My Islanders Account

NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Leading the way

Heading into their first Islanders Mini-Camp, development camp veterans Matt Martin and Rhett Rakhshani were overwhelmingly nervous

Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 10:37 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
X
Share with your Friends


Leading the way
Four years ago, fresh from Junior with the Sarnia Sting, Matt Martin was about to embark on his first Islanders Mini-Camp. When he arrived on Long Island, he was full of nerves due to his own false assumptions. He thought the purpose of camp was to make a name for himself and gain an extra edge over the other prospects, but in reality, that was much different from what Islanders management and the coaching staff truly intended.

In hindsight, Martin realizes this and offers this advice:

“I want to make sure these 18-year-old guys don’t think they have to make the team out of camp,” Martin said. “They really just have to come down here, get a feel for Long Island and a feel for the team.”

Islanders forward Matt Martin mentoring some of the prospects at 2011 Mini Camp on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 Entry Draft, Sound Tigers forward Rhett Rakhshani is no newbie. This year marks his fifth Mini-Camp and like Martin, he offered a bit of advice:

“Just have fun and work hard. Definitely try to impress, but at the same time, it’s important to have fun and not put too much pressure on yourself. Everyone is in the same boat. There are a lot of new faces and a lot of familiar faces, so if we just go out and have fun, it will make the week a lot more enjoyable.”

When Martin arrived for his first camp, he was a wide-eyed 18-year-old who made himself overly anxious for camp.

“I was just so nervous, but you have to get by those nerves,” Martin said about his first camp. “When you’re so nervous to make mistakes, you grip the stick too tight, pucks bounce everywhere and you’re not really having fun with the game anymore. When you’re not having fun, you’re not going to play well. That was really the toughest part.”

Since Martin was about 15-years-old, he’s brought a physical presence to his game, which helped catapult his career into the NHL. But prior to his first trip to New York from Windsor, ON, he made sure to ask about the scrimmage and what would be expected of his game.

Islanders prospect Rhett Rakhshani skates in a game for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during the 2010-11 season.
“I remember being a little unsure of how the scrimmages went because I wanted to make sure I had the right mindset going in,” Martin said. “The style of game I play, if you’re not ready for something, you can get seriously hurt. I just wanted to make sure I knew exactly what was going on in the scrimmages so that I was prepared (and wouldn’t hurt myself or my teammates).”

That’s where the older guys step in. As unofficial captains, they lead by example in both on-ice and off-ice workouts, but also offer an ear for the younger players who may feel a bit intimidated.

With so many questions his first year, Martin feels for the young players coming in, like Ryan Strome and Scott Mayfield, who were the Islanders first and second round selections at this year’s Entry Draft in Minnesota.

“I want to get to know some of the new draft picks and make them feel comfortable like the guys that made me feel comfortable my first camp,” Martin said. “I’m sure these guys are really nervous like I was and I just want to make them feel at home.”

He continued, “There are a lot of fun events set up for this week. We’re going to the Mets game, we’re going fishing and we have a beach day. It’s just another learning experience for all of us. The guys are going to have a lot of fun this week.”

Rakhshani was another one of those guys who said he really benefitted from the presence of all the older players, saying that when he arrived six years ago, Dustin Kohn, Jeremy Colliton and Jeff Tambellini really helped him out.

“I’m just going to do my best to make everyone feel comfortable by reaching out to them,” Rakhshani said. “As an older guy… I want to be a resource for them if they have anything they want to talk about or if they have questions, but really just make everyone feel welcome.”

Now that these camp veterans have mastered their nerves, they look at this week as reunion of sorts.

“At this point, my favorite part is just being back with all your teammates you played with last year and having a good time, but also getting on the ice a little bit,” Rakhshani said. “No one has skated too much yet so it is fun to get back on the ice a little bit more. We do a lot of fun activities and it is fun to do that with all your buddies.”

No matter what, Martin will always remember his first camp.

“My first camp was awesome,” Martin said. “I made some great friendships at camp with Josh Bailey, Calvin de Haan, David Ullstrom, Kevin Poulin, all these players I was drafted with. You build a great relationship with them through this camp. It’s a bond I’ll have forever.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 50 15 27 -9 42
J. Tavares 49 19 22 -3 41
F. Nielsen 52 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 52 20 11 0 31
M. Grabovski 52 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 51 9 15 5 24
A. Lee 52 8 15 1 23
N. Leddy 52 3 20 -8 23
R. Strome 41 6 14 -5 20
C. Clutterbuck 51 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
Transportation
Pro Shops
Islanders TV
Iceworks
NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com 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 © 1999-2016 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use