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Islanders putting in the extra effort during practice

With three full practices before Friday's preseason tilt against Nashville, the Islanders are spending extra time on the ice and in the video room

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 4:09 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Islanders putting in the extra effort during practice
With three full practices before Friday\'s preseason tilt against Nashville, the Islanders are spending extra time on the ice and in the video room.\r\n\r\nAfter five preseason games in six days last week, the Islanders are in the midst of four practice days between games. Head coach Jack Capuano is using that time to get his club on the same page and implement his system....

After five preseason games in six days last week, the Islanders are in the midst of four practice days between games. Head coach Jack Capuano is using that time to get his club on the same page and implement his system.

“When you get some extended time, it’s important to practice your structure,” Capuano said. “Especially on the power play and the penalty kill, it’s important because obviously that wins hockey games. We’re doing a lot of teaching and we’re showing some video to the guys. We still have some time before [opening night] to accomplish what we want.”

This week’s practices have taken on a high level of intensity. Players are on the ice for extra work by 9:00 a.m. for practices that officially begin at 10:00. Another hard skate Wednesday included plenty of power play, penalty kill and breakout drills, something defenseman Thomas Hickey says will pay dividends once the season begins.

“We’ve had a lot more time to work on things,” Hickey said. “We can go for more reps and we can go a bit harder with time in between games. It’s been really important for us to get there and work hard against each other. It hasn’t been easy but it’s making us better.”

Captain John Tavares noted that for the Islanders, there’s no better time than the present to work on X’s and O’s.

“We’re going over a lot of video and a lot of the systems so it could mean long days, but that’s part of getting ready for the season,” Tavares said. “We have to take advantage of our practice time now because we know what the schedule will be like, especially the second half of the year.”

Capuano has said that there will continue to be personnel changes on the special teams units. With different rosters for each preseason game to this point, he has experimented with different power play and penalty kill combinations. On Wednesday, everyone in the Coliseum practice group got a chance to participate in 5-on-4 and 4-on-5 drills.

“I think he’s looking at everyone and that there’s room for guys to step in different situations,” forward Colin McDonald said. “A lot of guys have to get looks during the preseason because we don’t have our full line-up every night. Guys are going to play in situations that maybe they normally wouldn’t, but it’s good for each of us to see how we can expand on the roles we had last year.”

Capuano added that improving the penalty kill is a priority for his team. Last season, the penalty kill struggled down the stretch, allowing 12 goals over the last 12 games (including playoffs), and the head coach says it needs to be better for the Islanders to improve their standings position and return to the postseason.

“We are going to have a few changes for sure in our penalty kill. We struggled a little bit especially in the playoffs against Pittsburgh. So there will be a few adjustments there, on our 5-on-5 and our power play. I don’t think we’ll change a whole lot but we’ll adjust as our opposition adjusts.”

The Islanders will try to put it all together on Friday, Sept. 22, when the Nashville Predators visit the Coliseum. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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