Hamonic: "Eight o'clock can't come soon enough."

Islanders sophomores Travis Hamonic and Matt Martin will play in their first NHL season home openers on Saturday night

Friday, 10.7.2011 / 4:40 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Hamonic: \"Eight o\'clock can\'t come soon enough.\"
 
Last season, there were two New York Islanders mainstays that didn’t make the Opening Night roster. Disappointed, but set out to prove they belonged in the National Hockey League, rookies Travis Hamonic and Matt Martin made the most of their short time in the American Hockey League and were quickly given the chances they needed to become a permanent fixture on Long Island.

Saturday night, Hamonic and Martin will start the 2011-12 season out right, playing in their first NHL Season Opener at home in front of the fans who bleed blue and orange at Nassau Coliseum.

Matt Martin skates during the third period of a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Coliseum on September 24, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
“It’s going to be awesome,” Martin said. “I know this building is old, but it’s one of the best buildings in the league when it’s sold out and gets loud. We have great fans and they come out and support us. It’s going to be an exciting year for this team, we have a lot of confidence and we are looking forward to having a great year.”

The Islanders retooled the defensive corps in the summer of 2010 and Hamonic, now 21, didn’t initially fit the bill. Islanders management and coaches thought he would benefit from lots of playing time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but after 19 AHL games and leading all defensemen in scoring with 2 goals and 5 assists, he got the call.

“It’s going to be a special experience tomorrow, my first opening night,” Hamonic said. “That’s what we dream about playing when we are young kids.”

After posting 5 goals and 21 assists in 68 games with a +4 rating last season, the 21-year-old defenseman showed the coaching staff he deserved to stay on Long Island.

“I played my way onto the team last year, so this year it’s obviously a little bit different,” Hamonic said. “From day one of training camp, I wanted to come in and re-earn my roster spot.”

Martin, a power forward, was predicted to make the roster out of camp last season, but suffered a foot injury during training camp. His recovery set him back and he missed the first eight games of the 2010-11 season. Playing the first seven games of the season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Martin scored a goal and two assists before being recalled to the Islanders.

“This is definitely really exciting,” Martin said. “Opening night is an exciting game and I wasn’t able to make it last year. It was disappointing, but you just move forward from that. It’s going to be a fun game and I’m looking forward to it.”

Eight o’clock can’t come soon enough on Saturday. Hopefully the crowd is going to be our sixth man out there. - Travis Hamonic
Martin completed the year with 5 goals and 9 assists in 68 games.

After a season full of devastating injuries and a second half that showed the young core’s promise, winning the Islanders season opener would bring the franchise even more confidence than they’ve already exuded in the 2011 preseason.

“This is a great opportunity, not only for me, but for the team to come off and have a really good start to the season,” Hamonic said. “We’ve been working hard for the last three-and-a-half weeks. We’ve been striving for this game and a good start to the season.”

He added, “Eight o’clock can’t come soon enough on Saturday. Hopefully the crowd is going to be our sixth man out there.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 75 34 40 -1 74
R. Strome 74 15 31 19 46
K. Okposo 53 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 74 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 75 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 69 23 16 14 39
J. Bailey 63 15 23 6 38
J. Boychuk 65 8 25 10 33
T. Hamonic 65 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 71 10 19 16 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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