November 22, 2010

Mike Mottau Update; Would the Islanders Claim O'Sullivan?

The Islanders received some discouraging news regarding the status of defenseman Mike Mottau as he remains overnight in an Atlanta hospital. After taking a puck off of his right eye in Sunday's game against the Thrashers, the swelling apparently has not got down.

This could be a huge blow to the Islanders defense if he has to miss significant time. Mottau was one of the more reliable Islanders defensemen this season in my eyes, although he like many of the others had fallen on hard times lately. The Islanders really don't have anyone else in the system as of this moment to be able to come in and fill the void for those minutes. Both Dustin Kohn and Mark Katic are injured in Bridgeport, while Anton Klementyev and Travis Hamonic are both very raw. Hamonic is further along however, and is one of the Islanders top defensive prospects, and a very highly regarded young blueliner across the league.

If Mottau is going to miss time, and at this point I'm assuming he would, it may not be terrible to give Hamonic a shot. It can certainly be better than what some others are providing lately, and if it's a significant injury it gives Hamonic some time to adjust. If the Islanders only need someone to fill in briefly, then Klementyev is the way to go so that Hamonic can continue to log top minutes in Bridgeport.

Obviously, and more importantly, we wish Mottau and his family the best in this time. Sometimes, things are bigger than hockey. This is one of them. The thing to be very careful with here is the eyesite. That is priority number one.

Meanwhile, I have had a few people ask me if I felt that the Islanders would claim Carolina's Patrick O'Sullivan off waivers. I say no dice.

My reasoning is actually quite simple. O'Sullivan provides more of the same as some of the other players here, and some of that is what's causing problems now. The last thing this team needs is a 3rd waiver claim playing for them, let alone one with a slew of attitude issues.

With the Islanders already carrying Rob Schremp and Michael Grabner, they won't make the claim unless they dump one of those two. Schremp was in and out of the line-up under Scott Gordon since coming back from injury, while Grabner has four goals on the season in some limited time of his own. Jack Capuano said the other day that part of his goal of making the system a bit easier was that he wants players to go out and do what they do best, and sort of not have to worry as much about the constant forechecking aspect.

Grabner and Schremp are two guys that can succeed if they are given the freedom to do so. Capuano likes both, and the Islanders will give them time to get it down. Schremp still has some work to do, but Grabner has been playing fairly well his last couple of games.

With trade winds swirling around and scouts watching the Islanders closely, you're more likely to see something from that end than another waiver claim.

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