UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Ruslan Fedotenko spent only one winter on Long Island and pulled on a New York Islanders sweater just 67 times, so it's not as if his roots run deep in this part of the world.
Even so, Fedotenko made some good friends during his time in New York, and stays in touch with former teammates such as Sean Bergenheim and Bruno Gervais.
Still, Fedotenko hasn't paid much attention lately to how his old team has fared. Not so much because he isn't interested, but because he has more pressing concerns as he prepares for the Penguins' game against the Islanders today at Nassau Coliseum.
Matchup: Penguins at New York Islanders, 2:08 p.m. today, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.
TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh; WXDX-FM (105.9).
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Yann Danis for Islanders.
Penguins: Are 3-0 against Islanders, including two victories on Long Island. ... LW Pascal Dupuis does not have a goal in 13 games. ... Own 16-20 record in games decided by one or two goals.
Islanders: Have gone 3-0-1 in past four games at Coliseum. ... RW Richard Park has scored just two of his 10 goals on home ice. ... Lead NHL with 953 blocked shots.
Hidden stat: Islanders are 1-12-2 against Atlantic Division opponents after going 15-15-2 last season.
Like how his current club is trying to scramble back into a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
"We have our problems," he said, "so I haven't really followed [the Islanders] too much."
Fedotenko missed 15 games because of a broken right hand before returning for the Penguins' 6-2 loss Saturday in Toronto.
He spent much of that game on a line with Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy -- filling a spot usually taken by Pascal Dupuis -- and was there again yesterday, when the Penguins worked out at the Islanders' practice facility in nearby Syosset.
The Islanders have lost more than 360 man-games to injuries and illness -- OK, only five of those were to illness -- and some of New York's most important players have spent significant time in the training room this season.
The latest is center Doug Weight, who sprained his knee last week and is expected to miss about six weeks.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said yesterday that he never has been associated with a team that lost so many man-games, and that "I don't anticipate that it's going to happen again."
He added that the Islanders entered the season with some "pre-existing injuries that never righted themselves" and "that it's just been a constant battle to maintain a consistent lineup."
Losing Weight might not have much of an impact on how the Islanders' season plays out -- they've been all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for quite a while -- but it could end up costing them, regardless.
That's because Weight, who is in his 17th NHL season, was expected to be auctioned off to the highest bidder before the March 4 trade deadline, and could have netted a prospect and/or draft choice for New York.
The Penguins have some decided advantages over the Islanders in a lot of ways -- overall talent, for starters -- but precedent suggests the 2:08 p.m. starting time today might be a great equalizer.
The Penguins are 1-6 this season in games that begin at 3:08 p.m. or earlier. Their only victory, 3-0 against the New York Rangers, came Jan. 18 at Mellon Arena.
"Everyone prepares differently," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "You have to take it upon yourself to make sure you're ready for the game. It's definitely something that's bugged us, and something that we've harped on going into the last couple of afternoon games."
The bad news is that the Penguins have at least seven afternoon games remaining, including two this weekend at Philadelphia and Washington. That number could increase if NBC exercises its option to change the starting time on some games so they can be televised to a regional or national audience.
With Rick DiPietro, the Islanders' franchise goalie, out for the season because of injury, Joey MacDonald and Yann Danis have taken over his duties, but Gordon said he hasn't decided exactly how they'll be used.
"There's no rotation, or anything like that," he said. "It's going to be a 'feel' thing. ... A bad performance, or a mediocre performance, doesn't mean I wouldn't come back with a guy [in the next game]."
Danis played in the Islanders' 5-1 loss Saturday at Philadelphia, but Gordon wouldn't say whether he'd get the start today.