The diagnosis is in. Tough break (literally) for Tim Jackman, who will be out 3-4 weeks with a broken orbital bone resulting from multiple punches to the face by Ottawa's Matt Carkner Thursday night.
No surgery will be needed.
Islanders head into tonight with a 2-0 record against the Thrashers. Those two victories--a 6-3 win at home November 7 and a 4-1 victory in Atlanta December 3--are among some of the team's best performances to date.
"Atlanta is a team with a lot of talent and a really offensive-minded game," veteran Richard Park said. "We've been fortunate enough to capitalize on some opportunistic chances against them and that's been the difference."
Scott Gordon said the wins weren't so much poor performances from Atlanta's side, but rather superior efforts from his club.
"We've skated well against them and put pressure on their defensemen to make mistakes," Gordon said.
Sean Bergenheim (rib) who skated with the team this morning, is still a bit shy of being game-ready. Scott Gordon said he was told Bergenheim would play "maybe during the trip, or maybe after the trip."
Bergenheim said it's been tough to watch the team battle in the midst of playoff contention without being able to contribute, but that he wants to be smart and avoid returning too early and re-aggravating the injury.
"It won't help anyone if I come back before I'm ready and get hurt again," Bergenheim said.
Gordon said he was encouraged by the fact that rehabbing goaltender Rick DiPietro got through a full AHL game without any pain or setbacks.
"He had some pretty good work in the third period. It's good," Gordon said. "I thought going into that game that everything was going to be good for him. How he feels today and where we go from here, we'll see. But that's the first step, to get through a full game and he did it."
As far as the team's recent success on the penalty kill-- a perfect 13-for-13 over the past five games, Gordon said the team discussed how to be more efficient as a unit.
"One of the things we talked about is to pull back when there wasn't the opportunity to pressure hard," Gordon said. "We've identified when to be aggressive and how to be loose and anticipate plays from the front of the net with our defensemen. Staying out of the box helps too."
Richard Park said it was a simple adjustment, but one that has clearly made a large impact.
"You have to use your head. One thing that I think is never questioned about us is our work ethic. But when you don't combine that with intelligence, you can only go so far," said the always-insightful Park (who I also owe some gratitude for suggesting I try Kimchi stew.... I did so this weekend and it was unbelievable)
A day after the 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic team was unveiled, Scott Gordon weighed in on Kyle Okposo being passed over by the selection committee.
"For me, there are a lot of intangibles that Kyle brings that, even though he didn't score at the rate we would've expected, he definitely gave himself every opportunity to score. He was obviously just snakebitten."
"That to me was the difference as far as what might've separated him from other players. I told Kyle, he did everything possible. It wasn't like he shortchanged himself and didn't give himself every opportunity to score, he did. At the end of the day, he doesn't have to second-guess himself. He performed at a level certainly deserving of consideration. It's unfortunate for Kyle, but the did everything he should've."
Gordon, a Boston guy himself, said he watched the Winter Classic at Fenway Park yesterday and really enjoyed the event.
"It was great. Great game, great environment," Gordon said. "Certainly would be nice to have a Rangers-Islanders game in Yankee Stadium."