Paul and Theresa Reinhart have a busy travel schedule the next few days: They will be in Buffalo Thursday night to see youngest son Sam, the No. 1 pick last June, make his NHL debut for the Sabres. The couple will also try to catch eldest son Max, a Flames prospect, in the season opener for the AHL Adirondack Flames in Glens Falls over the weekend.
In between, the Reinharts will fly down to Raleigh to see middle son Griffin make his NHL debut Friday for the Islanders. If Max, ticketed to start the season in the AHL, and Sam, ticketed to at least start the season with the Sabres, were relatively sure things, Griffin's NHL debut was not all that assured until the Isles set their 23-man roster by sending Ryan Pulock to Bridgeport and leaving Reinhart to almost certainly man the third defense pair along with Brian Strait.
"It was a different sort of camp," Griffin Reinhart said after yesterday's practice, the first full one with the 23-man roster intact. "I don't think anyone could have known we'd trade for [Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk] last week and that changed things around on 'D'. It's good for me, though, because it's good for the team."
Reinhart admitted he started off a bit slow when camp began and he was overtaken on the depth chart by Pulock, who was simply adapting to the NHL speed and pace easier. But Pulock's lower- body injury, along with injuries to Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, opened up the sixth spot for Reinhart.
"He's got a real high hockey IQ, but sometimes the sense of urgency doesn't look like it's there, even when it is," coach Jack Capuano said of Reinhart. "Griffin knows he has to use his size to impact the game and the only way to do that is to be quick and be physical at all times."
How long this NHL look lasts depends somewhat on the injury situation, but more on what the 20-year-old Reinhart can do in what should be relatively sheltered minutes.
"It was unfortunate for Ryan to get hurt, he was playing really well," Reinhart said, "but I'm also happy to be here and I want to go out and prove I belong here."