York, Islanders skate past slumping Devils

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- If the U.S. Olympic hockey team is
looking for another player from the New York Islanders, Mike York
is ready to go to Italy.

York had a goal and two assists Wednesday night, and American
Olympian Jason Blake scored in his return from a concussion to lift
the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils and their
Canadian Olympian, goalie Martin Brodeur.

Blake, Mark Parrish and goalie Rick DiPietro were picked this
week to go to the Turin Games in February. York, a U.S. player in
past international events, will stay home and root.

"I've been fortunate to have been in the world championships
and three juniors," he said. "It's well deserved for those

Blake missed two games after a scary crash into the boards eight
days earlier, but the U.S. Olympic forward had New York's first two
shots against Brodeur and put the Islanders ahead less than three
minutes into the game.

He was already telling coach Steve Stirling last Sunday that he
was ready to return. But he was held out by doctors.

"I think he was excited to be back," Stirling said. "No, I'm
not surprised he did what he did."

York also scored unassisted in the second period to snap a 1-1
tie, and Trent Hunter had two goals in the third period -- the only
ones in the game not netted by a U.S. player.

"I think he wants to be American," York said.

That spoiled things for Brodeur, who earlier Wednesday was
chosen to the Canadian Olympic team for the third time. It also
handed Lou Lamoriello, the Devils general manager-turned-interim
coach, his first NHL regular-season loss. His only win came Tuesday
when New Jersey beat the New York Rangers in Lamoriello's debut. He
replaced Larry Robinson, who stepped down Monday.

"We're just worried about what we do on the ice," Brodeur
said. "Whoever runs the ship will surely be a good fit for us."

New Jersey, which gave up one goal in 10 short-handed
situations, has lost seven of nine. The Islanders passed them into
third place in the Atlantic Division.

"Losing a game like tonight is a killer," Brodeur said.
"These are four-point games. We have six games left against these
guys. Who knows, those points might determine a playoff spot."

DiPietro, who likely will get the bulk of the Olympic work for
the United States, made 25 saves. DiPietro was pulled in New York's
9-6 loss to Toronto on Monday after allowing six goals.

Zach Parise got the Devils even at 1 in the second period, off
an assist by another U.S. Olympian, Brian Gionta, just 22 seconds
before York restored the Islanders' lead. Yet another American,
Paul Martin, scored a rare power-play goal for New Jersey to make
it 3-2 at 9:52 of the third.

It was just the fourth man-advantage goal in 88 chances for the
Devils over 13 games.

Parise and Martin were invited to the U.S. Olympic camp in
September, but didn't get picked for the team.

Hunter made it 4-2 with 5:09 remaining.

York scored after New Jersey defenseman Colin White and forward
Erik Rasmussen failed to clear the puck away from in front of the

Brodeur covered for his shaky teammates as best he could. He
made 27 saves -- several that took an Olympic effort to keep out.

Parrish was happy to see the American offensive firepower on
both sides.

"Hopefully that's how it will look for us in the tournament,
too," he said.

DiPietro was especially good in the second period. New Jersey
had nine shots and three power-play chances in each of the first
two periods.

Blake took advantage of Sean Brown's miscue less than three
minutes in and turned it into his 14th goal of the season.

Brown skated unimpeded and without pressure in front of the New
Jersey goal when he started to lose control of the puck. As Brown
gathered himself, Blake sensed the defenseman's unsteadiness and
raced in to steal the puck off his stick.

Blake was all alone with Brodeur and ripped the puck in over the
goalie's left pad.

Brown fumbled another puck by the right post and almost put it
past his goalie, showing flashes of why he came in as a
Devils-worst minus-11.

"You'd like to have a couple of those a year," Stirling said.
"You don't usually get any of those at this level."

Game notes
New Jersey was 1-for-8 on the power play after going
0-for-11 on Tuesday. ... Stirling led Providence College to the
1985 NCAA final after being hired by Lamoriello, then the school's
athletic director.