There's fantasy hockey, and then there's the real-life version going on in the offices of Garth Snow and Ted Nolan today and tomorrow.
It's time for the Islanders to get down to 20-23 players. Remember how you felt when your junior high coach posted the names of the players making your school team after you gave your all in tryouts? Not a laughing matter, right? Neither is this.
More than any season I can remember in the last decade, the hockey staff has major decisions to make on who's getting on the plane to Buffalo on Thursday and who isn't. There are at least 10 defensemen worthy of consideration for six, maybe seven, maybe eight jobs. At forward, the competition was stiffer than perhaps even Ted thought it was going to be. Throw in Chris Simon out for five more games and Shawn Bates not ready for action, and it gets even more complicated.
Of course, everyone will tell you this is a good problem to have, but that doesn't make it any easier when Garth and his staff have to make decisions that will affect the careers and lives of so many men.
The final roster will likely be announced around mid-day Tuesday. You may see some guesswork in the media and in blogville tonight, but that's all it will be.
Tomorrow is really no different than a day when you make a trade. You want to do it the right way. So as much as one might want to get a story out, information will not be made public until it is certain the information has been disseminated to the players first.
When it is, Jason Lockhart from our website team will hopefully remember to bring his laptop to practice and post the information first. I'm sure Logan will be itching to fire up his blog. And, this being 2007 and all, there's sure to be at least one fan who'll text message what he sees in Syosset tomorrow and get it up on a message board. That's the fun part.
The serious stuff is still going on.