by Bloomberg 1130's Chris King
The Olympics are over, and now it is time for the Islanders to focus on the remaining 26 games in the hopes of reaching the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. After practice today, I sat down with the five Islanders who had a chance to play in Italy, and asked each of them to share some Olympic memories one last time before moving on to the stretch drive of the NHL schedule.
"It was great it was an amazing experience. Just to say that I got a chance to play in the Olympics is a highlight for my career. Obviously we were disappointed we wanted to bring back a gold medal. But when you take a step back, I realize I had the chance to have my parents, my family, my wife all be there with me, and see how excited they were when it was all said and done. I'm proud that they got a chance to see me play in the Olympics. I'm proud that I had the chance to represent my country. It was a huge honor and I would do it again in a heartbeat."
"It's always a special experience to represent your country, but we came up a little bit short in the last two games. I think our game against Canada was great because we really played like a team and proved we were able to beat a great team. I played with Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and so many other great players, like Evgeni Malkin, who are so young and have all kinds of talent they represent the future of Russian hockey."
"It was awesome it was the thrill of a lifetime. It's something I will cherish the rest of my life. Hopefully my kids weren't too young that they won't remember it. Just to play at the highest level of hockey in the world, in international competition, in one of the biggest tournaments ever it was fun. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. It's unfortunate that we didn't get a medal or move on, but I got to share a great experience with my wife and two kids. That for me was just as meaningful as the trip over there. I also had the chance to meet with Wayne Gretzky he took a picture with my little guy, he held my little guy and that's obviously something we'll all remember forever."
"It's always nice to participate in the Olympics. It's one of the oldest sports traditions and competitions in history. It's always a great honor just to be a part of it. Getting a chance to play alongside Peter Bondra was at the top of my list. He's a very experienced player, very well liked back home, and also very respected. He's also a very good friend of mine, and he said this might be his last Olympics. Playing on the same line with him was quite an honor."
"It was a great experience, but it was also disappointing. If anything, I came out of it with a tremendously sick feeling in my stomach almost a missed opportunity to do something great. Anytime you get a chance to play with all those guys on USA hockey, we have a blast. They're a great team, a great group of guys, and we're all disappointed we couldn't move on in that quarterfinal game. But at the end of the day, my focus is already here. We've got some serious business to take care of and it's not going to be easy. The intensity level is going to be there, so it's just a matter of getting a little bit of a rest, getting yourself adjusted to the time change so your not so fatigued all the time."