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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Bailey 5 2 3 2 5
J. Tavares 5 1 3 0 4
K. Okposo 5 2 1 1 3
N. Leddy 5 0 3 -2 3
R. Strome 5 2 0 0 2
B. Nelson 4 2 0 0 2
C. Clutterbuck 5 1 1 1 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
C. Cizikas 5 1 0 1 1
C. de Haan 5 0 1 -2 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 2 3 1 .913 2.61
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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