ISLANDERS MINI CAMP DAILY
ORANGE WINS SCRIMMAGE; BLUE WINS SKILLS
Thursday, 07.08.2010 / 12:06 PM / News
07.10.2010 / 9:30 PM ET
The skills competition was one of the most intense parts of the night.
David Ullstrom was the fastest skater with 14.6 seconds, earning the Orange Team another point. Teammates Aaron Ness (14.8 seconds) and Casey Cizikas (15.1 seconds) weren’t that far behind.
The Blue Team fell short of the win by .2 seconds. The Blue Team participants included Tomas Marcinko (14.9 seconds), Tony Romano (14.9 seconds) and Jason Clark (14.8 seconds).
The Hardest Shot competition consisted of three shooters per team. Tomas Marcinko earned the Blue Team another point with the hardest shot of 94 miles-per-hour. The Orange Team was made up of Travis Hamonic (75 mph, 84 mph), Nino Niederreiter (65 mph, 91 mph) and Matt Martin (87 mph, 65 mph). Marcinko’s teammates were Matt Donovan (90 mph, 65 mph) and Tony DeHart (88 mph, 91 mph).
The next skill was the rapid fire shot. Brian Robins saved all six shots earning the Blue Team another point. His teammate Anders Nilsson saved five out of six shots. For the Orange Team Mikko Koskinen made four saves, while his teammate Cody Rosen saved all but one.
The breakaway shot was the next skill tested. The only player to score a goal was Rhett Rakhshani, earning the Orange Team another point. Other shooters for the Orange Team included Corey Trovino and Nino Niederretier. Brock Nelson, Robin Figren and Kirill Kabanov attempted shots for the Blue Team.
At the end of the night, the Orange Team took home the victory with a 5-4 win over the Blue Team. Even though there was a winner and a loser, both teams enjoyed themselves. As I looked around I noticed smiles all around the Nassau Coliseum. Fans and prospects all really enjoyed the night.
Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage: Period Two
07.10.2010 / 8:36 PM ET
The second period started off a bit slower than the first, but quickly the Orange Team sprang back to life and a shot from Joey Diamond flew by Cody Rosen into the back of the net.
The Orange Team drew a penalty, but the rules at the Orange and Blue Scrimmage are a bit different than a regular hockey game. Instead of going to the penalty box, the team who was on the receiving end of the penalty would get a penalty shot. Kirill Kabanov took his chance to put a point on the board, but it went a bit high.
The second period seems to be a bit rougher as a second penalty was just called. Someone from the Blue Team was called for cross checking. Nino Niederreiter took the penalty shot, which resulted in the third goal of the evening for the Orange Team.
The Blue Team came back with vengeance. Determined to put some points on the board, Tony DeHart and Jason Clark worked together to get the puck to the Islanders 2010 NHL Entry Draft pick Brock Nelson who was able to find the back of the net. The Orange Team now leads the scrimmage 3-1.
With the Blue Team down two goals, the level of play is intense. Both teams have had their share of shots and battles in the corners, but the last minute of the scrimmage was played entirely in the Orange Team’s defensive zone, with the exception of one shot that went wide on the Blue Team’s empty net.
At the end of the Second Period, the Orange Team leads 3-1. Although the scrimmage is over, the Blue Team will still have the opportunity to win the night as the Skills Competition will take place in just a few minutes.
The attendance at tonight’s Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage & Skills Competition is 5,027.
Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage: Period One
07.10.2010 / 7:52 PM ET
A few minutes before game time and the crowd at the Nassau Coliseum is looking pretty full. Youth Hockey Players from the Newbridge Arena were on the ice with the Islanders Ice Girls to help with the National Anthem performed by Organist Paul Cartier. The skaters held a giant American Flag.
Just seconds after faceoff, it was proven to be a fast paced game. The prospects were working hard to prove why they were selected to attend the Islanders Mini Camp.
Less than five minutes into the game both goaltenders had seen a lot of action. Nino Niederretier had a solid rush up ice which almost ended in a goal. Just a few seconds later the puck was being brought down ice by Tony Romano, who had a solid shot that just barely deflected off of the pads of Mikko Koskinen.
A defensive breakdown on the Blue Team could have led to a goal by the Orange Team, but with a little help from the offensive line, the Blue Team was able to clear the puck.
Truly a back and forth game, the skaters quickly re-entered the Orange Team’s zone. The defensemen were able to clear the puck leading to an offensive rush by Casey Cizikas who passed to Danny Markowitz for the only goal of the first period at 16:47.
