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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Stirling explains that top prospect has to play

Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim has been sent to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League in an effort to get him playing time crucial for a prospect of his caliber.

"We batted it around for a few days," head coach Steve Stirling said after practice today, referring to discussions with GM Mike Milbury. "We looked at it that Bergie was our 13th forward for the Buffalo game. Then we don't play until Saturday. Sean is so close. We know we can count on him. But the last thing this organization wants to do is have someone as important as Bergie not playing. Prospects need to play. He'll get plenty of icetime this week and I'm sure we'll see him soon."

Asked how Bergenheim took the news, Stirling was blunt. "Disappointed," he said. "Very disappointed. But you know what? I don't blame him. If Bergie wasn't disappointed about the news I gave him, then I would have been disappointed in him. He's a passionate kid with a great head on his shoulders. He'll be fine."

Arron Asham (rib injury) skated on his own before the team took the ice at Islanders Iceworks this morning. Asham is scheduled to practice with the Islanders tomorrow at the Coliseum and then will be re-evaluated... In discussing D pairings with the media today after practice, Stirling seemed to imply that both Tomi Pettinen and Chris Campoli could be in the lineup in Buffalo, for one night leaving Radek Matinek as the odd man out. Today, Pettinen played with Janne Niinimaa, Campoli with Brad Lukowich and Alexei Zhitnik with Brent Sopel...

For the second straight day, Robert Nilsson was back with Alexei Yashin and Miroslav Satan. The trio looks to be a go for Wednesday.

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