It never fails, every time that I either purchase a jersey or actually make good on a promise to speak more in the locker room – a player is either traded or gets waived. Such is this case this time – only it involves two games worth of locker room quotes from soon to be ex-Isle(d) Jon Sim, instead of owning a players authentic jersey that I likely will not ever wear again.
As I wrote earlier today, veteran winger Jon Sim has found himself exposed to the waiver wire for the second time this season. This, despite the fact that he has been on somewhat of a tear as of late – Sim has seven points in the last six games (4g-3a-7pts).
Greg Logan writes:
Coming one day ahead of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline, the move is like an invitation to any team in need of a hard-working winger with some grit and scoring touch to add it without giving up anything but salary.
Despite 14 healthy scratches and ice time limited to just over 12 minutes a game, Sim has nine goals to rank eighth on the team. Some might read the move as symptomatic of an attempt to purge the locker room of unhappy veterans.
Talking to Jon Sim two times in the last week – I really did not see that Sim was unhappy having heard him say things like “Thinking positively”, “Positive energy”, “Fun to play here right now”, and “Being patient and professional”. More sensationalism? Perhaps, it really wouldn’t be as fun to read how Jon Sim seems to have turned his game around as of late, likes the Islanders and yet somehow finds himself on the outside looking in on an Islanders rebuild. Here is what Sim told me about his recent pickup in play when I asked him what he has done different with his game (pertaining to scoring 3 times in four games) after the home shutout of New Jersey last Saturday:
I think I’m just playing hard ya know? Playing the way that I can play and playing harder. Not trying to make the big plays, but looking to make the smart little plays instead.
Looking back to early last season, the first in his three year contract paying him $1-million in each year – it really shows that a knee injury can have an effect on a player far beyond the projected period of healing and rehabilitation suggested (prognosis not good on DiPietro – eh?). I asked Sim if at this point of the season, he felt that he was physically back at the top of his game like he was prior to the season ending knee injury early last season. Sim paused and then told me:
Yea, I thought I was pretty much all year. I have been working hard and trying to play hard. Obviously the year off wasn’t the best – but I have been trying to work hard and improve [my game] every day.
It was really beginning to show too, chalk it up to playing with fresh, young faces in the NHL the likes of Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Franz Nielsen and last night Jesse Joensuu whom Sim assisted on his first NHL goal. As Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean blared in the background of the Islanders locker room (An ode to their Captain Billy, perhaps?) following another home win, this time over Ryan Smyth’s Colorado Avalanche, I got to speak with Sim again – but this time asked him about the chemistry he and new Islander forward Dean MacAmmond seem to have and if playing with a new teammate and veteran like Dean has helped with his inspired play. Sim smiled and laughed then told me:
Yea, I mean I was working hard when Dean-o came in, we kind of play off each other. He’s fun to play with – he works really hard and that’s a big thing.
I wanted to follow up with some positives on MacAmmond so I asked Sim if his game made it easier to be effective out on the ice. I mentioned that Dean is such a strong skater and gets into the zone relatively quickly and unimpeded that it was sure to do exactly that. With another laugh Sim told us that “Yea, he’s got young lets and a young face”. We all shared a laugh and Greg Logan said he thought MacAmmond looked like Matt Damon. After another round of laughter – Sim looked at us and said “He looks more like Mcauley Culkin!”
Really Jon, really? Hopefully Dean doesn’t read blogs – but I may have to mention this to him on Thursday, that is – if either of these players are still around.
Note: For those wondering the origins of this very strange photo of Jon Sim holding what appears to be Jon Sim chocolate lolipops…. please head over to Chocoversity. Apparently this company can print any image on chocolate and they recently hooked up with the NHL. For more images, check out their gallery – apparently Mike Sillinger was there too!