There’s been a lot of friendly checking in the game, including when Jay Silvia crushed Matt Mangene up against the boards at center ice.
While the Orange Team dominated most of the game, back in the Blue Team’s defensive zone, Travis Hamonic fired off a slap shot from the blue line which everyone in the Coliseum could here as it rung around the post.
On the Blue Team, Matt Donovan fired off a shot that went slightly wide to the right. With the sounds coming from the crowd, they clearly thought it was going to tie up the game 1-1. Tony DeHart had a rush down ice which led to a few solid efforts on behalf of the Blue Team. One shot rung off the post, while another chance fumbled around the crease between bodies.
After a save by Koskinen, there was a short commercial break and then a faceoff inside the Orange Zone. The Blue Team quickly fired off another shot but Koskinen was able to make a glove save for another faceoff. The Orange Team gained control of the puck and the Islanders first-round draft pick Nino Niederreiter used his speed for a breakaway that ended with a shot just wide.
The first period was fun to watch. Both teams challenged each other, battling for the puck, but in the end it was the Orange Team who came out on top 1-0. Let’s look forward to the Second Period, as I’m sure it will be a great conclusion to this fast paced and exciting game.
Game Night 2 - Warmups
07.10.2010 7:30 PM ET
As the Orange and Blue Teams skated out onto the Ice for the Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Islanders fans burst into cheers.
Cody Rosen and Mikko Koskinen will take turns in goal for the Orange Team. Forwards for the orange team include Niederreiter, Ullstrom, Martin, Sulmonte, Sarcona, Silvia, DiBenedetto, Rakhshani, Cizikas, Diamond and Trivino. Defensemen for the Orange Team include Hamonic, Ness, Rosen, Josepher, Marcou and Markowitz.
Taking turn in goal for the Blue Team are Anders Nilsson and Brian Robins. Forwards for the Blue Team include Nelson, Kabanov, Clark, Romano, Purslow, Figren, Toews, Marcinko, Stone, Yamada, Sellitto and Schultz. Defensemen for the Blue Team include DeHart, Donovan, Mangene, Sims and Agosta.
Anton Klementyev and Kirill Petrov will not be playing in tonight’s Scrimmage.
07.10.10 / 5:54 PM ET
Casey Cizikas – Forward
Brian Day – Forward
Joey Diamond – Forward
Justin DiBenedetto – Forward
Matt Martin – Forward
Nino Niederreiter – Forward
Rhett Rakhshani – Forward
TJ Sarcona – Forward
Stephen Schultz – Forward
Jay Silvia – Forward
Rudy Sulmonte – Forward
Corey Trivino – Forward
David Ulstrom – Forward
Travis Hamonic – Defensemen
Zack Josepher – Defensemen
Michael Marcou – Defensemen
Danny Markowitz - Defensemen
Aaron Ness – Defensemen
Ben Rosen – Defensemen
Mikko Koskinen – Goalie
Cody Rosen – Goalie
Jason Clark – Forward
Robin Figren – Forward
Kirill Kabanov – Forward
Thomas Marcinko – Forward
Brock Nelson – Forward
Kirill Petrov – Forward
Rich Purslow – Forward
Tony Romano – Forward
Mike Sellito – Forward
Zak Stone – Forward
David Toews – Forward
Kotaro Yamada – Forward
Justin Agosta – Defensemen
Tony DeHart – Defensemen
Matt Donovan – Defensemen
Anton Klementyev – Defensemen
Matt Mangene – Defensemen
Shane Sims – Defensemen
Anders Nilsson – Goalie
Brian Robins – Goalie
-New York Islanders
MPORTANT UPDATE: If you are attending tonight's Orange vs. Blue Scrimmage at the Coliseum please enter through the Hempstead Turnpike gate and enter the building through the Box Office. Thank you, we look forward to seeing you.
-New York Islanders
Day Three: Prospects work hard at off-ice session
07.09.2010 / 11:23 AM ET
For the past two days, the prospects have been taking part in an on-ice and off-ice training session. Today, there will not be an on-ice session, so I decided to sit and watch as the trainers and strength and conditioning coaches guide the prospects through their off-ice training inside the Expo Center at the Nassau Coliseum.
As the prospects started to arrive for their off-ice session, they began stretching themselves out before Jesse Demers, the Islanders strength and conditioning coach, and the rest of the training crew started to give them a solid workout.
