November 2, 2010

Briere gets Three Games; Jurcina Out; Sim Waived

9:30 PM: The Islanders announced this afternoon that Sim cleared waivers and was on his way to Bridgeport. The Sound Tigers have had all sorts of problems scoring goals this season, and he will surely help. Good veteran presence with Andy Hilbert still injured as well.

8:45 AM: The Islanders had some news come through on what ended up being a very busy Monday for the team. It started with the announcement that Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere had a hearing with the NHL Monday morning to discuss his actions stemming from the game Saturday night.

Those of you who logged on Monday morning saw my prediction of one game for Briere. What I forgot to do was take into account that fact that he fell under the NHL's rule of being a "repeat offender" (18 months). I figured he would get one game for sure, possibly two. I know some people are upset about only three games, but it wasn't going to be anything more than that. Frans Nielsen wasn't hurt on the play.

Coincidentally, the 3rd and final game of the suspension covers the rematch between the Isles and Flyers on Saturday, November 6th. Whether or not the NHL intended for that to happen remains to be seen. In my opinion, I think that it did play somewhat of a factor.

Now, moving on to items that more pretain to the Islanders, Jon Sim was placed on waivers with the intention of sending him down to the minors with Rob Schremp set to return. In our last podcast, Sean felt that he was going to be the odd man out, while I felt he was going to stick around more and perhaps Trevor Gillies would be up and down. I'm a little surprised only because Sim was getting a lot of PK time, something that neither the returning Schremp or Gilles does. Michael Grabner is going to be returning as well, and although not the strongest defensively, was being used on the PK just prior to getting his injury. Perhaps Gordon sees something more that can be worked with there or from someone else, and will get them a chance to play some PK minutes.

Grabner returning gives the Islanders one of their better skaters back, and you can see at times how the lack of speed has affected the team. Schremp has improved his skating in the offseason, and will be a welcome addition back to the team. They could really use some of what he provides. As far as five-on-five play is concerned, it's still up in the air how either player will help the Islanders there. Schremp has always been an excellent power-play producer. We'll now get to see if any of the improvements he has made can help at even strength.

Unfortunately, the defense is a slightly different story on the injury front. Milan Jurcina has now gone down with a hamstring injury that will keep him out of the lineup for two-to-four weeks. That isn't terrible, and definitely doable. As I had written just last week, Jurcina wasn't really getting more than 19 minutes a game, and his spot on the 3rd pairing is something I think Jack Hillen or Bruno Gervais can fill in adequately for now. The Islanders are going to miss his size and shot blocking though, and have lost two of their better guys in the latter department between Jurcina and Andrew MacDonald. Mark Eaton does block a lot of shots too, but unfortunately he seems to block them in the wrong direction lately. We'll hope he can fix some of those problems sooner rather than later as he will now be called on to be solid for the next few weeks.

We should find out today if Sim clears waivers (he should). Of course, we'll try to have any updates for you guys as the off-day moves along.


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