Kevin Schultz

Yesterday, one of the longest tenured Islanders received the honor of having an ‘A’ on his sweater.

amacAndrew MacDonald will be one of two assistant captains for the Islanders this year, along with Kyle Okposo. It’s a well-deserved honor for an Islander that is now one of the longest tenured players on the team. Based on draft status, he’s been with the organization longer than anyone save for Frans Nielsen and just as long as Kyle Okposo.

Around the league yesterday, some other teams did some weird stuff with their captain and alternate captain assignments.

In Buffalo, there are two captains. Steve Ott is the team’s captain on the road and Thomas Vanek is the captain at home. That’s such a cop out.

But you know what’s really a cop out?

The Edmonton Oilers having six assistant captains. SIX. The last few years the Islanders have had extra assistant captains (hence the A-Mac picture on the right)… But six? Since they’re not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings up in Edmonton are they going to give everyone a little mini-Stanley Cup at the end of the year?

Practice Notes

Travis Hamonic skated with the team yesterday and says he feels fine. Michael Grabner did not skate but was just feeling under the weather and should be good to go on Friday.

Blog notes

In an effort to beef up our on-site coverage this season, we’ll be trying to report from the Coliseum and other games as often as possible. This weekend, I’ll be in Newark on Friday and Christian will have coverage of the home opener Saturday and Tuesday against Phoenix.  Sometimes bloggers have to get out of their parent’s basements.

It only took 20 minutes for the fighting debate to come to the forefront of the NHL season.

Last night, the NHL kicked off the season with three nationally televised matchups, the first of which was Canadiens/Leafs in Montreal. It was a fight filled affair and in the third period there was an especially scary moment when George Parros hit the ice face-first during a fight and was knocked unconscious for nearly a minute.

It was an odd fall Parros took; not the typical kind you imagine when a fighter gets knocked out. He didn’t get knocked out from a punch or fall backwards and hit is head on the ice. Parros was fighting with Colton Orr and when Orr lost his balance and fell, he had a hold of Parros’ collar. Orr went down, taking Parros with him. Parros’ hands were caught up with Orr and he had nothing to brace himself with when he hit the ice chin first.

In a year where visors became mandatory for rookies as a sort of way to curtail fighting and generally improve player safety it only figures that the first game of the year will end with a player getting stretchered off after a fight.

So now fighting is immediately brought to the forefront and the debate will rage on, with the NHL presumably sitting on its hands or making another small rule change that doesn’t really appease either side somewhere down the line.

Anyway, if you want to see the picture or the video of the fight you can click here. But be warned, it’s not fun to watch. At all.

Michael Fornabaio catches up with Anders Nilsson in the CT Post about what caused him to miss so much time last season. Not totally sure, but this might be the first time Nilsson has been so candid about it:

He’d sleep 10 hours a night and still feel tired. He went through a battery of tests, and doctors couldn’t tell him much more than that he wasn’t dying.

“I feel even though I didn’t miss the whole season last year, it felt as (if) I did.”

The problems nailed him right away last year: He was scheduled to start the second night of the season but wasn’t feeling up to it, feeling run-down. He returned after a month but was shut down for about two months in February.

“My body stopped absorbing nutrients,” Nilsson said.

Several vitamin levels plummeted. He lost weight and couldn’t shake the fatigue.It took a while for doctors to figure it out, sorting through symptoms to determine that he was suffering from a gluten and dairy allergy.

“I’d never had it before,” he said.

Doctors told him the condition could be dormant in a person until environmental or diet changes trigger it — say, moving from Sweden to Connecticut.

It’s almost a little amazing that we don’t see more of this as athletes transition to new places and travel across the globe to pursue a career in the NHL.

Speaking from personal experience, I was sick almost constantly for two years after coming back from college in the south while my body adjusted.  Going from eighty degrees and shorts in March to the cold New York winter is more than just a mental transition, it can be a battle for the immune system. It’s also the same sort of reason why your grandparents go to Florida in the winter.  They avoid the tough New York winter and once they start doing that, it’s hard to stop because they’re not used to a cold climate in the winter. But of course it is different for everyone.

Also: Eyes on Isles debates whether the Isles should have signed Tim Thomas or kept Evgeni Nabokov…