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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Your source for first-person news from the West Coast swing

Islander fans: while Ted Nolan's crew opens the season with four games on the West Coast, the WE'RE ALL ISLANDERS BLOG is the place to go for up-to-the-minute news, notes and observations from your favorite team. Here's a unique chance to get the news directly from the source.

Islanders players and coaches will discuss what's going on on the road, at practice and in the games. Broadcasters will share their insights. Islanders media relations staffers will post breaking news from the trip. Enjoy.



JASON BLAKE, Islanders forward
The guys in the room really care

Maybe the only good thing is that we have a game in less than 24 hours. I can't begin to tell you how frustrated I am right now. Kozlov threw me a perfect pass. I guess they were possibly keying on Yashin because they lost me. I broke in on Cloutier and beat him. Well kind of beat him. The pipe got me. We have to forget about this one and focus on the Ducks tomorrow. They're a great team.

The one thing that absolutely has to change are the penalties. It's been a problem for our team for a couple of years now and it hasn't gone away. It just has to stop.

The guys in this room really care. We have a great coaching staff and a lot of talent in there and a lot of passion. I know we're struggling right now and the results haven't been there but I hope the fans can see it. Our only goal is to get a win tomorrow night in Anaheim so we can have a great home opener on Saturday.

Posted by Jason Blake at 1:25 am EST

TED NOLAN, Islanders head coach
We have to stop taking penalties

We were a couple of inches away. That's a very disappointed and angry team in our room right now. If Blakey puts that in we have a tie game and we're on our way.

The Kings' speed was probably the difference. We spent a lot of time in the game chasing them around. We're going to be facing fast teams all year and we're going to have to work on our defensive zone coverage to make up for it. Their speed was probably the biggest reason we spent so much time in the penalty box. We've talked about it all week, but only in San Jose were we able to stay out of the box much. We have to stop taking penalties.

I thought Jason Blake played a heck of a game; Richard Park, too. Rick DiPietro was very strong, but we're going to need contributions from a whole lot more.

Posted by Ted Nolan at 1:15 am EST



CHRIS KING, Islanders radio color commentator
No lineup changes

I'm sending this from the radio broadcast center inside Staples Center as Steve Mears and I get set for the pre-game show. I spoke with assistant coach Danny Flynn just a little while ago and he confirmed for me that there will be no lineup changes for tonight's game.

That means Jeff Tambellini and Joel Bouchard will be out again. At least to start, expect the line combinations to be similar to Saturday night.

Ted Nolan mentioned after today's morning skate that Rick DiPietro will likely start in Anaheim on Wednesday night. Although Ted said he reserved the right to change his mind, he said he was leaning toward giving Rick the test of back-to-backs.

Posted by CHRIS KING at 9:45 pm EST


JOSH BERNSTEIN, Islanders' VP of Communications
More on Islanders TV

Hello again in Islander-land and greetings from the left coast.

Things here are going well, but it's another busy week for Islanders TV. Yesterday, we conducted an extended sitdown interview with Hall of Famer Jiggs McDonald, which we will add to our œLegends? series. We have already interviewed Bryan Trottier, Bob Nystrom, and Ken Morrow, and have booked a sitdown with Clark Gillies for when we return from this road trip.

We got some good pub in Sunday's Newsday. Great article by their fine columnist Neil Best on what Islanders TV is, and when you will be able to see it.  Season ticket holders are enjoying a free preview of it now, and soon all Islander fans will get their shot at a preview.

We've also done more editions of œIslanders Today our daily Islanders practice show.  It's hosted by Islanders radio hosts Steve Mears and Chris King, and consists of 2 parts. The first part is a 15 minute segment with video and live commentary from the boys on what is happening on the ice and in Islander-land.  The second part is a 15 minute segment where you can watch the Islanders practice without commentary interruption.  We put our microphones on the ice for unprecedented access to the sights and sounds of an NHL practice.  I must admit, it's a feast for an Islander fan.

Enjoy, and if you haven't seen Islanders TV don't's coming soon to everyone!