The players started by jogging 20 meters, then they continued with high knees, butt kicks, jumps, forward arm circles with high knees, a side shuffle, backwards running and raising feet to opposite knee.
Next they began stretching by raising their knee to their chest, hugging, and taking a forward step. They continued in this manner with a quadriceps stretch and a hip stretch. Arms were raised over head as the players took lunging steps forward and lunging side steps.
With the next set of exercises, the prospects were told to be aggressive with their movements. They did high knees, butt kicks, skips, side shuffles, and then they ran six 20-yard sprints.
Once the warm-up was done, the players sat down on their mats with rollers and began kneading their legs and hips to massage their muscles.
The remaining portion of the off-ice session would be the “Beep” test. For the test, the prospects would jog from one yellow cone to another one 20 yards away. At the sound of a bell, each player began their jog back to the other cone.
While the beat of the bell started out relatively slow, the time between rings became shorter, forcing the prospects to run a little faster. If the player did not get back to the cone by the sound of the bell’s ring, they would be warned. After three warnings, the player could no longer participate in the test. Slowly, each player would miss the mark. It took ten minutes of running at increased speeds before the last man was left standing.
After the test was over, I spoke to Demers, who said the 20-part test is designed to test a player’s willingness to test his self. The prospect who survived the longest made it to stage 12. As a guide, professional hockey players usually test between stage 10 and 15.
To cool down and loosen up at the end of the test, the players took a slow walk around the perimeter of the Expo Center before heading back into the locker room.
Day Three: Off Ice Work outs
Today both groups will be working with strength and condioning coaches and trainers on off ice work outs.
We'll be back after the players are done to give you more on how it went.
Day Two: Group Two on the Ice
07.08.2010 / 12:13 PM ET
These guys had their off-ice training this morning. For the next hour they will partake in their on-ice portion, which will be very similar to group one’s session this morning.
After the session, I’ll catch up head coach Scott Gordon as well as 2010 NHL Entry Draft selections Brock Nelson, Jason Clark, Tony DeHart and Cody Rosen.
Later this afternoon, the prospects will attend a fishing trip.
Day Two: Group One’s morning ice
07.08.2010 / 11:09 AM ET
The skaters in group two took the ice at 10 a.m. for the first on-ice session of the day. The prospects in group one are currently doing some off-ice training.
In the first drill of the morning, skaters were lined up at the blue lines along the boards. They made a pass back to one defenseman who then passed the puck to his defensive partner and back to the forward on the attack so he could make a rush down ice for a quick shot on net.
As the whistle blew, all skaters and goaltenders made a few quick laps around the ice and joined in the center for a group stretch led by Rhett Rakhshani. After the stretch the group grabbed a little water before beginning the next drill where the forwards and defensemen would be split in two groups.
The defensemen practiced receiving passes while skating backwards and then making a pass to their teammate.
The forwards drill was more confusing. The skaters separated into groups with their fellow linemates. All four groups lined up spaced out on the center line. The two outer lines were the attacking forwards while the two inner lines were defensive forwards getting back to protect their net. The outer line on the right was trying to attack the net for a pass from his teammate with the puck on the outer left.
The lines for group two are as follows:
White: Niederreiter, Ullstrom, Martin
Yellow: Sulmonte, Sarcona, Silvia
Light Blue: DiBenedetto, Rakhshani, Cizikas
Orange: Schultz, Diamond, Trivino
Navy Blue: Hamonic, Ness, Rosen, Josepher, Marcou, Markowitz
Goaltenders: Koskinen, Rosen, Poulin
The next drill required head coach Scott Gordon to write on the white board. Groups of skaters made one line in each corner. The skater at the front of the line passed to another in give-and-go fashion and then both skated up ice. The puck carrier made a rush down ice for a shot on net while the other skater back checked as another skater came at him from the opposite end of the ice.
The whistle blew again and skaters were off quickly making a few more laps before getting a little bit of water and sitting down for another chalk talk. This time it was assistant coach Scott Allen with the marker.
Two lines were built at the top of the faceoff circles inside the blue line. As a coach passed the puck into the zone, the first players in each line played one-on-one ultimately trying for a shot on net. In the next drill, the prospects played a little two-on-two.
Day One: Nino speaks about becoming an Islander
07.07.2010 / 3:10 PM ET
Nino Niederreiter stepped out onto the Nassau Coliseum ice for the first time earlier this afternoon wearing his white Islanders practice jersey. Skating with linemates David Ullstrom and Matt Martin, Nino enjoyed his first experience.
