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Islanders waive Brendan Witt; SUVs exhale

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Wait now, I swear I just read somewhere that Brendan Witt could plausibly fetch a 2nd and a 5th from a playoff team? The reasons that's a pipe dream, as discussed in this space less than 10 hours ago, should be obvious.

So now, as reported just about everywhere, the Islanders have taken the uncomfortable step of placing Witt on waivers. "Uncomfortable," because he's been a solid guy who played through untold injuries. His range of "anything for the team" assignments included not only your traditional trench battles but also, amusingly (and briefly), shootout taker and big man in front of the net on the powerplay. But whether by nagging injury or natural physical decline -- so often closely intertwined -- it's been clear the last two seasons that he's not effective in this team's scheme.

Meanwhile, his recent stint on IR -- which came after he typically said he was fine -- has been variously reported as a calf injury and a lingering knee injury. Most will remember that in October 2008 he suffered an early season knee injury and later rushed himself back into the lineup. Given his nature, we'll probably never know how much is natural decline and how much is the piling up of injuries not fully healed.

Newsday's Katie Strang reports Witt will be assigned to Bridgeport if unclaimed by noon tomorrow. It's another big step in an era of transition for the Islanders.