Posted by JOSH BERNSTEIN at 2:15 pm EST



COREY WITT, Islanders Media Relations Coordinator
The Tonight Show

The staff on the trip (coaches, trainers and media) along with a few players got to go to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this afternoon. You might want to check it out; Bruno Gervais is probably in the opening shot. The show was great, Tina Fey (the feature guest) was funny and Fergie performed with no complaints. Ricky, Bates, York, Sillinger and Dunham were there as well. I don't know if the camera caught them in the crowd.

Tomorrow morning it's back to business. The guys had an extra step out on the ice tonight and looked sharp.

Check back tomorrow for some news on who's in and who's out for the game versus the Kings.

Have a good night.

Posted by COREY WITT at 11:30 pm EST



JOEL BOUCHARD, Islanders defenseman
How Lucky We Are

If you didn't think so, let me tell you we all understand how fortunate we are to have such great jobs. We're staying in Los Angeles in a great hotel on the Marina and get to hang out with more than 20 of our best friends. But let me tell you a cool story about what happened last night in San Jose.

After I was finished with my workout during the first intermission, I made my way to the upstairs press box. When I got on the elevator, there was a man in a wheelchair with his wife. She whispered to him while looking at me, "I think that's him." The man asked me if I was Joel Bouchard. I said I was and extended a handshake.

The man told me a story. He said that he was at a game in San Jose between the Sharks and the Flames, about ten years ago when I played for Calgary. At the game, a player on the Sharks reached out to deflect a slapper I was taking. As I took the shot, part of my blade sailed over the glass and landed right next to his wheelchair. He had held on to the stick blade for a decade!

I told the guy, "I'll give you my address. Mail it to me. I'll sign it to you and mail it right back." The man said I didn't have to. He reached down and pulled out the cracked stick blade from a cart at the bottom of his wheelchair. I was blown away. I wrote, ˜To Brian, All the best. Your friend, Joel Bouchard."

That's perspective.

Posted by JOEL BOUCHARD at 11:20 pm EST



TED NOLAN, Islanders head coach
A Small Step, No More

That was better than Thursday, no doubt. We tightened up the D and I liked the way we competed hard from beginning to end. There™s still plenty to work on, but we started to see some good things.

On their two power play goals, they got a bit of a break on the first one with the deflection that ended up right on their stick. The second goal, we really screwed that one up. I thought Rick rebounded back well. He was sensational at times and very solid throughout. His communication with the D was also much-improved.

We tinkered with the lines early because we're looking for better chemistry among the forwards. That may take some time. The most important thing is hard work and discipline. I liked our guys  approach after the bad game on Thursday and the way we went back to business.

We land in Los Angeles on Sunday in the middle of the afternoon and then I'm going to give the guys the day off. They have worked hard and they have skated enough. A day off the ice will be a good thing for them. We'll have a full practice on Monday and get ready for the Kings.

On behalf of the team, thanks to the fans for staying up late in the East for these games. Stick with us. We look forward to seeing you at our long homestand starting with the opener next Saturday.

Posted by TED NOLAN at 10:30 am EST



MIKE SILLINGER, Islanders forward
We Must Stay Out of the Box

That's hockey for you. We talked a lot before Thursday's game about discipline, about staying out of the penalty box. And then we did just the opposite. Thhere is very little to take from the loss in Phoenix, other than parts of the third period. It wasn't much, I understand, but we finally settled down in the third and played a solid period.

Winning starts with defense first. D zone coverage is all about hard work. The coaches have broken down the video for us. They have us in position to succeed. Now it's up to us.

Posted by MIKE SILLINGER at 6:50 pm EST

STEVE MEARS, Islanders radio play-by-play announcer
Players to Watch in SJ

Hello from San Jose!  Chris King and I hope you enjoyed our first radio broadcast of the year on Thursday (despite the outcome) and we thank everyone for staying up late with us.  We hope you'll do the same tonight for what should be a fun one.  One of our nightly features in the pre-game show is the American Capital Partners "Player to Watch" which I select before every game.  Here are my three candidates for tonight:

Rick DiPietro: We've seen him bounce back in big ways in the past after tough losses and tonight will have to be one of those "rebound" performances.  Discipline will be huge for everyone tonight, but especially for #39, who had two minor penalties on Thursday. 

