YARMOUTH TRAINING CAMP REPORT (Day 5)
The emphasis was on systems as the Islanders were back on the ice bright and early following last night's entertaining Intrasquad Game. The players went through a series of drills led by Assistant Coach Brad Shaw, who led the sessions instead of head coach Steve Stirling, who was forced to sit out today's session with the flu.
Group A had some new defensive pairings this morning. Alexei Zhitnik/Brad Lukowich, Janne Niniimaa/Brent Sopel, Tomi Pettinen/Radek Martinek and Bruno Gervais/Chris Campoli were the tandems, although they were often split again during drills. (See what we mean about not getting too caught up in lines and pairings too early in camp? We know, we're as guilty as anyone...)
Center Shawn Bates was penciled in to center a line of Justin Papineau and Sean Bergenheim, but missed today's practice with a hip flexor. Petteri Nokelainen (knee tendonitis) and Aaron Asham (rib sprain) sat out today. In Bates' absence, Wyatt Smith was moved up to Group A. All three injured players are listed as day-to-day.
Notes: The players were scheduled to take part in a Rum Running Event today but the event was cancelled due to Tropical Storm Ophelia which delivered heavy rain and wind gusts to Nova Scotia. Instead, all of the players in camp took 30- minute shifts signing autographs for fans at the Mariners ...The second Intrasquad Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Mariners Centre. We will have a complete report after the game...Tonight's News 12 Long Island report has highlights of last night's game, along with sound bites from Steve Stirling.