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TRAINING CAMP DAY 1

Witt and Reich just a few Islanders who have their roots in Saskatchewan

Sunday, 09.13.2009 / 4:42 PM / News
New York Islanders
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TRAINING CAMP DAY 1
For most of the members of the Islanders 2009 Training Camp, the five-hour plane ride from Long Island to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was one to “foreign land.”  However, for several players, it is a return trip home. 

Group 1
Rookies
Islanders’ assistant captain, Brendan Witt is a long-time veteran of the NHL but you can’t tell as he stepped onto the ice for the first time at camp this morning. 

“It’s great to be back in Saskatchewan.  I haven’t been back in a while but you can see that there has been a tremendous amount of growth here,” Witt said.  “My roots are only about an hour from here and it was nice to see some old child-hood friends in the stands who work here in the city of Saskatoon.” 

The Humboldt, SASK native was excited for the chance to come back to the area where he grew up and expects to have around a large number of fans attend the two exhibition games in Saskatoon.  That same comfort level that Witt is experiencing, playing so close to his hometown, is something that he is trying to rub off on the youth of the organization. 

“We’re really building towards an exciting season,” Witt said.  “A lot of young guys like Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo got great opportunities last season to step into major roles and I think that they are only going to get better from those experiences.  I remember being the rookie in those situations learning from Dale Hunter in Washington but now I enjoy going out there and acting like a teacher whenever they have questions.” 

Jeremy Reich, another Saskatchewan native from Craik, has been in the Boston Bruins organization the past few seasons but unlike most new signings, Reich doesn’t have as many questions about head coach Scott Gordon’s systems since he played for Gordon in Providence two years ago.  He is excited for the new start and feels even more comfortable skating about an hour and a half from his home. 

“It’s been an easy transition for me because I was able to recall the systems that Coach Gordon implements so it gives me a good head start,” Reich said.  “He knows what I can bring to the table so it is going to help me in this quick turn-around as I get ready to play in the upcoming exhibition games.”

Unlike the Islanders, the Bruins host their Training Camp at the team’s home facilities in Boston so Reich is happy to have the support of 15 to 20 friends and family members cheering him on.  Reich has also been the answer when his new teammates have questions about the area, telling them so of the better restaurants in the city. 

“I’ve told them that it’s really flat here in Saskatchewan,” Reich said.  “A lot of the guys haven’t been here before but it’s an easy area to get used to.  It’s a great city.  I used to come back and live here in the summer time so we’re all looking forward to an exciting week.” 

Other Saskatchewan Connections:

Blake Comeau – Born and raised in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, which is three hours away from the Islanders Training Camp facility in Saskatoon.  Comeau played his minor hockey in Saskatoon and is planning a surprise visit to his midget coach who still lives in the area. 

Scott Munroe – Born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, Munroe has played goalie in the Philadelphia Flyers organization the past four years after graduating from the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Jyri Niemi – A member of the 2008 Islanders Entry Draft class, Niemi plays his junior hockey in Saskatoon for the Blades.  He was born in Hameenkyro, Finland but has played in North America for the past two seasons and has played in a preseason game for the Blades this year as well. 

Rise and Shine:  The players in the first group had an early morning as their on-ice session for Day 1 began at 7 a.m.  For most hockey players, to wake up at 6:15, be at the rink by 6:30 and on the ice by 7 would work fine, but not when you're in the NHL.  Group 1 was up bright and early and boarded a bus at 5:45 a.m. to the arena for stretching and on-ice preparation.  The second group's session did not begin until 9:45 a.m. 

Q&A with Morency: Over the past two seasons, Pascal Morency has skated for the Sound Tigers doing whatever it takes to help his team win.  Soundtigers.com sat down with Morency to talk about the first NHL Training Camp of his career, things he learned from Islanders' head coach Scott Gordon and his exciting news that he and his wife are due to have a baby in February.  To hear more, CLICK HERE.

LINEUPS:

Group 1

Forwards
Trevor Smith - Greg Moore - Jeremy Reich
Matt Moulson - Greg Mauldin - Jon Sim
Jeff Tambellini - Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau
Sean Bentivoglio - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Defensemen
Andy Sutton - Freddy Meyer
Jack Hillen - Andrew MacDonald
Dustin Kohn - Mark Flood

Goalies
Scott Munroe
Nathan Lawson

Group 2

Forwards
Sean Bergenheim - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Micheal Haley - Tomas Marcinko - Richard Park
Doug Weight - John Tavares - Trent Hunter

Defensemen
Mark Streit - Bruno Gervais
Brendan Witt - Radek Martinek
Calvin de Haan - Jan Piskacek

Goalies
Dwayne Roloson
Martin Biron

Group 3

Forwards
Justin DiBenedetto - Bobby Hughes - Robin Figren
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Joel Rechlicz
Jesse Joensuu - Tony Romano - Pascal Morency
Tyler Haskins

Defensemen
Jyri Niemi - Mark Katic
Anton Klementyev - Brett Westgarth
Jan Piskacek - Calvin de Haan

Goalies
Mikko Koskinen
Kevin Poulin

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 34 17 8 9 94 84 43
6 TOR 34 19 12 3 114 102 41
7 NYR 31 17 10 4 93 81 38
8 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
9 BOS 34 17 14 3 86 88 37
10 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 PHI 33 13 14 6 92 99 32
13 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 34 13 18 3 66 109 29
16 CAR 33 9 20 4 68 92 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 33 13 15 -5 28
K. Okposo 33 7 21 -3 28
B. Nelson 33 14 13 6 27
R. Strome 33 6 15 12 21
F. Nielsen 33 6 11 1 17
N. Leddy 33 5 10 8 15
J. Boychuk 23 2 12 7 14
N. Kulemin 33 6 7 -2 13
M. Grabovski 30 5 7 3 12
T. Hickey 32 2 9 2 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 18 6 0 .919 2.24
C. Johnson 5 4 0 .868 3.59

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