Training camp updates: Day 1

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Uniondale, N.Y. — The Islanders finally hit the ice for the first time of the 2014-15 campaign. It’s also the last, first skate of training camp ever at the Nassau Coliseum… Variations of that phrase will be used a lot this season.

Jack Capuano and the Islanders coaching staff put the first group (A) through a tough workout. Nikolay Kulemin called today’s practice “an intense” one. (On a side note: several people noted that Kulemin’s named was spelled differently than how it has been seen in the past. I was told by an Islanders PR person the spelling of his first name has been changed.)

The players looked good on the ice. You can already tell these guys know they’ll be fighting for spots. Below are the lines that skated for Group A, courtesy of Arthur Staple. I would not look too much into these at the moment:

  • Michael Dal-Colle-Ryan Strome-Kyle Okposos
  • Nikolay Kulemin-Mikhail Grabovski-Jack Skille
  • John Persson-Alan Quine-Colin McDonald
  • Eric-Boulton-Chris Langkow-Mike Halmo

Isles announce five tryout contracts

The Islanders announced they have come to terms with five players on professional tryout contracts.

The players:

  • Justin Courtnall
  • Colton Gillies
  • Chris Langkow
  • C.J. Stretch
  • Scooter Vaughan

Islanders announce training camp schedule

The New York Islanders announced their schedule for the team’s training camp.

The Islanders will begin their final training camp at Nassau Coliseum on Friday with the first group of players taking the ice at 9:10 a.m. The Islanders will also skate at Islanders Ice Works twice in the coming week.

Below is the full camp schedule:  To read more of this story, click here

Nassau Coliseum Memories: Brian Erni

Throughout the season Islanders Point Blank will speak with fans, players and media about their favorite memories at Nassau Coliseum…


Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

We continue our Coliseum memories series with a friend of the site. Brian Erni is the lead writer over at (how ironic, right?) and he is also a diehard Islanders fan. In the spirit of friendship (and cross promotion) we spoke with him about his memories about the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.

IPB: How long have you been a fan of the Islanders?

Erni: I got interested in hockey around 1991, and my Islanders fandom started right away. My grandmother had gotten my dad Islanders season tickets for hisphoto 2 high school graduation gift. He gave them up prior to the 1979-80 season. Unreal, right? But he was there for the development of those Cup teams, and did get to Game 6 when the Isles clinched their first Cup. My mom and him frequented a place called Dr. Generosity’s, which many long-time fans will recognize. The owner had one extra seat for the game and gave it to my dad, so needless to say, this team was in my blood.

IPB: Do you remember your first game you ever attended?

Erni: I remember what was supposed to be my first game: February 1994 against the Washington Capitals. The plan was to have a banner weekend: a sleepover at my best friend’s house, followed by my first Islanders game with my dad and my uncles. I went home after the sleepover to pick up my jersey for the game and boom! A stomach virus hits. Instead of watching the Isles, I’m laid up at my grandparents watching the Olympics in Lillehammer. I think I finally got there later that season, but man, was I disappointed.

IPB: What was the best game you’ve been to at the Nassau Coliseum?

Erni: Yes, I could easily go with one of my favorite playoff games (I’ll get to that for in a moment), but there is a game that always sticks out in my mind: January 29, 1999 against the then-Phoenix Coyotes.

If you’re looking for some hidden meaning, don’t sweat it, because it’s not there. The Coyotes were good. Very good, in fact. An eventual-90 point team (good for fourth in the West) with Jeremy Roenick, Shane Doan, Keith Tkachuk and Rick Tocchet. These were big time players, and the Islanders could only counter with the likes of Zigmund Palffy (my all-time favorite Islander), Trevor Linden, Maruisz Czerkawski, Claude Lapointe and Robert Reichel. The Isles went down 2-0 in the first, got one back in the second, but then went down 4-1 in the third. It was another typical Saturday night in Islanders country in 1999. “Comeback,” I leaned over and said to my dad, which both prompted us to explode into laughter. Only something happened: they came back! The Isles rattled off three  unanswered goals to tie it and send it to overtime. The game ended in a 4-4 tie (no four-on-four and a loser point back then, so it was a nervous trap-heavy five minute overtime).

To read more of this story, click here

Chatting with Calvin de Haan

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

The Isles’ 23-year-old defenseman Calvin de Haan will play an intricate role on the Islanders defense this season. He appeared in 51 games last season for the Isles and recorded 16 points (three goals, 13 assists). de Haan will likely make the roster out of training camp. Islanders Point Blank chatted with the young defenseman about the upcoming season.

IPB: What were you working on this summer?


de Haan: Just everything. Strength, speed, you know, everything that can make you a better hockey player and better on the ice.

IPB: Coming into this season, how much pressure do you feel on yourself knowing you’re going to be one of the leaders on the defensive side on this team?

de Haan: I don’t think there’s any pressure. You know, I just have to play the way I play and I can’t really change anything. I just have to do what I do best. You know, defend hard and move pucks. Keep it simple and do the right things on the ice.

IPB: It seemed like, as the season went along, things defensively got better. What was it that made you guys better and how do you translate that to this season?

de Haan: I think we had a younger group, per say, back there and I think everyone just got a little more accustomed to the NHL game. It definitely takes time. I know for myself I struggled for my first few weeks, but once you learn to play the game and learn how to just keep things simple really. Less is more, usually, in the NHL and it seems like that’s a good plan for success. I think we just have to keep doing that going into this season, for sure.

IPB: Obviously it helps that everyone has that time and experience to get accustomed.

de Haan: Of course. Every little bit of experience helps and it doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or if you’re 40. The experience definitely helps.

IPB: The team added some forwards and goaltenders this summer. Does that feel like a vote of confidence in the defense knowing that you guys are relatively untouched?

de Haan: I’d like to think so, I guess. You know obviously the management, the coaching staff thought we did some good things out there and didn’t necessarily have to change things. But at the end of the day that’s up to the management and coaching staff to make that decision.

IPB: How much confidence do you have knowing you have a guy like Chad Johnson backing up Jaroslov Halak in net – not to knock anyone in net from last year?

de Haan: Yeah, they’ve established themselves now. You know it’s good. It’s hard to kind of explain that. Everyone just has to do their job back there and that’s gonna help us win games. To read more of this story, click here

Islanders Point Blank Podcast: NBC’s Ed Olczyk calls in’s Brian Compton and Christian Arnold of Islanders Point Blank dive into the Twitter mailbag to answer the biggest questions on the minds of Isles’ fans. Plus, Brian chats with NBC’s Ed Olczyk to preview the Central Division.

For the show rundown, click here...

  • Twitter questions
    • Pulock or Pokka?
    • Grabs or Bails?
    • Ryan Strome
    • Griffin Reinhart
  • Ed Olczyk previews the Central Division (12:00)
  • More Islanders’ ownership news (27:15)
  • What to expect entering training camp…