The Islanders are going to unveil their third jersey on Monday. First to see it will be the members of the Islanders Business Club who attend the meeting scheduled that evening before the Isles meet the Rangers for the first time this season at the Coliseum. Then, the jersey will be displayed for fans during the course of that game.
The first time the Islanders actually wear their new uniforms will be on Saturday, Nov. 1 against Montreal. They will wear them at all subsequent Saturday home games. Including the Canadiens game, there are 13 such dates.
I happened to see the helmet yesterday, and it’s a switch back to the traditional royal blue of the classic Islanders jersey. In the past, I heard the third jersey would be the same as the ones the team wore two seasons ago that had orange numbers. But that might not be the case. The Isles might go all the way back to their roots to wear the original blue jersey with white numerals. That was the “road” jersey way back when. But we’ll have to wait a couple days to find out for sure.
Sean Avery has been acting up
When Dallas visits tonight, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro no doubt will get reacquainted with old nemesis Sean Avery, who was rejected by the Rangers and left to sign as a free agent with the Stars. So far on this three-game swing through the metropolitan area, Avery has tried to mess with Rangers goaltenders Steve Valiquette (in warmups) and Henrik Lundqvist (during the game) and Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who not only moved him out of the crease a couple times but recorded a 5-0 shutout.
Avery caused a stir in the playoffs last season by facing Brodeur and waving his arms to distract the goaltender, a cheap move that since has been ruled illegal by the NHL. Of course, Islanders fans vilified Avery two seasons ago when he jumped on DiPietro’s head as the goaltender dove on the ice to cover up a loose puck. That resulted in DiPietro’s second concussion in two weeks that season and put him out until the second game of the playoffs. It also is one of the main reasons the Islanders don’t reveal exact injuries.
Asked what he would do if Avery were waving his arms in front of the net, Isles coach Scott Gordon, a former goaltender, said: “At the time, there was no rule against it. That was done in the IHL. Because it was the IHL, it didn’t draw as much attention. All you can do is present it to the referee. As it played out, they thought it wasn’t appropriate. You don’t see as much hacking and whacking by the goaltender now, and the defensemen used to have the ability to clear a guy out and make him pay a price. The NHL took steps to make sure you’re not abusing the situation.”
If it weren’t so costly, it would be fun to see DiPietro take a poke at Avery. A couple years ago, DP was brave enough to throw punches in practice at teammate Arron Asham, a legitimate enforcer. But Gordon naturally wants his goaltender to stay focused on the game.
“The best retribution is winning the game,” Gordon said. “With Ricky getting back in there and having a good game Saturday, I’m sure he wants to play hockey and not worry about the other stuff. Going into it, I think his focus will be on the game against Dallas and not just one player.”
Sim trading places?
Gordon benched left wing Jon Sim for all but one shift in the third period of Saturday’s 2-0 loss in Florida, and Sean Bergenheim since has moved up from the fourth line to skate with center Doug Weight and right wing Bill Guerin on the top line in practice. But Gordon cautioned yesterday not to read too much into that move at this point.
“That’s subject to change,” Gordon said. “Nothing is written in stone there. We could very well have someone else there before the game or during the game. Right now, I’m comfortable with Dougie and Billy playing together, and I think they’re comfortable. It’s just finding the right guy, whether we find that with Bergy or something else, it’s part of the process. If it’s not working, it’s something we have to take a look at.”
Sim is supposed to be the Isles’ Avery-like pest and puck retriever with the occasional goal thrown in for good measure. But he’s off to a bit of a slow start (as are many of the forwards). He’s been skating on the fourth line, but he took the lineup change in stride.
“He’s the coach,” Sim said. “Obviously, we didn’t produce a whole lot in five games, so, he makes the decision to switch the lines. It’s something to change the momentum. He didn’t say my game is bad. It was just one of those things. There wasn’t a lot of chemistry that was building. Change might be good.”