Just saw Nate Thompson rushing to get his gear and catch a flight after being plucked off waivers by Tampa Bay this morning. Best of luck to Thompson, who was a hard-worker, great teammate and an awesome person.

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Defenseman Andy Sutton, who received a two-game suspension yesterday for his hit Tuesday on Pascal Dupuis, said it's been a bleak couple of days since the incident.

"It's been tough," said Sutton, who was distraught about injuring his former teammate. "I've known Pascal a long time and I consider him a friend. It's bad enough as it is, but that makes it even worse."

Sutton, who played with Dupuis in Minnesota and Atlanta, reached out to him several times after the incident. He received a text back last night that read: "It's ok, stop worrying!!!" so that has provided him some peace of mind.

Of the two-game suspension he received, Sutton said: "It's not my place to decide that."

Sutton also said he's confident that this group of defenseman can step it up in his absence.

"This is a great group of guys, a great group of players," Sutton said. "Whatever I have added, they can pick it up."

Scott Gordon said Sutton's size and presence will certainly be missed over the next two games.

"There aren't too many 6-6 defenseman who can skate and play the position. He's a big body and we haven't had a lot of size on D," Gordon said. "We'll miss him."

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Conversely, Dustin Kohn arrived this morning to replace Sutton in the lineup and seemed amped to play in his first career NHL game.

"Very excited," Kohn, 22,  said. "This is my first game and there's nothing better than this. I'm sure there will be some butterflies, too, but hopefully I get those out in the first shift."

So what does he want to show tonight?

"That I'm responsible in my own end and ready to help the team and contribute however I can," Kohn said.

He talked to good buddy Andrew MacDonald last night about what to expect and the pre-game jitters he might encounter.

"I talked to him yesterday and he said he was pretty nervous.  It's good that it was yesterday so that it can soak in," MacDonald said. "He'll settle in easily, because this is a great group of guys here."

Since MacDonald has played with him for a couple of years, he was kind enough to give us a scouting report.

"He's a great player. He uses his speed and is really fast. He's a good puck-moving defenseman and really smart," MacDonald said.

Said Gordon about the blue line's latest addition:

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"He's best when he keeps it simple and is a great skater," Gordon said. "The big thing is you don't want to have to use that speed chasing his own mistakes."

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Gordon deferred the questions about gritty fourth-line grinder Nate Thompson to the people in charge of administrative decisions, but said, "It was a move we had to make."

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Dwayne Roloson in net tonight. Scott Gordon said he gave Roloson and DiPietro the heads-up about their respective schedules from now until the Olympic break.

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Remember that DP got a shutout against New Jersey on Monday, so they'll hope he can have same success Saturday.

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I always love chatting with Josh Bailey's dad, Chris, so it was a great surprise to see him at the morning skate today. Chris came down Monday for a visit and is going to catch tonight's game against Florida before flying back tomorrow.

Always a great story-teller, Chris shared a good little anecdote with me today.

One day when Josh was in kindergarten he came home for lunch looking very upset. In class that day, Josh's teacher asked every kid to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. 

Of course, Josh drew a hockey player. He was then told by his teacher to choose something more realistic, since the chances of him turning pro were so slim. Josh didn't take that well and either did his dad, who marched his son back to the school and chastised the teacher for not encouraging kids to follow their dreams. Good thing he did.

Who's laughing now, Mrs. Cooper?

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Also, just a reminder: my weekly live chat will be today at 4 p.m. so stop on by for all of your burning Islanders questions.