Among the highlights:
We’re all trying to get ready for the first regular-season game, but we all want to work hard and show each other we’re ready to play. It’s always a lot of fun playing against an organization’s rivals.”
As athletes, we worry about ourselves and what we have to do as a team and not so much about our opponents as individuals. Playing with Billy and Ruslan [left wing Fedotenko], we know we’ve got to be ready to play, especially the eight games that we play against each of our division rivals.
“It’s pretty important,” Guerin said. “For us these are the biggest games of the year against the Rangers, and we’re at home. You want to get off on the right foot. You don’t want to stumble out of the gate. The best thing is just to relax and play, but there is some importance for us.
“You’ve got the guys who were there all the time, but the new guys coming in want to be a part of it right away. They want to show they belong. The best stage to do it on is against your biggest opponents.”
* Islanders coach Ted Nolan said he expects to go with a predominantly veteran lineup in the Rangers games tonight and Friday at Madison Square Garden and in the final exhibition Sunday in Boston. More young players will be added to the lineup for road games against the Devils Wednesday at Lowell, Mass. and in a rematch Saturday night at Bridgeport.
* Five of the Islanders’ six free-agent signees will be in the lineup tonight, including Comrie, Guerin and Fedotenko on the top line, second-line center Josef Vasicek and defenseman Andy Sutton. Only Jonathan Sim will sit out along with linemates Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter. Others scratched tonight include veteran center Richard Park, forward Darryl Bootland and defensemen Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais.
* Vasicek will center a line with Miroslav Satan and Jeff Tambellini; Sean Bergenheim, Andy Hilbert and Blake Comeau, likely will skate on the third line, and the fourth line consists of Chris Simon, Jeremy Colliton and Kip Brennan.
“I still think the intensity will be there whether it’s an exhibition game or a playoff game,” Nolan said. “The intensity’s always there when you play your archrival, but we have to take into consideration that it’s still training camp and we’re still evaluating. We’re trying to give people a chance to make the final roster.”