*After opening the season with a home-and-home sweep of the Sabres, the Isles have now lost three of their last four, a span in which they have managed to score just five times.
*Wade Dubielewicz was shelled by the Maple Leafs Wednesday, allowing all eight goals in an 8-1 blowout. The first-year full-time backup received little help from the Isles defensemen, but certainly didn't do anything to rectify the situation. Regardless, he shouldn't have been left in the net for that long. Don't expect Dubie back in goal for the foreseeable future.
*Bad news for fantasy players who were counting on a strong performance in the early-going from Marc-Andre Bergeron. Bergeron was scratched in the Philly game and recent signee Bryan Berard took his place in a pairing with Andy Sutton. Bergeron has been a disaster in his own end this year. But, he's not known for his defense (in fact he is known for his poor defensive ability) and can certainly be useful as a PP specialist. However, dressing seven defensemen causes a short bench for the forward units and confusion ensues.
*Jeff Tambellini had his fleeting opportunity on the second line, but was quickly demoted. Sean Bergenheim was then promoted to his spot, and has filled in nicely.
*Chris Simon returned to game action against the Flyers and picked up where he left off, dropping the gloves with Riley Cote. Simon can be a rewarding pickup in a league that credits PIMs. He's also proven to occasionally chip in on the offense.
*In an effort to jump-start the offense, Ted Nolan has broken up the top line for the first time since camp broke. Bill Guerin will be swapped with Trent Hunter, who has just two points (1-1=2,-3) in six games. Nolan's logic here is questionable. Besides breaking up the only line that gave the Isles any hope so far this season, he is also disassembling the most consistent line from last season. Time will tell if his instincts are warranted.
*The player who really needs to step it up is Miroslav Satan (0-1=1,-3), whose line is the only one that won't be altered for Thursday's game. The Bergenheim-Vasicek-Satan unit was clearly the best the team had to offer in Philly Saturday. Josef Vasicek scored the loan goal that night.
*Shawn Bates is rumored to be making his season debut Thursday. If so, expect Darryl Bootland to be scratched or demoted and a fourth line of Simon-Park-Bates.
Extras: Bergeron, Johnson
On the mend:
*F Shawn Bates (groin/hernia) has resumed skating and is expected to return soon.
*F Jon Sim (knee) is out for the season.
Thu. 10/18 @ Washington
Sat. 10/20 vs. New Jersey
Sat. 10/27 vs. Carolina
Thu. 11/1 vs. Tampa Bay
Sat. 11/3 vs. Pittsburgh
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