Training Camp Summary – Monday 9/19
Due to a car crash in Freeport and a manhunt in Bellmore slowing everything down on Sunrise Highway today, my arrival was delayed at Iceworks until about 11am and I was only able to catch the last 15 minutes or so of the Isles 1st practice squad finishing up their drills. From the looks and sounds of the guys on the ice, it seemed like the team had a good skate. DiPietro and Montoya were in nets when I walked in and both continued to look sharp against the pucks I saw thrown at them.
2nd squad skated on about 11:40am and things got going pretty quick with stretches and skate drills. Once coach Capuano entered the rink, pucks dropped and it was go time. Nabokov and Nilsson covered the nets and both were kept busy throughout until Poulin stepped on to share the load.
The team was put through a consistent amount of fast paced drills with a focus on forechecking and neutral zone breakouts. The defense got more than enough chances to show off their backward skating skills and the forwards were given a ton of opportunities to let as much rubber fly as they could. The one on one and two on two “out of the corner” battles at the end of practice capped off a high energy session with a little bit of physical play that quickly reminded you that these guys are fighting for jobs. As far as practices go, this was a fun one to watch.
Goalies: Nabokov remains sharp and impressive. You can easily see the veteran skills stand out in his poise and reaction when compared to young guys Poulin and Nilsson. Poulin is very solid and confident in the paint. Nilsson, a giant who fills up a lot of the net, is slow at times and may just need more time adjusting to the pace.
Defense: Steve Staios made his debut today after being offered a tryout by the Islanders and I was sold. I know he’s not a guy who put up a lot of points the past few seasons but if you are looking for a smart, dependable veteran defensive defenseman with great vision and a ton of NHL game experience, then this guy is a perfect fit for the Isles. He wants to be here. He looks to be in great shape, a fast skater and quick with the breakout pass. I’m looking forward to watching Staios as camp goes forward.
Forwards: Tavares, Niederreiter and Moulson skated with each other today and it’s a line I’d like to see in game action. They were all business out there, communicating well and created some good opportunities.
Coaching: As most folks outside of the organization probably are and especially me more than others right now, who are covering the team for the first time, I’m still learning and just beginning to get familiar with Coach Capuano. I’ll say this, from the few days of camp I’ve attended so far, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen and how he conducts himself on the ice. No doubt a pro. Good communicator, observer and commander. The team obviously responded to him well when he came on board last season and I’m pretty confident they’ll continue to respond just as well this season and be prepared for every game in 2011/12.
Practice Standouts: Cizikas, Backman, McNeely, Streit, Rolston, Parenteau and Mottau
More from Isles Camp Tuesday when things move back to Nassau Coliseum.
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