POSTCARDS FROM YARMOUTH - Day One
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) Random notes, quotes and observations from Day One of training camp:
Ted Nolan's three squads are named after the men who combined on the goal that brought the first Stanley Cup to Long Island. The groups are named Team Henning, Team Tonelli and Team Nystrom. Nolan watched from the stands on Day One to get an overview of his players. Here's what he had to say about the team's first day in Yarmouth.
"Every camp I've been to I try not to hop on the ice the first day. I like to stand back and evaluate and see what you have to work with. You can see who the leaders are and how the veterans respond and how the young kids react to certain things. Training camp is about evaluation and looking at some of the areas that need to be improved.
"Today I looked at the leadership. A few guys stuck out in my mind including (Shawn) Bates, (Miroslav) Satan and (Alexei) Yashin. They were all talking and helping on the ice. Yashin also impressed me with his conditioning. Satan was scoring from everywhere. Bates was getting everyone involved.
"We want to develop a family atmosphere here. We want to care for one another. No one's going to win a game by themselves. That's why we want to build a team. We want to make sure players are here to support one another and know their roles."
On the ice the players went through a combination of breakout and odd-man rush drills. There was little to no contact with emphasis on getting the players' legs back in shape and getting a feel for each other. "It felt like a European practice out there today," said Satan. "A lot of passing, a lot of shooting. It wasn't too hard the first day, but it was nice to get back on the ice."
Some players such as Jason Blake tried out new skates, which can be fairly uncomfortable the first day or two. "My feet are going to be hurting today," said Blake. It certainly didn't look it, as Blake was flying around the ice like his old self. Also noticeable for his energy and quickness was second-year d-man Chris Campoli.
It's a thrill to see Bryan Trottier back in the family in such an important role. Trottier, who met with every prospect individually prior to leaving for Yarmouth, will be here each day, monitoring and developing all of the young players in the Islanders' system. In short time, it's evident that Trottier, Nolan and GM Garth Snow have formed a close bond.
Asked by a reporter if he was excited to be part of a rebuilding situation, new Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt politely interrupted his interrogator. "Rebuilding? No, I don't think you can say that. This team is filled with veterans. There are a lot of great young prospects knocking on the door, but we have a lot of talent and experience so I don't look at it as rebuilding. The team I was on in Washington at the start of last season, that's rebuilding."
Islanders fans will want to check out daily coverage in the NY Post by Evan Grossman and Newsday by new beat reporter Greg Logan. In addition, expect regular coverage from Yarmouth on News 12 Long Island by Jamie Stuart and MSG Network, which has first-year color commentator Billy Jaffe working the scene Asked what it takes to get to the Stanley Cup Final, veteran Chris Simon, who has been to two, said, "It takes a team."
Snow will join the team late Friday after attending the NHL's Board of Governors meeting
Check News 12 tonight, starting at 5:50 and repeating every hour for a feature on the new Islanders: Head Coach Ted Nolan, Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt, Tom Poti and Chris Simon
Below are the goaltenders, defense pairings and forward line combinations for each squad during today's sessions. It should be noted that, since practice was primarily a series of drills, the pairings and lines were not together for long.
39 Rick DiPietro
60 Mike Mole
3 Tom Poti - 6 Sean Hill
38 Allan Rourke - 37 Johan Halvardsson
56 Dustin Kohn - 65 Nick Tuzzolino
11 Andy Hilbert - 17 Shawn Bates - 29 Petteri Nokelainen
15 Jeff Tambellini - 44 Chris Ferraro - 81 Miroslav Satan
41 Robin Figren - 61 Jason Guerriero - 48 Steve Regier
50 Tomas Marcinko - 10 Richard Park
1 Mike Dunham
35 Billy Thompson
32 Brendan Witt - 8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli - 68 Bryan Rodney
36 Mark Wotton - 43 Ryan Caldwell
47 Andrew MacDonald
34 Wade Dubielewicz
33 Chris Madden
77 Alexei Zhitnik - 2 Rick Berry
4 Joel Bouchard - 24 Radek Martinek
59 Kevin Mitchell - 64 Joe Grimaldi
79 Alexei Yashin - 18 Mike Sillinger - 21 Robert Nilsson
57 Blake Comeau - 40 Matt Koalska - 43 Arron Asham
53 Brandon Cullen - 62 Chris Gaudet - 26 Peter Ferraro
46 Sergei Ogorodnikov
Reported by Chris Botta, Jason Lockhart and Corey Witt
* FROM THE RADIO BOOTH