“The first practice is always tough and the ice is pretty soft so it’s pretty hard to handle the puck, but in the end that makes us stronger,” Niederreiter said.
His goal of camp is to keep things simple.
“I just want to show that I’m a goal scorer and also have some skills,” Nino said. “One day I want to be a part of this team and be part of a Stanley Cup team.”
At the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Islanders General Manager Garth Snow selected Nino with the fifth overall pick. At the draft with his family, Nino was happy to be selected, but he was still in shock a few days later.
“Actually, right after the draft I was still surprised that I got drafted fifth and to be a part of the Islanders. Now I am really excited for the camp. Now that I’m here, I just want to have fun and get ready to do something special.”
In his rookie season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Niederreiter earned 60 points, leading his team with 36 goals in 65 regular season games. In the WHL playoffs, he averaged more than a point per game with 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 13 games.
Happy with his performance last season with the Winterhawks, Nino said he’d be happy to play another year of juniors if the Islanders coaches thought it would be best for him.
“Of course. I’m in a great situation. I can go back to Portland, they’re great coaches,” Nino said. “I can stay here and obviously that would be fantastic. They have great coaches up here so I can learn a lot.”
To get to camp, Nino flew in to Long Island yesterday all the way from Switzerland. Even though Nino had nerves about coming to camp, he was actually pretty excited to be here. That excitement combined with the jet lag made for a hard night sleep.
“Well I came from Switzerland all the way up here and it wasn’t that easy to sleep,” Nino said. “First I was really tired, so I went to bed at ten [p.m.] so I would get a lot of sleep, but it wasn’t much.
“I woke up pretty early. I actually didn’t sleep that well,” Nino said. “But, [we had a] really good practice, some good testing, and I actually did well today.”
Meeting Mark Streit
After Nino was drafted on June 25, Islanders defenseman Mark Streit contacted the 17-year-old to welcome him to the organization. The two celebrated with a lunch in Zurich, Switzerland last week.
Nino was happy to have a fellow Swissman on the roster, especially a veteran that can offer some great advice.
“For me it’s actually great to have another guy who speaks the same language and comes from the same country. So it’s actually great to have him here.”
So what kind of advice did Streit offer the talented prospect?
“[He told me to] just enjoy the week and have fun up there. He told me a lot about the company and it sounds perfect to be here. I’m really excited [to be an Islander].”
Day One: Tavares and de Haan Injury Update
07.07.2010 / 2:00 PM ET
At the end of last season, the Islanders top two 2009 NHL Entry Draft picks were injured. John Tavares, the first overall draft selection, took a shot to the foot while playing in the 2010 World Championship for Team Canada, which resulted in a foot fracture. Calvin de Haan, the 12th overall selection, suffered a season-ending blow in the middle of his season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, which required surgery to fix his shoulder.
As recently as two weeks ago, Tavares was still walking around with a boot on his foot, but progress has been made and Tavares looked good as he laced up his skates today.
“Everything feels great,” he said. “It’s great to get back on the ice a little bit and start working on my game and being around the guys so it’s definitely feeling great and there should be no problems.”
So when did the boot come off?
“The boot came off early last week. We waited until I had a few days with it off to give it a couple of days with normal activity at home. It’s now nice to start getting back into the swing of things and workouts and getting back into my usual routine, so it’s feeling great,” Tavares said. “It’s nice to have it [the boot] off.”
Taking off the walking boot just over a week ago has had its perks. On Tuesday, Tavares was able to skate for the first time since his injury.
“I felt good. I just went out there and felt normal. I really didn’t feel anything [wrong]. It didn’t really enter my mind that I had the injury. I just went out there and worked on some of my skills and the things I like to do at this time of year, in the summer with my game, so I’m feeling good.”
Tavares is very optimistic about his recovery. Only a year after his first Mini Camp, he is looking forward to his second full season with the Islanders – hopefully topping his team-high 54-point season
“I think we’re at the point where we believe it’s healthy. It’s getting strong. This week, me coming in to Mini Camp, gives me time with the medical staff and the strength staff to progress it,” Tavares said. “I mean we don’t want to throw me right back into the fire with training so I think a whole week of taking it step by step and then reassessing once I’m done to be at full workouts.
As for the coming season, Tavares is well on track and knows what he has to do to prepare himself.
