Yashin moved to left wing in line experiment
BY ALAN HAHN
November 1, 2005
Going against the conventional wisdom that one shouldn't fix
something that isn't broken, coach Steve Stirling has tinkered with
the one part of the Islanders that hasn't been struggling.
In an experiment under consideration since the 2003-04 season, the
Islanders will play a line tonight against the Bruins at Nassau
Coliseum with Alexei Yashin, the team's leading scorer, moved to left
wing from center, where he will be replaced by Oleg Kvasha. Miroslav
Satan will remain on the right.
Stirling said the move is to free up Yashin from the center's usual
responsibility of working deep in the defensive zone. Also, by moving
him to left wing, where he is higher in the defensive zone, Stirling
said, "it gets him 60 feet closer to the other end and he's at his
best, to me, coming through the neutral zone and going into the
offensive zone when he's got the puck."
Yashin leads the Islanders with 15 points in 11 games, which is
eighth in the NHL, and has seven goals. Though he's been a center his
entire NHL career, Yashin agreed to the move after he spent last
season playing left wing next to Toronto's Nik Antropov in the
"We'll see how it feels," he said. "I feel like it will give more
freedom to do more offensive stuff. But I have to taste it and see if
it will work ... Maybe it gives me more opportunity to be more
Thus far, Yashin and Satan (team-leading eight goals) have been an
effective line with Arron Asham, who has been moved to a line with
Petteri Nokelainen and Mattias Weinhandl. Other changes include Mike
York centering Robert Nilsson and Mark Parrish (expected to play
tonight), and Shawn Bates centering Jason Blake and Trent Hunter.
Stirling said he hopes the line-juggling stops now. "The goal is to
get the lines intact and not worry about them," he said.
DiPietro out tonight. Goalie Rick DiPietro missed a second day of
practice yesterday with a right knee sprain and is not expected to
play tonight. Garth Snow is expected to start and Wade Dubielewicz,
recalled yesterday from Bridgeport, will be his backup. DiPietro, who
experienced swelling in the knee after he was pulled during
Saturday's 6-4 loss to Buffalo, could be back by Thursday's game
against the Penguins.
Bruins at Islanders
Radio: WBBR (1130)
Yashin goes left of center
BY PETER BOTTE
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Just when Alexei Yashin finally is producing like a No. 1 center
again, the Islanders are moving their captain out of the middle.
Yashin, who leads the Isles with 15 points in 11 games entering
tonight's home match against Boston, skated on the left wing
yesterday, with Oleg Kvasha taking his fellow Russian's spot as the
center on the team's first line.
"As long as we win hockey games, I'm willing to play any position on
the ice," Yashin said after practice in Syosset. "I don't think it's
a big deal, especially with the new rules. ... I feel this will give
me more freedom to do even more offensive stuff."
Steve Stirling said he and Yashin often have spoken about making the
switch, which the coach expects will lessen the defensive burden on
his star. Yashin said he manned the wing almost exclusively while
playing in Russia during the lockout.
Miroslav Satan, the scoring winger the Isles obtained last summer to
complement Yashin, remains on the right side on the top unit, where
he has eight goals, but Stirling also has juggled his other lines.
Mike York skated between rookie Robert Nilsson and Mark Parrish, who
will return tonight after missing four games with a hip injury. Shawn
Bates took York's spot between second-liners Trent Hunter and Jason
NOT SO SWELL: Garth Snow will be in goal because Rick DiPietro, who
was yanked after giving up three goals on 12 shots Saturday against
Buffalo, has sat out the last two days of practice with swelling
around his right knee. A team spokesman said DiPietro is expected to
be cleared to play in time for Thursday's home game against
Pittsburgh. Wade Dubielewicz was recalled from Bridgeport.