Midway through the Islanders skate, gritty fourth-line center Zenon Konopka took a moment to yell up at a TSN correspondent sitting in the stands:
"We're not a doormat anymore! Stop calling us a doormat!"
And while Konopka shouted the missive good-naturedly, he and fellow teammates were upset that a TSN personality called the Islanders a "perennial doormat" on their morning show Wednesday.
"Intimidation, humor, calculations, whatever it takes to get them to stop calling us a doormat," Konopka said after practice.
"We were just sitting there enjoying our morning coffee and yes, we take issue with being called a doormat. We have a good group of young guys that are making news like JT, Comeau, and Bailey who are working hard and playing well. So let's talk about us being a little underrated instead of a doormat."
Yes, the Islanders went through a horrendous stretch with only one win in 21 games, but they have also beaten top teams like Pittsburgh and Detroit in recent weeks as well, John Tavares pointed out.
"No one likes being called a doormat or being considered that at this level,"Tavares said. "We've done some really good things this year, we've beaten some good teams. We've held some good players in check. We've had our own success at many different stages. I don't think we're an easy team to play against."
-Although he practiced again today, Frans Nielsen (groin) will not play tonight. He'll remain on injured reserve until further notice.
-After a 48-save performance against Vancouver Tuesday night, rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin gets the nod again tonight against the Senators.
-- Rick DiPietro (groin) skated this morning on his own. Said Capuano: "We're not going to rush him, but he's feeling much better." When asked if he may play Saturday, Capuano gave a lukewarm "it's possible." Remember that both Capuano and general manager Garth Snow said earlier this week that DiPietro was expected to return at some point this week.
--Kyle Okposo skated again this morning one day after his first time practicing with the team Wednesday. Making progress, but still a couple of weeks away, he estimates. Newsday's Steve Marcus had the story yesterday.