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Islander News Articles 10-3-2005

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  • billbarrisles
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/ny- spisles034453312oct03,0,1428135.story?coll=ny-sports-headlines Shortened roster may be an option BY ALAN
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2005
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      Shortened roster may be an option

      October 3, 2005

      Justin Papineau found himself caught in a numbers crunch on the
      Islanders' roster, and the 25-year-old winger slipped through waivers
      and now is with the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

      Next up in the numbers crunch could be Sean Bergenheim and Petteri
      Nokelainen, although because the two still are in their entry-level
      contracts, they do not have to go through waivers. If they are sent
      down, it would be motivated by the bottom line, not performances.

      The Islanders can keep a 23-man roster, which they have now, to open
      the regular season Wednesday in Buffalo. But in order to eventually
      open up some "wiggle room" under the $39-million cap (the team is
      about $500,000 under), and to avoid having to sit young players as
      healthy scratches in lieu of veterans, there is a thought that they
      might opt to go to 21 players.

      Moving the two would provide more ice time for them to develop in the
      minors and also save the Islanders almost $1.9 million against the

      Coach Steve Stirling has been extra pleased with the effort both
      Bergenheim, 21, and Nokelainen, 19, have given as fourth-line
      grinders. But in the new NHL, laden with special-teams play, there is
      debate as to how often a fourth line will be used. Nokelainen saw two
      shifts in the preseason finale against the Rangers.

      When veteran Arron Asham returns from a rib strain, he will join a
      line with versatile center Shawn Bates and tough guy Eric Godard.
      Bergenheim undoubtedly would go to Bridgeport and await a recall, but
      Nokelainen might decide to return to his pro team, SaiPa, in Finland.
      If he does, the Islanders won't see him again until next training

      Notes & quotes: Stirling moved rookie winger Robert Nilsson back with
      Alexei Yashin and Miroslav Satan for yesterday morning's
      practice . . . It was an open practice for season ticket-holders,
      which produced a turnout of almost 2,000. Players signed autographs



      at Sabres

      7 p.m.

      TV: MSG

      Radio: WBBR (1130)




      October 3, 2005 -- Perhaps owner Charles Wang put it best when he
      said there is a certain "magic" about this Islanders team and that
      winning a Stanley Cup is very much the mission of this season's

      There is an unquestionable positive mental attitude emanating from
      the Islanders this year and, after going through training camp and a
      seven-game exhibition schedule, Cup talk may not be all that
      outrageous in Uniondale.

      A bit premature? Yes. But the Islanders open the 2005-06 season on
      Wednesday with as much optimism that's surrounded them in years. The
      bar has been raised.

      Michael Peca was traded to Edmonton in as much of a salary slash as
      it was a cleaning of the dressing room. GM Mike Milbury plucked out
      players he believed stood in Alexei Yashin's way of becoming a
      dominant player again. Milbury made no secret during the summer free-
      agent frenzy that the table was set for Yashin to succeed.

      The table's been set for all of them, really. Now it's finally time
      to see who the hungry ones are.

      FORWARDS The New NHL is going to reward speed and skill, and the
      Isles have plenty up front. Should the league continue to outlaw
      clutching and grabbing, the forwards will flourish.

      Jason Blake should continue to improve, Yashin will only get better
      playing with a sniper like Miroslav Satan and Mark Parrish should
      have more room to operate in front of the net.

      Trent Hunter is hoping to pick up where he left off before the
      lockout when he was a Calder finalist for rookie of the year. Mike
      York is a smart, two-way contributor with more skill than Peca, whom
      he was traded for.

      Oleg Kvasha returns at center less of an enigma, and Shawn Bates
      needs to stay healthy. Up front, homegrown youngsters like Robert
      Nilsson, Sean Bergenheim and Mattias Weinhandl will see significant

      DEFENSE No unit was hit harder by the lockout and free agency than
      the Isles, who lost three studs in Adrian Aucoin (Chicago), Roman
      Hamrlik (Calgary) and Kenny Jonsson (retirement).

      Alexei Zhitnik is a 10-year pro who can anchor the rear guard, Janne
      Niinimaa will thrive throwing passes without a red line and Brent
      Sopel is on the verge of a breakout season.

      Brad Lukowich provides leadership and Cup experience. Radek Martinek,
      Chris Campoli and Tomi Pettinen will round out the group.


      Rick DiPietro could be on the cusp of stardom, and the Isles will go
      as far as he takes them. Young, confident and capable, DiPietro is
      ready to be the face of the franchise.

      In Garth Snow, Isles have one of the more dependable tandems in the

      COACHING Steve Stirling returns for his second season behind the
      bench and has the ability to get their attention and scold when

      A patient teacher, Stirling will be assisted by Dan Bylsma, Brad Shaw
      and Jack Capuano, who have all brought energy from the first day of

      PREDICTION Once again, the Islanders have the potential to go deep
      into the playoffs. They take the ice with a new leadership core, a
      new attitude and loads of skill in the New NHL.

      If they play for each other and capitalize on the new rules, the
      Islanders will finish no worse than fourth in the Eastern Conference.
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