BACK AND FORTH
Players juggling their time in the NHL and AHL
Wednesday, 03.26.2008 / 3:17 PM ET / News
By Jason Lockhart - Website/Publications Coordinator
Injuries have piled up on the Islanders as the 2007-08 season comes to close giving many prospects a chance to show their talents at the NHL level. But with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders' AHL affiliate, in the middle of a playoff race, management has tried to help them out as best as they can by having players skate in their games between Islanders games. The result has been a lot of traveling for some players and some half-empty practices.
"Today we skated with two and a half lines out there," said Ted Nolan, following practice at Iceworks on Wednesday. "It's tough. You have to figure out different ways to run practice. We try to get the guys who are here to focus on the games. We're still professional athletes here and we have to prepare accordingly. And we have to be ready to play because if we're not ready to play, that's how more injuries occur."
Jeremy Colliton, Steve Regier, Tim Jackman and Matthew Spillier took part in the Islanders' 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday and will help Bridgeport try to defeat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight in Pennsylvania.
"They're in a dogfight to make the playoffs," said Nolan. "Hopefully, they do a great job for them and then come back and do a great job for us. But they'll be in the taxi squad the next little while considering our injuries and the games in Bridgeport."
Frans Nielsen (shoulder) and Bruno Gervais (concussion) both participated in practice today at Iceworks, but will not make the trip to Pittsburgh with the team. They may be in the lineup for the Islanders' home game against New Jersey on Saturday.
THOUGHTS ON KO'S FIRST FOUR GAMES
"What you see with Kyle is a pretty impressive player," said Nolan. "The more comfortable gets, the more he'll demonstrate his natural ability. Some of his ability is something you might not want to coach, but just watch. You can perhaps tinker with it a little. His comfort level on the ice has been much better. He's feeling his way out on the ice and creating some room for himself. Kyle is getting better and better every game."
Islanders prospect Mike Mole made his way to Long Island yesterday to take part in his first practice with an NHL team during the regular season. Signed by the Islanders on October 5, 2006, Mole has gone 18-13-5 with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL this year. Utah is the Islanders' ECHL affiliate. He spent a brief time with Bridgeport this season, while Joey MacDonald was with the Islanders, but did not play in a game. Nolan expects Mole to backup Wade Dubielewicz the rest of the season with Bridgeport making a push for the playoffs.
A MOOSE HUNT
An interesting little moose clothing hook was found in Bill Guerin's locker today. After some investigation, it turns out Guerin won the hook in a silent auction up in Moncton, New Brunswick during training camp.
"There were four items up for bid in this silent auction at some fundraiser in Moncton," said Guerin. "I put down $150 for all four items and won all four. I ended up giving a DVD player to one of the zamboni drivers at the rink and the boom box to someone else who helped us out up there. I kept the moose."