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ISLANDERS REPORT: GAME DAY IN OTTAWA

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
1:30 P.M. - Konopka Talks Crosby-Niskanen Fight


There’s quite a buzz around the National Hockey League today. Everyone seems to be talking about Penguins all-star center Sidney Crosby, who dropped the gloves in Dallas with Matt Niskanen of the Stars on Wednesday night. Immediately following the faceoff after Brendan Morrow took down Kris Letang, Crosby went in for a little retaliation.

Crosby isn’t known for being tough. He’s known for his skill and as someone who can score points. He’s also one of the major reasons the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009. Following the morning meeting with head coach Scott Gordon, Islanders tough guy Zenon Konopka spoke about the incident, which he had watched on video.

“I thought it was great,” Konopka said. A great compliment coming from the guy that led the entire League in fights and penalty minutes last season. “I thought his interview after was great too. (Crosby) stood up for his teammate, and that’s a good Canadian boy stepping up for his teammate and (being) a good leader. A guy like me understood it, and I think most people understood that at the end of the day in the dressing room, guys are going to follow him a little more because of something like that.”

Konopka also spoke a little bit about what it’s like to be a leader inside the locker room. Noting that good leaders demonstrate a variety of different characteristics.

“I think the leaders in the dressing room have to raise the bar and have to be better than the rest,” Konopka said. “That’s risk vs. reward. Obviously you don’t want to see an injury, but you’ve got to step up your game, and you’ve got to influence your players and do whatever it takes to do that.”

While Konopka thought Crosby’s fight was honorable, he said he wouldn’t be too eager to have Islanders center John Tavares do the same thing.

“Well obviously you want yourself in there, but it’s something that (depends on) who he’s matched up with,” Konopka said. “If he’s matched up with the wrong guy, I might jump the bench and take my suspension and get in there. So you know, obviously I think Crosby was all right in this fight and was with a competitor. If he was fighting (Krystofer) Barch on Dallas, then it’s a different story, but it’s something that sends a message. At the end of the day, it’s not about winning or losing that fight. It’s about showing up.”

Gordon said there is a fear involved when seeing your star drop the gloves.

“I think more than losing the five minutes, (the fear) is losing them beyond that because they can break a knuckle on a helmet or they’re not accustomed to fighting and the next thing they’re out for two or three weeks if not worse,” Gordon said. “They could hit their head on the ice or something like that. It’s not the ideal situation, but sometimes those players just want to make a statement and say you know, I’m not going to tolerate what you’re doing to me and this is my message to you.”



10:00 A.M. - Starting Goaltender

Tonight is the second game of back-to-back roadies so there will not be a morning skate at the Scotiabank Place. Instead, Isles head coach Scott Gordon will hold a morning meeting.

On Tuesday, Gordon announced that each of the Islanders goaltenders would get a start in these back-to-back road games. Since Rick DiPietro started in Raleigh, Dwayne Roloson will get the nod tonight in Ottawa.
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