Rick DiPietro arrived in full Rick DiPietro style, stopping pucks, ticked off when he didn’t, returning right back to stopping them again. Shot a puck the length of the ice into the goal (all the more impressive because Scott Munroe, his attention focused on the drill going on to his right, was in that net). Even jabbed a little in the interview, which was nice to see.
The question, then, is does he go tomorrow? Well, word from the Island at about 6:15 tonight was “yes he will.” What follows is an early draft, then. The hints have broadly pointed “yes” during the week, but everyone tossed a note of caution into that today. DiPietro said he didn’t know yet. Jack Capuano said it would depend on what DiPietro and Mike Dunham told him. That might take until tomorrow’s morning skate.
At any rate, No. 29′s back in town.
No specifics yet on Reich, but Greg Moore was back in practice in his usual spot in the lineup.
Scary stuff in Albany last night, where Adirondack’s Patrick Maroon was taken off on a stretcher after a four-on-one scrum left him knocked out on the ice; he is reportedly out of the hospital today. Nicolas Blanchard got an elbowing major for charging in from behind Maroon, the impact that put Maroon on the ground; he’s suspended indefinitely.
The Rats won the rematch today.
Max Gratchev: ECHL all-star.
USA-Canada tonight, by which time I’ll hopefully be safely tucked away somewhere, avoiding the snow and ice and amateurs. Hope you all have fun.
Farewell, then, to 2009. Weird year. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m getting older, or if the world really is getting messier, but each Dec. 31 feels more foreboding than the last. We’ll see.
We said hello to Jordan Hart, Tobias Stephan, Kris Mayotte, Jon Sim, Robin Figren, Max Gratchev, Kevin Poulin, Ryan Duncan, Mark Katic, Justin DiBenedetto, Mike Schroeder, Matt Broyles, John Tavares, Mikko Koskinen, Tony Romano, Dwayne Roloson, Scott Munroe, Jeremy Reich, Brett Westgarth, Greg Mauldin, Mark Flood, Matt Moulson, the Texas Stars, the Abbotsford Heat, Marty Biron, Bobby Hughes, Rick Cohen, Matt Martin, Jan Piskacek (sort of), Trevor Gillies, Anton Klementyev and Victor Bartley.
We said goodbye to the likes of John Sullo, Joe Franke, Brett Skinner, Michel Therrien, the Philadelphia Phantoms (and the Spectrum), Corey Witt, Kurtis McLean, Jeremy Colliton, Jamie Fraser, Peter Mannino, Jason Pitton, Chris Lee, Dennis Packard, Mike Iggulden, Joe Callahan, Dennis Packard, Andy Hilbert and Rob Hennigar, and sent Kimber Auerbach to the Show.
We said both to Junior Lessard. We said hello again and goodbye again to Wade Dubielewicz in the span of about 26 hours.
And for a few days in December and again at the end of the month here, we said hello again to Rick DiPietro. And some of us said other things to him.
We said goodbye and good luck to people like Kevyn Adams, Rob Shick, Gary Roberts, Don Koharski, Brian Kilrea, Bobby Holik, Derian Hatcher, Kenny Jonsson, Mike Sillinger, Jason Smith, Philippe Boucher, Marc Denis, Bret Hedican, Mats Sundin, Brendan Shanahan, Darren McCarty and Jeremy Roenick. For a strictly hockey version of the Doug Gilmour Memorial “I Retire No Wait I Don’t Do I?” Award, I guess you look to Sweden and Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund, though they’re playing for fairly noble reasons; maybe exec-turned-referee Stephen Walkom. (The overall winner, clinching it in the span of about 12 hours? Urban Meyer. Which pains me, because it was going to be Floyd Mayweather, and I called that last year.)
We said hi again to Sean Avery, to Glens Falls in the AHL. And we kind of said hi to Greg Moore, but we pretty much knew him already.
The hockey world lost people like Roy Boe, Nathan Marsters, Colleen Howe, Alf Pike, Bill Davidson, Walt Poddubny, Jan MacDonald, Clint Smith, Robert Mueller, Peter Zezel, Bob Lawrence, Reggie Fleming, Herb Hammond, Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, Fred Cusick, Bill Chadwick, Abe Pollin, Whitey Piurek, George Michael and Vin DeMaio, among many others.
The Sound Tigers got themselves back in the playoffs. Elmo made it contentious. Then Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made it short-lived. (The Penguins’ power play did most of that, actually.) Tip of caps to Pittsburgh and Hershey, and to runners-up Detroit and Winnipeg. The Sound Tigers evoked the Islanders’ dynasty with the new sweaters. It’s up to them to make it look like it on the ice.
If I’ve counted right, Trevor Smith wins the annual scoring crown at 22-27-49 in 78 games. Not that far behind: Sean Bentivoglio (20-22-42 while playing all 83 games) and Jesse Joensuu (14-27-41 in 71). A quick count had Ben Walter at 33 points in the second half of last season.
However we communicated, hope you enjoyed it, or at least were informed a little at times. Let’s hope 2010 is even better. Happy and healthy to you and yours.