As Monday's NHL deadline looms, rumors fly. Players duck.
"It's part of the business, really," said Islanders forward Rob Schremp, willing to address the phenomenon of unverified gossip that lurks in various receptacles of guesswork. "You just don't pay attention, really. There's nothing you can do about it. You don't have a say in it, so it's nothing you even think about. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, and if not, it's not. You just go about your business."
The Islanders' business has brought a new team cohesiveness and improving results on the ice; going into Saturday night's home game against the Washington Capitals, they have picked up 13 points in their last nine games and are 8-4-1 this month. But that doesn't take away the trade deadline, which is enough to make any soul jittery, to realize he suddenly could be part of a rapidly changing map.
"You learn to deal with it," Schremp said. "Playing major juniors in Canada, that was always part of it, too. I mean, you hear rumors; you hear your buddies are going to be traded. And back then, when you're a teenager, you're kind of like devastated, because you think you're just a bunch of friends playing hockey. But the reality is, at any moment, somebody could be moved."
Islanders general manager Garth Snow and coach Jack Capuano experienced trades during their playing careers. Schremp thought of how defenseman James Wisniewski was his teammate on Dec. 27 and playing in a Montreal uniform three nights later, "having to pick up everything and get settled there."
Schremp, 24 and single, acknowledged that it might be a "little easier" for him than a married parent to relocate. But it's best, he said, to pay no attention to any scuttlebutt. Yet "sometimes my buddies text me: 'I hear you're going here or there.' It's like, 'Where'd you hear that?' They'll text you like they have the inside scoop, like they know what's going on.
"I just laugh."
Not that it's really funny.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders did not practice Friday. The only players skating at IceWorks were call-up defenseman Mark Katic, suspended forward Trevor Gillies, backup goalie Nathan Lawson, injured reserve players Doug Weight and Mark Streit and forward Matt Martin.