LOCKER ROOM BUZZING AFTER TRADE
The news of the Islanders' acquisition of all-star Ryan Smyth swept through the team's locker room with nothing but positive reactions. Players were talking amongst themselves and the media with smiles creeping across their faces whenever they were asked about Smyth 's arrival on Long Island.
"Everyone is happy," said veteran Arron Asham. "We have one of the top players in the league coming here. You get a guy like Ryan and it shows us players and the fans we're serious about making a run for the playoffs and doing some damage once we get there."
People know of Smyth's on-ice ability, but it's the off-ice leadership that the team couldn't help but mention.
"It's exciting to get a player of his character and leadership," said Ted Nolan. "He's referred to as ËœCaptain Canada' so it proves that he is a true leader. He's a playoff performer and everything we want to instill in this organization."
Players such as Chris Campoli are looking forward to the opportunity to play with a veteran such as Smyth.
"It's exciting to be a part of this," said Campoli. "Not only on the ice, but off the ice it's going to be great, especially me being a young guy."
One player who is most familiar with Smyth is his long-time teammate in Edmonton, Marc-Andre Bergeron.
"I couldn't believe it," said Bergeron. "The guys are excited and know how valuable he is. He's one of the best players I've ever played with. A player like that means so much to a hockey team. I played with him for four years. In Edmonton, whenever I shot pucks at him he would tip everything. He's going to be a real asset down the road. He's a well-rounded, smart, reliable player. When I started with Edmonton, I stayed with him for the first four months and he took me under his wing."
Even with the acquisition of a talent such as Smyth, Campoli still put things in perspective.
"We're excited, but we have to focus on the game tonight," said Campoli. "This puts us in a legitimate position to make the playoffs. Garth has given us that chance, and now we have to prove it on the ice."