Interested to see how Milan Jurcina performs on Long Island for Scott Gordon, his former coach in Providence. During Jurcina’s time in the AHL, Gordon and then-assistant Rob Murray tried everything to get more snarl out of the hulking Slovakian. They even employed Colton Orr to take a few jabs and prods at Jurcina during practice to provoke the defenseman. Usually, there was no response, although there aren’t many guys willing to mix it up with Orr, now the heavyweight in Toronto . .
"They can all move the puck," Gordon said. "I want our team to be so good on the forecheck we don't have to play a lot of defense."
"Shorter shifts, Gordon said, lead to an increase of productivity. He told Tavares he would like to see him identify that 20-30 second range where he can cut off his shift and make the most of his time on the ice."
"Our fans have embraced the direction we’re going in," Snow said. "It’s always neat when you’re walking down the street or going into a restaurant and someone stops you to say, ‘We like what you’re doing. Keep it up.’"
"I'll share my observations with Garth Snow," Gordon said. "But at the end of the day, our scouts and Garth have seen them the most, and it's the little things you see that make the complete package. I'm sure Modo isn't going to send tapes of any of Hedman's bad games.
"I'm in a good situation, and I'm happy," Comrie said. "I wish nothing but success for the Islanders."
"It's unfortunate [Gordon] thinks that way, but I'm not worried about it and it's not going to affect me," Campoli said. "I have a lot of respect for the organization, and I wish them the best, except against us."
"You know, we had a couple bad apples, too, that we got rid of," Gordon said in an apparent reference to trades involving Guerin, Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli. "As a result of that, the chemistry in the locker room is what you would expect from a team that pulls together. They are pulling for each other, and they're working with a purpose."
Coach Scott Gordon, who has been at odds with Guerin much of this season, wasted no time when asked how he will fill the leadership void. "I addressed a few of our younger players tonight, and I went right to the point and said, 'In this group here, there's going to be two captains. It's what you're going to do in the second half that's going to allow me to make that decision.'"
One Penguin said the Islanders had a much different defensive look that sharply curtailed odd-man rushes compared with the 9-2 blowout Dec. 11 in Pittsburgh.
Said Gordon: "I know we're definitely a smarter team, and the comfort level with the system is better and we're definitely a better defensive team."
Gordon, after one-on-one video w/ Kyle Okposo: "He’s a 20-year-old rookie," Gordon said. "The fact he’s able to play up here and be comfortable says a lot about his ability. Whatever deficiencies he has is just from not playing pro and not having the ability to know there’s less time than what he’s accustomed to in [college]. But I think he’s acclimated himself. He’s a pretty smart kid. I don’t find him to be a guy who, when he’s on the ice, I worry about. That says a lot about him."