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A VETERAN PRESENCE

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

By Jason Lockhart and Adam Baruch



Having already accumulated over 300 man-games lost to injury this season, it's no surprise that the Islanders have had to dig into their prospect pool to fill roster spots. The result has been a young lineup that hasn't been seen on Long Island since the end of the 2005-06 season.

Luckily, the prospects have not been thrown into the lion's den without any guidance. Besides the coaching staff, the players also have a number of veterans to look up to. It's starts with the captain – Bill Guerin.

Bill Guerin
Having played in the league for 17 years, Guerin is no stranger to playing with rookies, but as captain, his role of leader has take on a new meaning.

"I've been telling the guys to enjoy what they're doing and to just make the most of it," said Guerin. "I told them to do something to catch people's eyes and make a statement because this is a great opportunity. Some of them could be here next year and this is a way for them to make sure that they will."

Guerin harkens back to his first call-up with the New Jersey Devils during the 1992-93 season.

"My first game was a great experience for me," recalled Guerin. "It was in the middle of the season and it was in Chicago at the old Stadium. My second game was in Winnipeg. It was a two-game road trip. I just had the greatest time. It was a big moment."

Despite not being in the lineup due to injury, alternate captain Brendan Witt has still made his presence felt around the locker room.
Brendan Witt

"I have just told them to have fun and take advantage of the situation and play," said Witt. "I think for young defensemen, it’s the next hardest position to play after the goaltender. When you keep it simple out there it’s an easier game.”

Witt remembers his first year with Washington in 1995-96, when he was only 20 years old.

“I was scared," admitted Witt. I was just a young guy coming into the league and you’re actually playing with men, not boys anymore. It’s a little intimidating at first, but then a lot of the older guys take you under their wing and help you find your way. My first training camp I was paired up with Kevin Hatcher and he took me under his wing, and so did Al Iafrate, who was my roommate. I don’t want to say they babysat me, but they made sure I was on time for stuff and learned the ropes.”

Catch Guerin and the rest of the Islanders, tomorrow at 7 pm when they visit the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. You can watch the game on MSG Plus 2 or listen live on Bloomberg 1130.



A NIGHT FOR THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS
Join the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region for an exciting night with the Islanders, when they face Philadelphia on March 29; $50 seats for just $35

The Islanders are proud to team up with the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region. End mezzanine seats, valued at $50, are being sold for $35 to the Saturday, March 29 Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers game at the Nassau Coliseum.

A portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.

The Special Olympics was founded to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community. Through their participation in Special Olympics athletes gain confidence and build a positive self-image, which carries into the classroom, the home, the workplace and the community.

Don't miss this special night. To purchase $50 tickets to the Islanders-Flyers game for just $35 and contribute to a great cause, please contact Anthony Mercogliano or Theresa Redlein at 631.254.1465 or
amercogliano@nyso.org

Thank you for your help!

Click here for more information about the Special Olympics New York-Long Island Region.




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