Day one of Isles training camp is in the books. Players were excited to be back on Long Island getting ready for the season in just a few short weeks. Head Coach Jack Capuano and a few players spoke with the media shortly after they finished for the day. Here’s what they had to say.
“It feels great. Obviously the competition in camp, the excitement of getting back in the mood, the pace was high out there today from the veteran guys to the young guys. You can see the speed we have as a group, and all the skill level top to bottom”, was Tavares response when reporters asked him on his thoughts after his group skated today.
Tavares also acknowledged the belief that GM Garth Snow has in him and his teammates based on making very little moves to the roster since the end of last season. “Certainly. I think him and the organization looked from top to bottom at the team we had last year, and how deep and healthy the organization is. It shows you can rely on a lot internally.”
Kyle Okposo who is coming into camp after going through the eye injury last season was another guy who showed his enthusiasm for beginning the new season. When asked about getting back on the ice, Okposo said “It feels good to just be back. It was a long summer, and all of us are happy to get back on the ice and get back into the routine.”
Kyle also spoke about their being good comradery and chemistry from last year making its way into this season when referring to the Islanders basically being the same team as last year.
Matt Martin praised the management and the coaching staff for showing confidence not only last year, but also going into this year. Martin stated “By keeping us together, they believe in us as a group, and as athletes. It makes things a lot easier when they show that confidence. Obviously guys get moved all the time, you lose friends, you can be moved any day, and when they us that this is the team they want to win with, it goes a long way.”
Ryan Strome was with the second group who skated today, he is expected to up his game from a year ago. Strome embraced the feeling of being back and getting camp going. Even though Strome is still one of the youngest players on the team, he understands about the importance of the team not going through major changes in the off-season.
“We’re confident in this group. I know we were one goal away in a bad game seven we played in. I like how Garth kept the team together. I think the guys all liked it, and it’s kind of upon us to take that next step, hopefully were ready for that.”
Jack Capuano was adamant about the players paying close attention to details in regards having the same roster from last year slight minor changes. “I think we have been successful because its about details and about structure. For me, sometimes its good to have a lot of guys back, and sometimes its challenging for a coach. I think our guys know the expectations of our hockey club. That’s the thing to me that stands out is we have healthy competition.”
One last tidbit was Cappy discussing how much a learning curve it will be in the pre-season to prepare for the three on three overtime. “I think everybody is going to utilize it differently. There’s some things that I’ve already studied. Your guys are going to have to be able to skate and try and find what works best for your hockey club.”
And just like that, were one day closer to the season officially getting underway. Over the next few weeks, questions will be answered, and positions will be filled. The Islanders are back, and the players and organization know today was the first step to achieving the ultimate goal.