October 29, 2010

Life Without El Nino Begins as Isles go for Round 2 vs. Habs

Coming off the heals of yesterday's announcement that Nino Niederreiter is heading back to Portland of the WHL, the Islanders prepare to take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Coliseum for the 2nd part of a home and home.

Sending Niederreiter down was the right move for various reasons, some of which I discussed here yesterday. Now he'll get solid playing time, be a leader on his team, and perhaps make the Portland Winterhawks one of the powerhouses in all of junior hockey. Niederreiter is a great player and a good kid who is taking it all in stride.

Matt Martin will stay up and take Niederreiter's place for now. I felt Martin had a solid game on Wednesday night, so we'll see if any of that carries over to tonight. I thought he was going to make the final roster of Niederreiter originally, but as Scott Gordon said the injury he sustained during camp hindered his chances near the end.

Michael Grabner remains out, and will probably not play Saturday against the Flyers either. Trent Hunter is playing tonight. The Islanders are making a change at forward, however, in the form of Bruno Gervais. Yes, that is not a typo. The Islanders, who have used Gervais as a forward in practice, are going with a little experiment for at least tonight. It is a bit odd, but one would suspect that perhaps Trevor Gillies is out of the lineup tonight. He was supposed to be scratched Wednesday, but ended up playing with Hunter out and logged a whopping 55 seconds of ice time. The Islanders can't do that against a fast team like this, so it appears they just decided at the last minute to go with Gervais rather than call someone up. Will be interesting to see how this works out.

Dwayne Roloson gets the start again. He looked sharp to me on Wednesday, and the result was more of a product of those in front of him. If they are not going to skate, and are going to stand around, then expect a similar result to Wednesday. I do not anticipate this happening. Gordon most likely let them hear it after that performance.

SCHREMP TO BRIDGEPORT: If you caught it on his Twitter account last night before the comment got deleted, Rob Schremp is in fact heading to Bridgeport for a conditioning stint. He seemed to jump the gun with reporting the news, but myself and a few others saw it. The Isles made the news official today, and he is playing tonight against Manchester. He had been skating with the team a little this week, so you knew he was close to returning to action. It'll be good to get his creativity and improved skating into the lineup within the next week or two.

KABANOV TRADED IN QMJHL: As I had re-tweeted yesterday, Kirill Kabanov was traded to the Lewiston MAINEiacs from Danny Flynn's Moncton Wildcats. The deal had been rumored for about a week, which covers a good chunk of the time where Kabanov was in Russia for a "personal issue." Kabanov spend about two weeks back home.

It's not right to jump to conclusions at all, but one has to wonder if these things are related. When he left, it seemed very odd to say the least. usually when players head home for personal reason's you hear about why. There have been only some theories on why he returned to Russia, nothing concrete though.

At any rate, Lewiston gave up quite the package for the talented winger, sending away goalie Jordan Kennedy, a second round draft pick in 2011, a fourth round draft pick in 2011, a first round pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft, and a fourth round draft pick in 2012. Problems aside, there is a reason why the kid was at one time regarded as a top three pick. We'll see what this change does for him.



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