A few quick hits as the Islanders Ice Girls go through their final paces on the Coliseum ice below (please resist snickering):
The Kasparaitis move, as impressive a shape as he arrived at camp in, hardly comes as a surprise. As Tom Renney said just now, it was evident through the early scrimmages and in the preseason opener Friday that his game was not where it’s been in years past. And with the Rangers enjoying more depth at defense, the veteran was a necessary casualty.
“We’re trying to help him,” Renney said. “I don’t see Kaspar playing hockey for us, and we’ll do everything we can to help him play somewhere else. And if not, he’ll go to Hartford, and in the kind of condition he’s in, and the mental approach he’s taken, you never know.”
I asked Renney if he still thought Kasparaitis could play at the NHL level, and the coach said he believed he could. Bear in mind it’s in the Rangers’ best interest to have another team pick him up off waivers, so it wouldn’t make sense for the coach to elaborate on all of Kasparaitis’ deficiencies. But the answer merits passing on.
“I think he’s a terrific competitor,” Renney said. “He has leadership qualities. I believe in a simplified game with the right partner, he could definitely play. But I believe strongly that we have more depth than we’ve had in a long time and that cost Kaspar an opportunity here.”
Of course, whether that’s enough for a team to take on a nearly $3 million cap hit is another story. If Kasparaitis clears waivers, he’ll head back to Hartford and will again play for the Wolf Pack.
When I explained that Simon had already played for the Islanders this preseason, Hollweg barely looked up as he prepared his stick.
“Whatever happened happened,” he said. “It’s behind me. It’s not going to change how I do anything.”
For the record, the two players still haven’t spoken since Simon’s vicious slash of Hollweg here last March.
OK, that’s all for now. More in a bit…