Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Island Hopping

Two games in two days, four days off. Two games in two days, three days off. Lately, the schedule brings to mind island hopping. With the most recent two games anchored in the middle of a nine-day ocean, I think it's a good time to reset.

So put on your seatbelts as we take this puddle jumper on a three-hour tour of the Islanders archipelago.

Greg Logan reports that Kurtis McLean's footy foot injury is a dastardly ruptured Achilles tendon. Saying that this type of injury is a major impediment to the career prospects of a 28-year-old career minor leaguer may be an understatement. All the best to Kurtis for a quick and successful recovery.

A lot of people want to get on him for the way in which he injured himself. These types of cross-training warmups are fairly common throughout sports. A pitcher loosening his arm by throwing a football (or in El Duque's case, a softball) is probably the most common example. I'm not going to get on McLean because I'm in no position to say whether the injury was directly caused by the activity. It's entirely possible that the tendon was already vulnerable and regular hockey activity would have brought the same result. That being said, I think it's worth it for trainers and physicians to explore further whether it's risky for even highly conditioned athletes to engage in activities that use the body in ways that aren't required by their normal training. But, again, sometimes you just get hurt.

Also in Newsday, Tim Jackman is satisfied with his role but still looking to improve his game, and Joey MacDonald is ready to return. This is an important stretch for MacDonald as he's lost some ground to Yann Danis. On the other hand, perceptions being what they are (hard to shake), MacDonald might do better on the open market than Danis.

In the most recent Islanders Insider, Brendan Witt and Kyle Okposo do not have a problem with Alexander Ovechkin's 50th goal celebration, and Garth Snow compares Okposo's stickhandling ability to a lizard's tongue. The column also makes us relive the horror of Teemu Selanne breaking Mike Bossy's record for goals by a rookie. (For me, the horror was not the celebration, but the fact that the record was broken.)

The Ovechkin question is a weird one for me because I usually can't stand this type of scripted celebration. Generally speaking, if you hit a home run, and that's your job, round the bases and get off the field in a dignified manner. If you're a wide receiver and you catch a touchdown pass, you have similarly merely done your job.

Of course, there are times when circumstances call for, and intrinsically create, displays of enthusiasm. Such displays often endure as a classic moments, whereas their scripted counterparts run for a day and a half on SportsCenter. Ovechkin's 50th is clearly the latter. However, his hot stick routine came across more as Look how much fun I'm having! than simply Look at me! That doesn't mean that Rick Tocchet won't have someone take a run at him next time. In this game, that's okay too.

In the Post, Dan Martin confirms what many of us having been saying all year: the current players aren't at all focused on who might be joining them from the 2009 NHL Draft class.

Point Blank shows that time heals by throwing some love to this space's actual lease holder (I'm the sub-tenant), BD, and also speculates that Thursday night's Meet Me at the Marriott event will be more interesting than you might have anticipated. Messrs. Wang, Rechler, and Suozzi have something up their sleeves?

Lighthouse Hockey gives careful and well-thought-out consideration to re-signing Doug Weight. It's a complicated equation, and Dominik does a terrific job of breaking down the contribution factors.

Following the recent no-point weekend(!), the Isles stand six points clear of Tampa Bay and eight points clear of Colorado for 30th place in the overall standings.

Starting Wednesday night, the Isles play three games in four days (Minnesota at home on Wed., at Detroit on Friday, and back home for Philadelphia on Saturday). The Wild come into town with a disappointing 34-30-8 record (4th in the Northwest division, right on the playoff bubble in the Western Conference). The holders of one of the best looking home jerseys in the NHL finally got Marian Gaborik back, but now face a stretch without leading scorer Mikko Koivu. The Wild will pay a visit to the Garden tonight before heading east to take on native Minnesotans Okposo and Jack Hillen (pending Andy Sutton's return).

By Sunday, we should be able to put much of the calculating to rest. One thing you can be sure of: St. Louis and Stamkos, Stastny and Svatos, and Mueller and Turris aren't playing for draft position either.

(This post was originally published at http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=20205.)

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