POSTCARDS FROM YARMOUTH - Day Five
(Yarmouth, Nova Scotia) Random notes, quotes and observations from Day Five of training camp:
The Jeff Tambellini show continued on Tuesday. Tambellini had a goal and an assist to help lead Team Arbour to a 5-4 victory in the final Blue-White scrimmage at the Islanders Training Camp in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Shawn Bates also stood out among the 58 players at camp, picking up two goals, including one shorthanded, to contribute to Arbour's victory.
Tambellini once again started off the game's scoring 1:21 into the first with a shot from the right circle off the rush. After receiving a pass from Bates he fired a wrister over Wade Dubielewicz's blocker for a 1-0 Team Arbour lead.
Agitator Joe Grimaldi was at it again in the first period getting involved with Sean Hill. After taking an interference penalty he proceeded to get punched in the face by Hill, but Grimaldi received the lone penalty on the play.
Allan Rourke, a member of the 2005-06 Bridgeport squad, got the equalizer for Team Torrey with 3:58 left off a scramble in front. Arron Asham and Chris Ferraro picked up the assists as the first period ended knotted at one.
Despite their lack of scoring the Team Torrey line of Richard Park-Masi Marjamaki-Frans Nielsen had a number of quality chances both at even strength and on the power play.
The best line of the period, though, was the Bates-Tambellini-Robert Nilsson line that contributed a goal and a few other glorious opportunities. The skilled, speedy forwards were buzzing around in the offensive zone for much of the first period.
Team Torrey regained the lead on a goal by Mike York 3:55 into the second period. Assists went to 2004 second round pick Blake Comeau and Joel Bouchard.
With 9:31 left the Tambellini-Bates combination struck again. Dubielewicz tried handling the puck behind the net, but Tambellini was too quick, stole the puck and slid it in front to Bates who had a wide open net for a 3-1 Team Arbour lead.
Bates continued his dominance by converting shorthanded with a sneaky deke to his backhand while being hounded from behind with 3:35 left in the second period for a 4-1 Team Arbour lead.
The game wouldn't be complete without another fight courtesy of Grimaldi who this time took on Asham shortly after the Bates shorthanded tally. After falling to the ice, Asham began pummeling Grimaldi before the fight was broken up.
Frans Nielsen fed a perfect pass to Steve Regier for a bang-bang play on the rush to get Team Torrey back within two four minutes into the final period. Team Torrey struck again with a goal by Regier from 2006 fourth round draft pick Tomas Marcinko,
But it was Jason Pitton who gave Team Arbour a two-goal lead again with a wrap around between the legs of Mike Dunham who relieved Dubielewicz mid-way through the second period.
The action continued just minutes later with Tom Poti jumping into the play. A cross-ice feed from Chris Ferraro to Poti in the slot then found the back of the net off a one-timer to get Arbour to within one with less than eight minutes remaining in the third period.
Team Torrey fought back valiantly in the final minutes of the third but Asham's hooking penalty in the final two minutes put an end to their comeback and gave Arbour the 5-4 victory.
The shootout period saw Team Arbour take it 2-1 on goals by Frans Nielsen and Jamie Johnson. Nielsen's triple deke to the backhand awed the crowd, but it was Johnson's clincher in round four that gave Team Arbour the double victory.
Following the first period of the Blue-White game, Bryan Trottier had this to say: "I thought there was signs of flash among some of the players, but overall the intensity needed to pick up. The goaltenders need to pick up their games. They've made some great saves, but have let in some soft ones as well. It's nice to see (Jeff) Tambellini picking up his game and putting the puck in the net."
Trotts' second period assessment was more positive: "Guys were out there fighting for their jobs in the second. There was better puck support and more battling. Individually, (Shawn) Bates made a spectacular toe-drag to score the shorthanded goal. The veteran offense on (Team Arbour) took over in that period."
The overall assessment from Trottier was lukewarm: "I liked the energy showed by the veterans, but I didn't see enough from the young guys. If you're not putting up points and making plays, then you better be banging bodies and I would like to have seen more from the guys fighting for spots. There's still a few days of camp left for these guys to show their stuff."
Rick DiPietro turned 25 today and following the game was pied in the face by his teammates before being congratulated.
The players watched a video today on the 2006-07 NHL rules. The emphasis of the video was on increased battles in front of the net, with more physical play being allowed than last year. When asked about the new tweak in the rule enforcement Brendan Witt replied: "Nothing new, really. Same old stuff."
During the morning skate a group of AA Yarmouth Mariners whose home rink is the Mariners Centre got a chance to partake in the Islanders' morning off-ice stretching and workout, tour the locker rooms and meet the players.
With training camp half over, the talk has turned to the first team cuts: "The decisions are not set in stone yet," said coach Ted Nolan. "We'll make major cuts when we get back from the game in Halifax on Saturday. It's after that game we'll really start working with the team."
The buzz around the camp continues to be Jeff Tambellini and Nolan weighed in on the young prospect: "(Jeff) Tambellini came into camp as one of the most top conditioned guys. He obviously paid a lot of attention to details this summer. And he's played the last couple of days pretty well, so he's doing well for himself. We'll see how the exhibition games go and take it from there."
Following the morning skate, the Islanders staff participated in a Scouts/Coaches game. The hockey ops staff played a best two out of three series with the scouts taking the series 2-1 with games scores of 5-2, 2-5, 5-3.
The Abbott and Costello-like combo of scout team members pro scout Chris O'Sullivan and assistant general manager Ryan Jankowski summed up the game best.
Said Jankowski, "Assistant coach Danny Lacroix, known for his fisticuffs, brought out his skill today."
Continued O'Sullivan, "Teddy Nolan played with a lot of energy and showed the grit he was trying to instill in his players. Trotts showed us that he can still pick the post. Ryan (Jankowski) supplied not only superior one-on-one skills, he exposed their defensemen in all facets of the game: speed and skill. The player of the game and winner of the shootout was (European scout) Vellu Kautonen."
"But the unsung heroes were Kenny Morrow and (pro scout) Tony Feltrin," said Jankowski.
Added O'Sullivan, "They're veteran presence on the blueline is what propelled us to victory."
"It was like Morrow was playing on the Cup teams again," continued Jankowski.
"Tony moved the puck quickly and showed great vision and helped our transition game," said O'Sullivan.
"It was a competitive series, and it was nice to take the first one. Hopefully it will continue in the years to come," concluded Jankowski.
Blue-White Game Lineups
Team Torrey (Blue)
1 Mike Dunham
34 Wade Dubielewicz
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli - 38 Allan Rourke
56 Dustin Kohn - 6 Sean Hill
11 Andy Hilbert - 44 Chris Ferraro - 45 Arron Asham
58 Masi Marjamaki - 51 Frans Nielsen - 10 Richard Park
26 Peter Ferraro - 50 Tomas Marcinko - 29 Petteri Nokelainen
48 Steve Regier - 62 Chris Gaudet - 69 Luch Aquino
Team Arbour (White)
39 Rick DiPietro
60 Mike Mole
32 Brendan Witt - 64 Joe Grimaldi
36 Mark Wotton - 47 Andrew MacDonald
68 Bryan Rodney - 4 Joel Bouchard
57 Blake Comeau - 16 Mike York - 7 Trent Hunter
15 Jeff Tambellini - 17 Shawn Bates - 21 Robert Nilsson
42 Jason Pitton - 27 Jeremy Colliton - 53 Brandon Cullen
12 Chris Simon - 72 Jamie Johnson - 41 Robin Figren
Reported by Jason Lockhart and Corey Witt