“I think just get back to my program, knowing what to expect from last season and how I have to prepare myself to be ready each and every day to be at my best, just get back to my full workouts, get back to my routine, getting my rest and eating properly and I should be fresh and ready to go for the start of the season.”
With surgery to his shoulder five months ago, de Haan’s recovery is also progressing very well.
“My shoulder feels awesome right now. It feels pretty much 100 percent. It’s a little weak in some areas, but that’s expected. It’s a long rehab. It’s only five months in and I still have another month to go,” de Haan said. “So I have to wait until the six month mark and then I’m probably ready to go. I obviously have to get it stronger still and that’s it really.”
This week, de Haan is at Mini Camp working with the strength and conditioning coaches on getting his shoulder back to the point he can get physical on the ice.
“For a while, I couldn’t really do much for upper body stuff… because it put a lot of stress on where my injury was,” de Haan said. “This week I am working on a lot of shoulder stuff with the trainers, a lot of injury prevention and rehab.”
But don’t worry… both Tavares and de Haan will be ready for the 2010-11 season.
Day One: Goalies Take the Ice
07.07.2010 / 12:15 PM ET
Mikko Koskinen, Cody Rosen, Anders Nilsson and Brian Robbins took the ice for a half-an-hour of drills. Shooting on them were non-contact players John Tavares, Calvin de Haan and Mark Katic.
Tavares practiced a series of different shots on Koskinen and Rosen, including wrist shots and back handers. Koskinen opened and closed the 2009-10 with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after suffering from a torn labrum. Rosen is the Islanders 2010 NHL Entry Draft seventh round pick.
Down at the other end, de Haan and Katic took shots on Nilsson and Robbins. Nilsson was selected in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Robbins is a camp invitee who played last season for the Philadelphia Revolution of the EJHL.
We will have a full injury update on Tavares and de Haan shortly.
Day One: Coverage of Group 2’s First Skate
07.07.2010 / 11:35 AM ET
At 10:34 a.m. the morning session began. Three lines formed at the end of the ice. The first skater in each line skated to the red faceoff circle inside the blue line, circled back around to the other red faceoff circle and then skated to the opposite end, firing off a shot on Anders Nilsson or Brian Robbins.
When that drill commenced, two lines formed in the corners. As each player passed a puck to another skater, they began their full speed attack ahead, crossing the ice to make a shot on net.
The third drill consisted of the players getting together with their respective lines. They made consecutive interlacing passes as each skater weaved in and out of each other, then they made their way down the ice to fire a shot on net.
After two laps the players skated two fast laps around the ice and met each other at center ice for a group stretch led by Tomas Marcinko.
The skaters huddled listening attentively as Coach Scott Gordon drew plays on the white board.
Next the skaters made cross-ice blue-line passes, as another skater rushed in for a short pass to rush in for a shot on net.
At this point, the forwards and defensemen split into two groups. Defensemen practiced skating backward from the blue line. The forwards practiced one-on-one rushes, while the defensive skater tried preventing a shot on net.
Next, the skaters practiced two-on-ones with the defensemen working hard on the back check.
As the last on-ice drill commenced, the coaches moved the net to the corner and players battled up against the boards trying to get a shot off. At the other end of the ice, skaters practiced stealing a puck from behind the net.
The defensemen sported navy blue practice jerseys, while the forwards wore an array of white, yellow, grey, and orange.
The Group 2 lines on day one are as follows:
White: Nelson, Petrov, Kabanov
Yellow: Romano, Purslow, Figren
Grey: Toews, Marcinko, Stone
Orange: Yamada, Sellitto
Blue: Klementyev, DeHart, Donovan, Mangene, Sims, Agosta
Goaltenders: Nilsson, Robbins
Day One: Fitness Testing
07.07.2010 / 9:43 AM ET
The prospects arrived at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at seven o’clock this morning to begin their fitness testing. At this point, they are wide awake and ready to go. They will eat breakfast and then they will be split into two groups that they will remain with for the entire week of camp.
At 10:30 a.m. group one will have an off-ice session while group two will lace up their skates for their first on-ice training session.
Check back for updates soon.
07.06.2010 / 6:30 PM ET
From Nino Niederreiter's first steps on the ice to the time they pack up and go home, Mini Camp Daily will have all your information on mini camp and the stories from inside the Coliseum.
Be sure to check for continual updates.
Photo Gallery from the players arrival for their first night with the Islanders.
-New York Islanders