Joe Thornton: How can he not be a "Player to Watch" on any given night?  Arguably the best player in the NHL, the 2005-06 Hart Trophy winner slows the game down to his speed and can change the outcome by himself.  There can be no time and space for him tonight, especially on the Sharks' power play. 

Brendan Witt:  He's probably the defender who will be called upon most to deal with the Thornton line.  Look for him to play alongside Radek Martinek, whose effort was one of the lone bright spots on the defensive front from Thursday's game in Phoenix. 

Be sure to tune into the intermissions as well tonight on Bloomberg 1130 AM, which will feature Chris chatting with Islanders GM Garth Snow, a conversation with NHL MVP Joe Thornton, and the NHL Radio Plays of the Week.  Also, keep those e-mails coming to  Thanks to everyone who wrote in with your questions and comments.  We appreciate it!

Posted by STEVE MEARS at 6:40 pm EST


COREY WITT, Islanders Media Relations Coordinator
Lineup Changes for Tonight

Just got back from the morning skate and they'll be changes to the lineup tonight. Andy Hilbert will make his Islanders debut and Jeff Tambellini is out. Ted Nolan told the media that Tamby didn't do anything wrong in the opener, it's just a numbers game. I'm sure Tamby will be back in the lineup soon though.

The line combinations will be different as well. Teddy said Hilbert will center, maybe with Yash and Viktor Kozlov. Park could jump up to the right side with Blake and Bates, while Sillinger could go in between Hunter and Satan. That would leave York centering Simon and Asham.

The defensive pairings might get mixed too, but we couldn't tell who will be with who during the skate. Bouchard is still out, but Teddy told the reporters he's getting closer. Remember, Bouch missed a lot of training camp and the pre-season with a hamstring injury.

Here's to a better result tonight!

Posted by COREY WITT at 5:10 pm EST



CHRIS BOTTA, Islanders Vice President of Media Relations
Back to Work

The guys are on the ice as I write this from the stands of the Coyotes Arena. Everyone seems to have a very business-like approach to responding to last night's disappointment. I think that's partly a reflection of the coaching staff, but also the presence of so many grizzled vets on the roster. Players like Hill, Sillinger and Witt have been through this before. There is obvious concern, but no one is overreacting.
Sometimes you would see a "bag-skate" after a game last night. You know, like Herb Brooks gave Team USA in "Miracle." The Islanders are out there skating, no doubt, but assistant coach Danny Flynn is spending a lot of time at the chalkboard next to the bench, diagramming what went wrong and needs to right. Ted and Dan Lacroix are out there encouraging, motivating the troops.
The good news is that no one got hurt last night. Joel Bouchard is cleared to play and could see action tomorrow in San Jose. Can't tell from practice if Andy Hilbert will make his NYI debut and someone else will sit.
The Islanders TV gang is here, working their magic. They are shooting the practice and have King and Mears doing a running commentary. When Kinger and Steve are done, they set the microphones by the benches so you can hear all the sounds of practice. As the legendary Jiggs McDonald just said, "We've come a long way."
Team has a 3:00 PST flight to San Jose. Morning skate, optional, at the arena tomorrow at 11:30.
Finally, my thoughts -- and the thoughts of so many on the trip -- are with our pal Mike Milbury. Mike is with his family in Minnesota this weekend for his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. We all wish we could be there, but nobody understands better than Mike why we're not. Knowing Mike and how much he cares about this franchiese, he'd trade all the well-wishes for two points tomorrow at the Shark Tank.
posted by CHRIS BOTTA at 5:00 pm EST 


BRENDAN WITT, Islanders defenseman
A Bad Night, but We'll Rebound

There's no way to get around it. It was a real bad game last night. After Miro got that early goal, everything fell apart for the next 38 minutes.

