On Wednesday morning, 39 Islanders prospects and camp invitees flocked to Islanders Iceworks for the annual Islanders Prospect Camp. Islanders fans from across Long Island visited Syosset to see some of the Islanders' brightest young stars, including Jeff Tambellini, Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo
as well as some not-so-familiar faces like recent draft picks Mark Katic
and Jason Gregoire.
Here are some notes and quotes from Day 1 at the Prospects Camp.
* Day 1's activities consisted of some off-ice testing, which at times was light, including the reach test, but also draining – the VO2 Max cardio test. The players hit the ice for about 45 minutes, participating in simple odd-man rushing drills. Bryan Trottier and Dan Lacroix were on the ice with the boys, getting a feel for the group.
"This camp isn't about improving players," said Trottier. "The focus is to give them a feel for the pace of an NHL practice. It was a pretty light day. We were just trying to get the rust off their skates and get the goalies a feel for the puck. This camp is important for the coaches to get a feel for the kids. It's nice to put a face to a name, but there's very little evaluation going on. It's more to familiarize us with our prospects. Expect tomorrow to be a little tougher with more off-ice training."
* Speaking of mock interviews, the Islanders Media Relations department in conjunction with Islanders TV organized a mock interview between Steve Mears and Jeff Tambellini. The interview was designed to help teach the young prospects the type of questions they might encounter with the media. Not surprisingly, Tamby earned an "A" for his answering skills.
* Looking for the next Alex Ovechkin-like tongue waggle? Look no further than 2006 fourth round pick Rhett Rakhshani
. The bulked-up sophomore to be at Denver University was seen dangling his tongue almost every time he streaked down the wing.
* Besides Ted Nolan, there isn't an Islander more excited than Mike Mole about training camp being held up in Moncton this year.
"I have family near Yarmouth, which is where we were last year," said Mole. "Now we're in Moncton, where I have even more family. It's like the Islanders are personally catering to me."
* This was the first Islanders Prospect Camp for strength and conditioning coach Graham Black, who was hired just after last year's Mini-camp.
"We're not looking to find the players in the best shape," said Black. "We're just looking to see where they are now compared to where they will be at training camp. It's just a base line."
* The entire 2007 Islanders draft class is at the Mini-camp: Mark Katic
(3rd round), Jason Gregoire (3rd round), Max Gratchev (4th round), Blake Kessel (6th round) and Simon Lacroix. (7th round).
* The debate is finally over: Jason Gregoire's last name is pronounced greg-WAHR, like in "armoire."
for ISLANDERS MINI CAMP 2007 - Day IThe prospects will be back on the ice Thursday at 11:15 am.