Rick DiPieto may not make the Eastern Conference All-Star team but his value to this club was never more evident than Tuesday night's shootout loss to Vancouver. DiPietro, as he did in the OT loss against the Avalanche, was the main reason the Isles were able to salvage a point, and on this tough Western swing, those points are big.
Forty-three saves against the Canucks, including 18 in the first period alone as Vancouver looked to run the Isles out of the building the way the Oilers jumped on them in the second period a night earlier. So credit D.P for keeping his team in the game and giving it a chance to come back, and also for battling in the six-round shootout.
Great goal by Bill Guerin, not only from the low angle but just making the play happen while the Canucks let up, thinking the play was off-sides. No whistle was blown, however, and the Isles caught a break again when Luongo mishandled a puck that Blake Comeau knocked home.
I received a comment on my post about the Lighthouse Cup, which is happening Monday, Jan. 21 at 5 p.m., after the game against the Hurricanes. The high-school All-Star game matches Suffolk against Nassau.
The anonymous poster claimed that the Suffolk team was being broken up because 22 of the 25 players on the roster had a conflict between their travel hockey games and an exhibition game Saturday Jan. 12 upstate against the Hudson Valley All-Stars. The poster said that the players were told that they would be off the team if they didn't play in the exhibition game.
An extremely reliable source tells me that, after 'an enormous amount of complaints,' a compromise was reached. Suffolk will play Hudson Valley in the first game of the home-and-home all-star games Friday Jan. 11 at 8:20 p.m. at the Rinx. A second all-star team will play the game at Hudson Valley Saturday, allowing players on the original all-star team to play in their travel games. The original team will also play against Nassau on Jan. 21.
So if you want a sneak preview of the Suffolk team that will take the ice in the Lighthouse Cup, and if you want to see two outstanding young teams, be at the Rinx tomorrow night at 8:20 p.m., and we'll see you at the Lighthouse Cup as well.