Penguins Notebook: 7th suspension expected for Islander

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New York Islanders winger Chris Simon might know as much about being suspended as anyone in the National Hockey League. And he probably will be getting a refresher course soon.

The league office has not revealed when Simon will have a hearing for appearing to intentionally step on Penguins left winger Jarkko Ruutu late in the Penguins' 3-2 victory Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, but there certainly will be one after Simon received a match penalty for deliberate attempt to injure.

Neither Ruutu nor Simon would discuss the incident with reporters after the game.

If Simon is suspended, which seems certain, it will be the seventh time in his NHL career. On. Oct. 13, he completed a 25-game suspension issued for attacking New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg with his stick late last season.

Dinner bell

Connor James figured he had a pretty good idea of what was going on when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach Todd Richards phoned his hotel room in Glens Falls, N.Y., at about 11 a.m. Saturday.

"I kind of thought I was late for the team meal," James said.

Well, he was, sort of, but not for the meal he suspected.

Instead, James found out he was to report to Uniondale, N.Y., where he showed up hours after the Penguins had eaten before their victory against the Islanders.

He arrived about three hours before the game and accompanied the team back to Pittsburgh after logging seven minutes, 15 seconds of ice time against the Islanders and earning a positive review from coach Michel Therrien.

"I thought he was good," Therrien said.

James was summoned after the Penguins determined forward Erik Christensen (neck strain) and defenseman Sergei Gonchar (illness) would not be able to play against the Islanders. It was his third game in the NHL, and first since playing two for Los Angeles in 2005-06.

"Anytime it's your first game up, you're going to be a little nervous and tentative," he said. "Basically, you just don't want to screw up."

He didn't. Nor did he look out of place at the NHL level. How many more games he'll get before returning to Wilkes-Barre -- or whether he's a serious threat to stick on the NHL roster indefinitely -- isn't clear.

"I'm just going to try to make the most of this opportunity," he said. "They have guys coming back who were here ... who have earned their jobs here. But if I can make a good impression, hopefully they will keep me."

The proof

There were times during the Islanders game when it seemed as if almost every shot New York threw at Penguins goalie Dany Sabourin became an adventure, but he stopped 27 of 29 while coping with the lingering effects of a flu-like ailment.

"It was a good win for Dany Sabourin," Therrien said. "He deserved to win, with the way he played."

Sabourin, who spent the first two-plus months of the season as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup, is getting an opportunity to prove to management that he is a capable fill-in while Fleury recovers from a high ankle sprain.

And while the dynamics and pressures change when a goaltender moves into the No. 1 spot, there are obvious benefits to starting several times a week, which is something backups don't generally do.

"Sometimes, it's hard when you don't play a lot," Sabourin said. "When you get a couple of games, you get into a groove. Sometimes, it's easier [when you get a lot of work], but you have to prove yourself every game, every practice."


Dave Molinari can be reached at DWMolinari@Yahoo.com .


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