But as Berard said Friday, he and Columbus coach and general manager Ken Hitchcock "didn't see eye-to-eye from Day 1."
"I just thank Ted and Garth for the opportunity," Berard said after the first scrimmage of training camp Friday. "To be honest, the last two years have been a little tough trying to come back from two back surgeries that probably could have been solved with one operation. It was frustrating."
"They lost key guys like Sean Hill and Tom Poti," Berard said. "They signed Sutton, but he's more defensive. Bergy plays the right side on the power play, and I like the left side. Things could work out.
"I've got to show them I can play at a top level again. I have no doubts offensively, but as an offensive defenseman, you have the reputation that you struggle defensively. I want to show them that I've grown up."
NYI Fan Central Commments: How long could Ken Hitchcock have coached Berard last season considering the number of games he played and Hitchcock coming over after being fired from the Flyers?
All due respect to Bryan Berard, but for as tough as Hitchcock can be on some players, he's a top flight coach and well respected. Should be interesting to see how he gets along with Ted Nolan when some adversity happens. He's going to have to show not only has he grown up but he's able to play defense to make this team.
Should be very interesting to see if the Islanders do wish to sign him will contract negotiations become a problem? He has no obligation to sign here once camp ends, just because Dunham and Park signed. It's no lock Berard will sign here if another team jumps in with a better offer if he has a great camp.
The Times and Transcript provides us two updates today, one
Isles a hit in Metro also Competition for spots on Islanders roster intense
Among the comments:
"I would think by the time we get on that plane back to Long Island there will be some cuts," says general manager Garth Snow.
"It's like any other training camp, a little bit rusty, you could tell the guys had quite a bit of time off," says Nolan.
While there are only a few openings available, Nolan says training camp is a time where players looking for contracts can steal a job. It's also a time where a veteran player who gets complacent about his status, can lose a job.
"We talked to the team before we left. There will be some jobs won here," says the coach.
"I want to see what they have to offer," says Nolan. "A lot of them I haven't seen play and that's what these scrimmages are for. See how they react, how they anticipate, their demeanor, how they jump on the ice, see their alertness, their hockey sense."
The 60 players in camp are divided into three teams, all named for past Islanders greats: Team Gillies, Team Trottier and Team Bossy. Two teams play a scrimmage each day, while the other team practices in another rink. Yesterday it was Bossy vs. Trottier, with Gillies practising in the next rink.
Snow says the team plans to make good use of the four ice surfaces and had three going simultaneously yesterday.
"We're trying to be efficient in the time we're allowed to have players at the rink," says the GM. "We're only allowed to have them here for three hours the first five days of training camp.
"The luxury of being in the four-plex here is there's plenty of ice and players don't have to sit around and wait for the Zamboni. They can start skating on the other sheet. That's why it's a perfect fit for us. We're happy to be in this community."
And the community seems happy to have the team here. Approximately 80 fans came out to watch yesterday's practice, some even sporting the Islanders' famous blue and orange jersey with the iconic logo. Fans of all ages came out, from toddlers to seniors.
"We're very fortunate we're in a hockey community such as Moncton and we've been welcomed with open arms," says Snow. "Moncton was a perfect fit. We love being in New York also, but it's a chance for us to get the guys together, maybe give them a break from waking up with the little ones and they can sleep in an extra half hour or hour."
Taking the team on the road, away from New York, also helps build team chemistry at the start of camp, especially with so many new faces at camp.
"I think some of the guys are playing paint ball this afternoon, the guys have their golf clubs and will be out golfing at the local courses here," says Snow. "The guys are really looking forward to immersing themselves in the community."
Centre Mike Comrie, who signed a one-year deal with the club in the off-season, says there's a lot to do to get ready for the season.
"We're just starting camp, so there's some work ahead of us," he says, after coming off the ice. "I think everyone expects this team to have a good work ethic and we're excited about our opportunity and know we need to work hard every night to be successful."
NHL.com did another feature on Kevin Colley that had some of the same comments from the article posted here a day or so ago and a few new comments.
Michael Fornabaio's blog provided an update that let us know vet centerman Marc Cavosie is also in camp but not sure if he signed or is in camp on a tryout. Unfortunately he's not in camp as the Ct Post did not send him to Moncton.
NYI Fan Central Comments:In that seventeen minute video of the scrimmage yesterday, Cavosie was very visible on the goal he scored.
Jason Blake tells how he got to be put on a line with Alexei Yashin last year
After four games, Blake approached coach Ted Nolan and requested to be bumped up to the team's top line centred by the enigmatic Alexei Yashin, "(Park and Bates) are great players and great guys but I just needed a little offence,"Blake said. "I just asked if I could play with Yashin and it worked.
"When (Nolan) put me in that role, I knew that this was it. This is the best shot, so you do your best. "I just didn't like my (previous) role."
NYI Fan Central Comments:
What was not mentioned by Blake was he played the final month of 2005-06 with Alexei Yashin as his center under Brad Shaw after Yashin looked great with Bergenheim and Robert Nilsson in that short stretch. Seems like Blake wants no part of crediting Alexei Yashin with a good part of the success of his forty goal season because the Toronto media are not fans of Yashin and it would only make problems for him as he also had to hold back at his press conference. Anyone who watched Islander hockey last season knows Blake struggled for a good part of the second half without Yashin.