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Streit and Staios: Blue line stability

Defenseman Steve Staios has found his role on the Islanders blue line

Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 5:16 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Streit and Staios: Blue line stability
Sixteen-year NHL veteran Steve Staios has found a home on the Islanders blue line. After attending camp on a tryout, Staios signed a one-year contract and has since been paired alongside the Islanders top defenseman, Captain Mark Streit.

In the Islanders first four games, Staios has averaged just over 17 minutes a night including 2:39 of shorthanded time on ice per game. Though Staios has not yet found his way to the score sheet, the blue-liner has more of an offensive upside than Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano had initially realized.

“I really felt when (Staios) came in here, he was a real stay at home defenseman who blocked a lot of shots on the PK,” Capuano said. “But the more I watch him and the more he tries to play in our system, he’s got more offense than I expected. He sees the ice extremely well. He makes real good decisions, when to jump and when not to jump offensively.”

Steve Staios skates against the Minnesota Wild on October 10, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Streit saw Staios’ value right from the start of training camp. Adding more of a veteran presence in the locker room was a positive, but Streit also knew that Staios would help strengthen the Islanders defensive core.

“He’s skilled, he makes good passes and he’s got a great first pass, which is really important,” Streit said. “And he’s a great skater; these days that’s really important and I saw that right away.”

For the 38-year-old defenseman who was without an NHL contract prior to camp, Staios is glad to be back on a team where he can contribute on a nightly basis.

“I’ve found my role,” Staios said. “Coming in, I didn’t know where I would be, but through training camp it became more evident where I could most help the team. I just want to continue to build on that and continue to be reliable.”

Reliable is precisely the right word. Staios knows playing a strong defensive game will allow Streit to get up in the play and generate the scoring opportunities he’s known for.

“Playing with a guy with a lot of experience made it easier for me to get back into the game,” Streit said. “He’s strong defensively, he plays tough, he’s smart, he can skate and overall, he’s a really good defenseman.”

Just 60 games shy of his 1,000th career NHL game, one area that Staios would like to improve and be more of a contributor is on the Islanders penalty kill, an aspect of his game that has characterized his career.

“We are off to a decent start, but there are some things we want to tighten up,” Staios said. “We want to be a real force. Special teams are really important throughout the year and we want to have a real calm, steady improvement on that throughout the whole year.”

These veteran d-men complement each other well. Streit with a left shot and Staios with a right shot, they’ll continue to gain chemistry as they play together throughout the year.

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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