talked to both Grabner and higher powers on the matter. [Newsday] Also: Staple will have a chat today at noon.
- The Post on Kyle Okposo's post-injury struggles, and on the Hickey claim.
- Official site also talks Okposo in a first-line role.
- Scott Pellerin on new waiver pickup and former Monarch with Pellerin, Thomas Hickey [Soundin' Off] More: [Jewels from the Crown] [LHH]
- The post-lockout chain reaction has the Monarchs in a bind. Hickey was among those signing AHL-only deals so they could play during the lockout. [Union Leader]
- Rochester will miss the other waiver claim, Joe Finley. [Democrat and Chronicle]
- VISNOVSKY: As added here early this morning/last night, Lubomir Visnovsky's agent says he's "looking forward to reporting," though no timetable is indicated. Here's a light-hearted take from Battle of Cali, relieved that Visnovsky's late-career crisis isn't their problem.
- UPDATE: Visnovsky says his son has health issues, though "not serious."
- They haven't suspended Visnovsky, but they have "suspended" Jesse Joensuu and Josh Bailey, who were injured overseas while playing for other leagues during the lockout. This is why locked out players need insurance if they play overseas, 'cause -- lockout stupidity aside -- NHL clubs don't write contracts that pay players who can't perform because they got hurt working for someone else. But more directly, this is a procedural move that allows the Isles to audition other players.
- John Tavares is awesome. [CBS NY] On that note, this video is a couple of days old, but man has Tavares grown up and man does he have an awesome hat. (Yeah, so, I'm jealous. So what.) He's going to destroy teams this year.
- Is Capuano one of the coaches on the "hot seat"?
- Is Matt Carkner about to become a folk hero? Probably. [The Checking Line]
- We had our piece on Jon Landry and Colin McDonald last night. Here's more on Landry from The Hockey Guys.
- Isles video: Brad Boyes has discovered what many Isles before him have: It's nice to be loaded and living on Long Island.
- Atlantic Previews: Yours truly for SB Nation | Puck Daddy
- Speaking of which, the Rangers will buy out Wade Redden, now that the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement that could keep teams from sending players like Redden home for the season. [ESPN NY]
- Really nice look at the TV schedule for the NHL this season. [SB Nation]
- Fun fan venting at PPP: Big Idiot Mike Komisarek Hurts JVR - Pension Plan Puppets
Now here's Capuano, who thankfully does not mention "consistency" in this one, but does have good stuff to say about Nino Niederreiter being left in the AHL: