FROM THE RADIO BOOTH
By Steve Mears
Islanders play-by-play broadcaster
Whether it's in a business meeting or a hockey rink, first impressions are often the most lasting impressions. Earlier today, dozens of staff members and fans were given a very first glimpse into the 2006-2007 season as the New York Islanders began their training camp with on-ice workouts at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
As the new radio play-by-play broadcaster for the team, the last week has been filled with one first impression after another for me. I look forward to sharing this entire experience at camp with you here at newyorkislanders.com and we'll begin with some of the scenes that I have witnessed as the 2006-2007 season officially began:
The town of Yarmouth It's amazing how one small town in Nova Scotia with a population of under 9,000 people not only opens up to welcome you, but uproots its daily lifestyle to make sure you are feeling as close to home as possible. From the street signs with pictures of Islander players, to cars honking as you walk along a downtown sidewalk, to the very pleasant staff at the Rodd Grand Hotel and restaurants such as Rudder's (great seafood), this town is an affable setting for an intense camp. I even met an avid Islanders radio listener named Margaret at the Yarmouth Airport who said she plans on tuning into the broadcasts when my partner Chris King and I begin the season next month.
The coaching staff Obviously, they are the foundation of this camp and the results which this camp will produce. Thus far, Ted Nolan and his staff have made it clear that the goal is to make the Islanders the hardest-working team in the National Hockey League. "We want teams to be saying, 'We have to play the Islanders again tonight' because we want every game to truly be a battle for two points every night, said Nolan in between workouts today. "There are spots that are going to be earned on our roster over the next week and it's the same with the power play and penalty kill. It's a privilege to play on the special teams and those are things our staff will be deciding on here in camp."
Rick DiPietro My first meeting with the Islanders' top player in its top position was actually at the press conference to announce his new landmark contract on Tuesday. He displayed a confidence and impressive demeanor, but also conveyed a now it's time to get to work attitude following the big announcement. Today, he and the other netminders spent some time separately with new goaltending coach Gilles Lefebvre working on angles and positioning in the crease. The Islanders' success this season will start with his performance and it's clear that #39 is ready for the challenge as training camp begins today.
Stay tuned to Newyorkislanders.com throughout the week for some new perspectives as this 2006-2007 journey begins. I look forward to using this space to bring you some unique storylines, and trust me, there are many of them.