Sean Hill and I got our first goals of the season. How we performed as a team wasn't fair to Rick. We hung him out to dry all night. We didn't play smart. There was some hitting and the effort was there, but our heads were not. That's not the way to start a season.

No excuses. A reporter mentioned last night that maybe having so many new faces means it's going to take some time to come together as a team. We're not buying it. Every team has turnover. That's why we went to Nova Scotia for nine days. We've had enough time to come together.

It's good we're on the road this week. We'll be together and there's plenty of practice time. We need to figure it out soon, and we will.

Posted by BRENDAN WITT at 12:00 pm EST


TED NOLAN, Islanders head coach
We competed too late

You're not going to win in this league when you miss assignments and don't battle for loose pucks. We didn't compete until the third period and that's not good enough. Not even close. We had a couple of bad breaks, goals that went off defensemen's skates. But those are also the kids of breaks winning teams earn. I took Ricky out after the second period to keep him fresh for the rest of the trip, shake things up a bit and give Mike Dunham work. Rick will be back on. I'm not worried about him. I thought Dunham did a good job in a tough spot. We have a practice here in Arizona tomorrow afternoon and plenty of time to work on things.

Posted by Ted Nolan at 1:00 am EST


JOSH BERNSTEIN, Islanders VP of Communications
All About Islanders TV

Hello to all in Islanders Country. If you haven't heard about Islanders TV yet, boy do we have something special in store for Islander fans.

Islanders TV is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Islander video service launched from It is currently being offered to members of NYI 365 (full season subscribers) but sometime in the next month or 2 it will be available to anyone with an internet connection.  We have been following the team every day since training camp started up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  We are a small band of merry hockey nuts, with some high-powered TV equipment.  We are allowed access to places cameras have never before seen.  Team meals, private team meetings, Rick DiPietro's 25th birthday party¦(where he got a pie in the face).

Traveling with an NHL team is just as fun as you would imagine.  We just did a roundtable interview with the Islanders 2 radio voices Steve Mears and Chris King, and Newsday's Islanders beat writer Greg Logan.  We are going to do this weekly, and post it on Islanders TV.  We are calling the show F.Y.Islanders.

We are also experimenting with showing the team's morning skates live on the internet.  It is still a work in progress, but the results so far have been amazing.  Imagine being able to watch the Islanders practice every day from wherever you are in the world. Pretty cool stuff!!!  

Well, that's all for now¦check back here for more as the road trip continues. Let's Go Islanders!

Posted by JOSH BERNSTEIN at 1:00 am EST


STEVE MEARS, Islanders radio play-by-play broadcaster
What you'll hear on Bloomberg 1130

Greetings from beautiful Arizona!  I hope everyone is as excited as I am for the start of this season and, like me, wishes they could fast forward to 10:00 p.m. EST right now.

With this blog entry, we would like to give you an idea of what you can expect when you tune into Islanders games on Bloomberg 1130 AM this season.  From a broadcast format perspective, Chris King and I will continue to bring you a thirty-minute pre-game show, intermissions with various features and in-game guests (including the Isles right as they come off the ice at the Coliseum), and our post-game show which, after home games, comes to you live from Doolan's Pub at the Coliseum.

Chris and I would like to send a special "thank you" to those who joined us for the "test run" of our post-game show last Friday after the exhibition win over the Rangers.  We look forward to having a lot of fun from Doolan's after all of the home games and we hope you will join us to talk Isles hockey.

Of course none of these things would be possible without the great staff at Bloomberg 1130.  Also, while I'm thanking people who make the broadcast possible, I have to send a huge one to my color man Chris King.  He's one of the best in the business and I'm thrilled and honored to be working with him this year.  Finally, on behalf of Chris ad myself, we would like to thank all of you for listening to Islanders Radio.  I've met many Islanders fans since I moved to Long Island and everyone has welcomed me and been incredibly friendly.  Without you, our broadcasts would not be possible (and rather pointless!), so we thank you and hope you enjoy this season.

