Two caveats: 1) The Islanders have one more practice (this morning) before heading to Ottawa, and 2) Scott Gordon and Garth Snow are -- how shall we say it? -- usually "tightlipped" about their roster plans. But those caveats aside, John Jeansonne's report from yesterday's practice sure makes it look like Jeff Tambellini and Nate Thompson are the odd men out Thursday.
I lied; there's one more caveat: Jeansonne is not the everyday beat writer, and any poor soul covering the Isles could misread the significance of Islanders practice lines, particularly if Gordon's just getting a good look at Rob Schremp. That said, Jeansonne makes it sound an awful lot like Doug Weight and Blake Comeau's return combines with Schremp's debut to push Tambellini out. The lines, per Jeansonne (excluding the 1st line, which I assume is safe):
Matt Moulson | John Tavares | Kyle Okposo
Rob Schremp | Josh Bailey | Trent Hunter
Sean Bergenheim | Doug Weight | Jon Sim
Blake Comeau | Richard Park | Tim Jackman
On a purely hockey napkin-sketch level, I like these lines. On the issue of how to logically work the Rob Schremp Hockey experiment in, I like these lines. (Put Schremp with two defensively responsible forwards, and free him of the center job forever.) But on the issue of best equipping Tambellini to build off his strong preseason, I'm not so sure. Maybe they want to work Schremp in after he's had three practices in a row to get the system down, rather than just another morning skate. As always, I'm sure the plans are subject to change.
What say you? I know how many of you feel, but don't hesitate to repeat your stance in this thread. And for you lurkers, this is as good a time as any to introduce yourself and leave your two cents on this timeless topic. Tambellini has been the prodigal story among Isles fans for three years running, his future harder to pin down than the Caddyshack gopher.
If the Islanders still want to make something of Tambellini -- and all September it appeared they do -- is game 2 the time to healthy scratch him? Or is it right to baptize Schremp now, as they'll have a bushel of games this month to work bodies in and out?