Friday, January 4, 2008

DPad-gate ends; on Ryan Smyth

Got the call from Garth tonight around 7:30 that confirmed what TSN's Dreger posted about an hour earlier. When the Islanders landed in Denver, the GM spoke with Colin Campbell and learned Rick DiPietro's pads had been inspected, were approved and were being sent to Denver. Whether the pads make it to Colorado for the game Saturday night, we do not know. Whether Rick wears the new pads even if they arrive on time, we do not know. All we know is Rick is going to start Saturday and is probably going to play a lot of games this month. (That's the kind of great scoop you only get on NYI Point Blank!)

Radek Martinek could get in a game by the end of the trip. I sense this not by the condition of Radek's leg but by the smile on his face today. Marti's miserable when he's not playing hockey. He looked today at Iceworks like a man who knows he's coming back soon.

Sorry to hear about Ryan Smyth's injury that will keep him out almost two months. Regardless of anyone's view of him, this is a better league when he's playing in it.

My scouting report-style take on Ryan: good hockey player...great leader...was a future UFA when we got him, owed the Islanders nothing except his complete focus and best effort for the home stretch...delivered while making no lame promises or leaking messages to the press of his intentions...really liked Long Island, Ted, Garth, Charles, the team, the fans...seriously looked at staying but decided being back in the West was best for him and his family.

Less than an hour after the news broke that Ryan agreed to a deal with the Avalanche, his agent Don Meehan called me and said Ryan loved being an Islander and it was an excruciating decision for him. Don, who I know going back to Pat LaFontaine and Travis Green, volunteered to make that clear with anyone in the media who may have wanted to think otherwise.

I had never before received a call like that from the agent of a departing player. I'll leave the interpretation to you.

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