Please remember that these broadcasts are YOUR shows, not ours.  Please send us your questions, comments, and feedback to throughout the year.  We would love to hear what YOU want to hear!  I can assure you that we will do our best to put you in the arena with us every night.  Now let's drop the puck and begin this journey!

Posted by STEVE MEARS at 6:35 pm EST


TED NOLAN, Islanders head coach
A's go to Witt and Sillinger

I picked Brendan Witt and Mike Sillinger to be our alternate captains today. It was not an easy decision, and that is a good thing. There are so many guys I could have picked to complement Alexei as our captains. Richard Park could do the job, Sean Hill, Shawn Bates, Miro Satan and the list goes on and on of our returning players. Sillinger and Witt embody what our team must be if we are to succeed. When I shared the news in the room this morning, Sillinger and Witt got a loud ovation from their teammates.

I had another tough decision to make with tonight's lineup, another good problem to have. Jeff Tambellini is getting the spot tonight next to Bates and Blake because of his effort in training camp. Andy Hilbert doesn't deserve to sit tonight. It's just a numbers thing and Tambellini earned it by going above and beyond. That's what competition is all about.

Posted by TED NOLAN at 4:58 pm EST

CHRIS BOTTA, Islanders VP of Media Relations
Lineup Notes

Islanders fans: here are your line combinations for tonight:

Yashin centering Kozlov and Sillinger

York centering Satan and Hunter

Bates centering Tambellini and Blake

Park centering Simon and Asham

Expect Sillinger to take most of the faceoffs for his line. Joel Bouchard and Andy Hilbert look to be healthy scratches. As for the D pairings at even strength and on special teams, count on all sorts of combinations.

Welcome back, Jiggs. Break a leg, Billy Jaffe and Steve Mears. Chris King: continue to spoil us with your work ethic, reporting and insights.

Posted by CHRIS BOTTA at 4:35 pm EST

BRUNO GERVAIS, Islanders defenseman
Nervous? No way. Excited? Absolutely!

To be in the lineup on opening night is a dream come true for me. As I get ready for the game, I'll be thinking of my family and friends back home who have always supported me. And of course the Islanders fans who are staying up the late and cheering us on during these four games on the West Coast.

I'll nap like a baby after lunch today. No problem. I don't get nervous. I'm very excited for tonight's game, but not nervous.

Last night Joel Bouchard and I went to Scottsdale to have a great sushi dinner and see the sights. Ryan Caldwell told me all about Scottsdale. Bouche and I had a great time. It may be 95 and humid out here, but there will be no problem focusing on our jobs tonight.

Posted by BRUNO GERVAIS at 4:20 pm EST


MIKE SILLINGER, Islanders center
My job with Yash and Vic

Just as Ted promised, a short and fast-paced morning skate today at Glendale Arena. And as expected, it looks like I'll be lining up with Alexei Yashin and Viktor Kozlov. I played with Yash a bit in Ottawa and know Vik from Florida, but at the time we were both centers and never played together. That doesn't matter. I know what I have to do. My job is to shut down defensively, win the key faceoffs, get the puck to the big boys and get myself to the front of the net. It's going to be a lot of fun. Enjoy the game and I'll catch up with you in San Jose.

Posted by MIKE SILLINGER at 3:00 pm EST


JIGGS McDONALD, Islanders Hall of Fame broadcaster
It's Good to Be Back Home

The nerves already started getting to me while making the drive south from Ontario. I'm so excited to be stepping in for Howie Rose on the FSN Islanders broadcasts while Howie is busy with the Mets. I'll be there as long as they need me and will cherish every moment I get to go back behind the mike for the franchise that played a huge part in me getting to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday night I had the privilege of attending the Islanders Family kickoff dinner. I have to tell you, in all my years of being in sports, I had never seen a team event like the one Charles Wang hosted on Tuesday on the bay at Chateau La Mer in Lindenhurst. Everyone in the organization was there with their families. Suzi Schopp and the Islanders TV crew produced a short film on what it means to be an Islander that was simply incredible. From what I understand, the team will show it from time to time at games at the Coliseum. Wait until you see it.

