ISLES NEED ROAD CURE
By LARRY BROOKS
March 2, 2004 -- They will not have home ice advantage in the
playoffs. So as the Islanders embark on a stretch that includes seven
of the next eight on the road, beginning tonight in Pittsburgh, it
behooves the team to work on its inability to win away from the
Indeed, while the Islanders are tied with the Senators for most home
wins in the East (21), they've won only nine on the road - a total
exceeding only the Penguins' six. Optimism is possible, though, in
light of their 4-2-2-1 record in their last nine road matches. The
Isles went 1-6 on the road in the playoffs, the past two seasons.
Garth Snow will get his second straight start in nets, with Rick
DiPietro expected to get the call on Thursday in Toronto. While
Michael Peca misses his third straight with the leg laceration he
sustained against the Rangers last Thursday, Alexei Yashin will
continue his rehabilitation in Bridgeport, skating with the AHL Sound
Tigers while the Islanders are on the road.
The Penguins, who defeated the Islanders in overtime on Sunday at the
Coliseum, have not gained points in consecutive games since a 2-0-0-1
streak from Dec. 13-18.
Taking peek at Pronger
BY ALAN HAHN
March 2, 2004
One week from today is the NHL's trade deadline and it might be the
busiest transaction day in NHL history. With the buyers and sellers
starting to identify themselves by their place in the standings,
talks are heating up between several teams. The Islanders are right
in the thick of things.
The biggest and most eye-popping name that has come up recently is
Norris Trophy candidate Chris Pronger. The Blues, who are battling
for the final playoff spot in the West, are losing money and
apparently are listening to offers for their defenseman, according to
a recent report on ESPN. A league source yesterday confirmed that the
Islanders are among the teams showing interest.
It would be an explosive deal if it were to happen, but very un-
Islander-like. Pronger is an unrestricted free agent after this
season. Another name mentioned last night was Sabres winger Miroslav
Satan, for whom the Islanders also have expressed an interest.
General manager Mike Milbury has downplayed trade talk and said that
he wants to see his team take another step in its development. After
two years of first-round playoff ousters, that step would be to win a
round, maybe two. Last week in an interview on WFAN, Milbury said he
told his team that he does not expect to make a trade.
"And if I'm gonna make a trade," he said, "I'll come in and we'll
talk about it."
Still, Milbury has made it no secret that he's looking to add a
defenseman. If Pronger is a long shot (which he seems to be), there
are other options - Washington's Brendan Witt and Anaheim's Vitali
Vishnevsky - that league sources say the Islanders are looking at.
There is no directive to pull off any major deals. If a minor
addition or nothing at all is done by the deadline, Milbury would be
satisfied with keeping the team as it is.
"I don't have any urgency to trade because I don't know how good it
is," Milbury said in a recent interview. "But you can't wait forever
Yashin working out with Sound Tigers
By MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Alexei Yashin, in a Bridgeport Sound Tigers sweater?
There he was at the Arena at Harbor Yard for practice Monday morning,
skating with Justin Mapletoft and Ben Guite, and wouldn't he look
good on that resurgent Bridgeport power play come Wednesday ...
"He's not going to PLAY," coach Greg Cronin said. (Oh.) "That would
Well, yeah. It's not often a player of Yashin's caliber graces an
American Hockey League rink, even if it is only in a blue practice
jersey at a morning practice.
With the New York Islanders on the road until Thursday, the parent
club left the rehabilitating star center with the Sound Tigers to
take advantage of Bridgeport's schedule this week.
"He's going to get four quality days of practice here," Cronin
said. "We'll get him in situations, a couple of two-on-twos, one-on-
That's just what Yashin, who hasn't played since suffering a scary
laceration to his right forearm Dec. 23, wants to work on.
"My timing is still off," said Yashin, 30, who says his arm
the bottom hand, for the right-handed shot
feels fine. "I've been skating by myself the last two months. I need
to practice game situations."
Yashin wouldn't pin down a date to return to the NHL lineup, leaving
it up to team doctors to decide. Cronin said Yashin will at least
rejoin the parent club when it returns home Friday.
the time Yashin does put on his No. 79 Islanders sweater again, he'll
have missed at least 34 games. Just after Yashin set up a goal
against Philadelphia at Nassau Coliseum Dec. 23, Flyers winger Michal
Handzus' skate accidentally cut the Islander's forearm, severing
tendons and a nerve.
Surgery followed the next day, and Yashin's arm was in a cast for the
next month. He has joined the Islanders for some practices lately,
"He hasn't really had an opportunity to play against anybody," Cronin
Yashin slid into Kevin Colley's spot for Monday's practice. Colley
didn't practice because his neck was still hurting from a hit he took
in Saturday's game against Providence. Cronin said he expected Colley
to be all right for Wednesday's game against Lowell.