Greg Logan had updated his Newsday blog Greetings from Moncton and provides the following:
“When you go into a battle, you want competitors,” Nolan said. “Long Island fans are very passionate, and they seem to enjoy a very competitive type of team. The fans are very important to us. We want to bring people in who are going to entertain the fans and make this a place where people want to come and be a part of it and not get cheated [in terms of effort] in coming to one of our games.”
The battles begin today in camp, and Nolan has a pretty good idea of the line combinations he wants to look at first. Starting out, the top line will put center Mike Comrie with right wing Guerin and veteran free agent Ruslan Fedotenko at left wing. Free agent center Josef Vasicek, who previously was known to Nolan as the first European captain of Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL, will be teamed with Miroslav Satan as his right wing. Free agent Jonathan Sim and young Jeff Tambellini both will get a shot at left wing on what Nolan hopes will be a scoring line.
The one line that remains intact from last season is the so-called “third line” with Mike Sillinger centering right wing Trent Hunter and left wing Andy Hilbert. They were the Isles' best two-way line last season, generally matched against the opponents’ top line while still managing a major contribution on offense. Veteran Richard Park, who spent most of his time as a penalty killer last season, will center the fourth line, which will include either Tambellini or Sim on one wing and either Chris Simon or Sean Bergenheim on the other wing. Simon, of course, will miss the first five games of the season to complete his suspension for a stick-swinging incident last season.
Veteran center Shawn Bates is said to be still recovering from the groin injury and hernia surgery that sidelined him at the end of last season. Snow said Bates won’t participate in practices until he’s 100 percent healthy. But two young centers who could get into the mix are Frans Nielsen, who played well in his brief time with the Isles last season, and Ben Walter, who was acquired from Boston after scoring 67 points for AHL Providence last season. So, if there are injuries or if Vasicek fails to live up to expectations, there is some depth at the center position.
One key element to watch throughout training camp and the exhibition season will be the performance of the defense. Nolan and new assistants Gerard Gallant and John Chabot have installed a new system and new goaltender coach Mike Dunham has worked out the communication system between the defense and DiPietro.
“We’re not as big as certain teams, so, we have to rely on our positioning,” Nolan said. “We’re not as fast as certain teams, so, we have to rely on our puck movement. We designed a little bit different defensive scheme to compensate for things we’re lacking.”
Assistant Dan Lacroix also has a new role. Nolan said he will move upstairs to the pressbox to provide a live feed with his observations on how to make corrections during games.
Michael Fornabaio's blog update where he spoke to a few players Wednesday is in this article in today's Ct Post. Among those highlights are the following on Jeremy Colliton recovering from surgery and new Islander Ben Walter:
You've got to take (motion) away to heal it," Colliton said, "then you've got to work through the scar tissue to get the range back, the strength."Walter was in a crowded situation in Boston. With the Islanders, there may be room to move up into a center's spot in time; if he plays in Bridgeport this year, he'll be a key player. "The last 24 hours have been a little crazy," Walter said. "They've made me feel really welcome since I got here."
Colliton said he started feeling good in the last few weeks of August. "I started doing more competitive stuff. Scrimmages, just doing battle drills," Colliton said. "When I could start doing that, I felt, 'I'm going to be all right.'"
Walter, meanwhile, was ready to join the Boston Bruins for training camp this week. Then, Tuesday, he was off to Long Island in a deal for Petteri Nokelainen. "It was definitely a bit of a surprise, especially this late in the summer," Walter said. "I'm excited. I'm really excited to be here. I hope things work out for the best."
The campers had a team dinner Wednesday night with the team's brass, including owner Charles Wang. After another get-together Thursday, they were off to Moncton, New Brunswick. "I just want to make an impression," Colliton said. "I want to show I'm healthy, obviously, and show what I'm capable of, to show them I'm able to contribute and help the team win. I just want to be effective."
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Unfortunately the Ct Post does not pay for Mr Fornabaio to attend camp, first comments from Walter and an update on Colliton combined with telling us Charles Wang had dinner with the club. Post, Daily News and Times did not send a writer to camp or did not post an update today.
Isles alumni got together today in Moncton and included Bryan Trottier, Anders Kallur, Gerry Hart, Ken Morrow, Bob Bourne, Steve Webb, Eric Cairns and general manager Garth Snow.
Islanders first practice has the following combinations:
Team Gillies – one of three Islanders squads at Training Camp – which did not in participate in today's scrimmage has the No. 1 line of Mike Comrie centering Ruslan Fedotenko on the left and captain Bill Guerin on the right.
For Team Trottier, Josef Vasicek effectively was the pivot on a line with Jeff Tambellini on the left and Miroslav Satan on the right. Tambellini scored the first goal of the scrimmage off a pretty feed from Vasicek.
On the other side, Mike Sillinger was reunited with Trent Hunter on the right, with new Islander Jon Sim on the left. Also for Team Bossy, Richard Park centered Chris Simon, who took left wing and Sean Bergenheim.
The defense pairings saw Chris Campoli with Bruno Gervais, Brendan Witt and Marc-Andre Bergeron, Andy Sutton with Radek Martinek and Freddy Meyer with Aaron Johnson.
Langley Times gives us our first interview from Ben Walter.
“A little bit,” Walter said when asked if the trade caught him off guard.
“Just with the way the situation was in Boston, I was kind of wondering if something might happen.
“But is it always a surprise.”
“On the other hand, I am really excited to be an Islander,” Walter said.
“I am going to do my best to make this team.”
The Islanders are holding their training camp in Moncton, N.B. this season.
“I am just excited to be somewhere where they are real excited to have me,” Walter said. “I am going to get a spot to compete for a spot here in camp and that is all I can ask for.”