There is so much enthusiasm around this team and I'm pretty confident you will see it on this four-game road trip. For me, the biggest proof that Ted Nolan has pulled this team together can be found in the smile of my friend Viktor Kozlov, whom I got to know well when doing the radio broadcasts for the Panthers. Viktor is looking like the happiest guy in the world right now, and so are all of his teammates. I give a lot of the credit for that to Ted, of course, but I also think Rick DiPietro has something special that you don't usually find in a goaltender. In the last few days as I have tried to get to know the team better, it hasn't been hard to notice the positive impact that Rick's play and attitude has on his teammates.

Please join us at 9:30 pm EST tonight for the pre-game show. My teammates, including our producer Kevin Meininger, director Larry Roth and our new color commentator Billy Jaffe (who's going to be a real good one), have a great broadcast planned. Oh man, my nerves get going just thinking about it. I don't want to let anyone down.

Posted by JIGGS McDONALD at 10:30 am EST


DANNY FLYNN, Islanders assistant coach
Our Plan for Morning Skates

I wanted to let our fans know about what our coaching staff plans on doing with our morning skates. As long as I've been associated with Ted Nolan, he's been a big believer in saving it for game time. As Ted points out, do the Jets and Giants strap on the pads for a half-hour in the morning and then play the Monday Night Football game?

Until further notice, all of our morning skates will be optional for all players except the backup goaltender for that night's game. The coaches know that there are plenty of players who feel they need the morning skate and we will be there for them on the ice. The guys who lace up in the morning can expect a high-tempo 30-minute drills session.

Some players may show up at the rink in the morning to get treatment, work on their equipment or maybe even just for the sake of having a routine and getting out of the house or the hotel. We're leaving it up to each player to make the decision that works best for them.

As for our friends in the media looking to talk to Ted to prepare for that night's broadcast or their newspaper story, no problem. Ted will be at the rink each morning.

Before I go, let me say thanks to all of the Islander fans out there. Everyone on our team appreciates your support. We will do you proud.

Posted by DANNY FLYNN at 10:00 am EST


MIKE SILLINGER, Islanders center
About Those Forecasts

Here we go, fans. Man, I can't wait until tomorrow night. This has been a crazy camp for me because I missed so much time with this quad injury. But I feel good now and I'm dying to get to puck-drop tomorrow in Glendale.

I love our team. I've been around a while and know when it's working or not working. From the first day of camp, this team has stuck together with the goal of getting back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I know that's not the ultimate goal, but the Islanders missed the playoffs last year after a pretty good run. So let's start in October with small steps. For us, that means getting back to the dance.

Oh yeah, I've heard about the predictions. My buddies have kidded me about the picks to come in 14th (or worse) in the conference. Please. It's kind of strange because in the same predictions they list all the guys we added me, Kozlov, Poti, Simon, Hill, Witt, Hilbert and the rest and the list of guys we lost is very small. I know the team had a setback last year, but when you look at what we added without losing many regulars and then add in Ted Nolan well¦I guess we should just play the games.

I'll check in tomorrow after the morning skate when I can confirm my linemates.

Posted by MIKE SILLINGER at 6:00 pm EST


COREY WITT, Islanders media relations coordinator
Campoli Out 2-4 Weeks

When the Islanders hit the ice at Desert School Coyotes Center today, an important player was missing. Defenseman Chris Campoli has a groin injury and will be out of action 2 4 weeks.

With Sean Hill appearing to be recovered from his injury, the D pairings at today's practice were Zhitnik-Martinek, Witt-Hill and Poti-Gervais, with veteran Joel Bouchard possibly being tomorrow night's extra. But one thing I've learned doing this the last few years, today's practice lineup does not necessarily mean tomorrow's roster.

That said, it does look like Jeff Tambellini will play tomorrow night. Good for Jeff. He showed up in Yarmouth far from an incumbent, and caught Ted Nolan's attention through sheer hard work.

Posted by COREY WITT at 5:30 pm EST

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