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Wednesday, 03.07.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
New York Islanders
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Notes from today's practice at Nassau Coliseum

The Islanders' lineup will receive another boost when captain Alexei Yashin returns to the lineup to face the Rangers on Thursday evening at the Nassau veterans Memorial Coliseum. After acquiring Marc-Andre Bergeron, Richard Zednik and Ryan Smyth before the trade deadline, Ted Nolan adds one more piece to his offensive arsenal.

"Yash looks good, a little trimmer, lighter and quicker than before," said Nolan. "A player of his caliber will get back in the swing of things pretty quickly. Can't think of a better game than Islanders-Rangers to throw him back in."

Now that Yashin is back, the big question is where Nolan will put him. Nolan was reluctant to put him on the top line because he didn't want to break up the chemistry of Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth and Randy Robitaille. Nolan did indicate, however, that Yashin may be on a line with Miroslav Satan.

Nolan doesn't want to rush Yashin into playing a lot of minutes in his first game back, so look for the captain to play approximately 15 on Thursday.

Everyone in the Islanders' locker room agreed that the Islanders didn't bring their best against the Rangers on Monday, but they're putting that behind them and looking ahead to Thursday's rematch. With the Rangers only five points behind the Islanders, these games have serious playoff implications.

"We need high energy right now and some passion," said Nolan. "We were a little off our game on Tuesday. You have to give the Rangers credit: they came at us pretty good, but that was two days ago. We'll be ready for whatever they have for us. Guys were a little feisty on the ice today and should be charged for tomorrow."

A difference for Thursday will be the home-ice advantage. The players and coaches know the benefits of playing at home, especially in a packed house.

"You can never underestimate the home crowd," said Nolan. "I've seen how loud this building can be. Hopefully, it can be as loud as possible, because we definitely need that. It really helps get the team going."

Days later, there was still talk about Rick DiPietro's star performance on Monday, when he set a team record by stopping 56 shots in the Islanders' 2-1 shootout loss. Ted Nolan added one more quote to the mix.

"Not only did Ricky look like a superstar, he acted like a superstar," said Nolan. "He was very composed, determined and focused. I don't think I've seen any goaltending performance much better than that. He was definitely in the zone."

After seven games with Bergeron in the lineup, the Islanders have gone 8-for-24 (33%) on the power play and improved from 15.4% to 17% for the season in that span. Bergeron has contributed a goal and three assists while on the man advantage. In Monday's game against the Rangers, the lone Islanders tally was a power play goal by Jason Blake with Bergeron earning one of the assists.

"When you make additions to the power play like Bergeron and Smitty it makes it more dangerous," said Blake. "Bergeron has a great shot and Smitty is one of the best at standing in front of the net. Forwards are worried about defending against Bergeron's shot and the defense is pre-occupied with Ryan in front of the net. It makes more room for the rest of us."


Tickets still remain at the Coliseum box office and through TicketMaster for Thursday's Islanders-Rangers showdown at the Coliseum...

Miroslav Satan sat out today's practice with what Ted Nolan termed "bumps and bruises," but Satan declared that he will play tomorrow night...

Thursday's Islanders version of the game broadcast with Howie, Billy and Deb has been moved to FSN 2...

The Islanders will take their annual team photo before practice at the Coliseum on Friday.




1 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 48 32 13 3 128 108 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 49 25 14 10 144 125 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31


J. Tavares 49 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 49 9 25 15 34
B. Nelson 49 15 16 5 31
F. Nielsen 49 9 18 4 27
J. Boychuk 39 4 21 15 25
J. Bailey 37 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 49 7 14 13 21
N. Kulemin 49 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 43 13 5 6 18
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 6 0 .865 3.43 is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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