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Fact: The Islanders are a different team

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Things are different in the Islanders locker room this year. While they are at 4-6-2, the same record they held through 12 games last year, expectations are high and goals need to be achieved. The chemistry in the locker room remains strong and players are working to correct the errors.


“The whole attitude is different and the culture is changing in our locker room,” said the Islanders leading scorer, John Tavares. “Losing is not something we are happy with. It’s unacceptable and we definitely feel going into every game that we have a great opportunity to win and we can compete with any team in the league.”

John Tavares celebrates his second-period goal with teammate Travis Hamonic against the San Jose Sharks at Nassau Coliseum on October 29, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Tavares continued, “That’s the difference for us, understanding that we know we are a good hockey team. We can definitely, if we sharpen up in some areas, be a real competitive team in this league and shock a lot of people.”

This year, the players are older, wiser and more experienced.

“You have to push yourself in practice to make yourself better in a game, so we’ve really tried to do that,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “There’s obviously days where practices are a little more concentrated on systems, so you really have to think. But in terms of pace, that’s (pushing ourselves is) one of our objectives really.”

It takes a full-team effort to win games, not one player or one line can take the night off. The Islanders must be the harder working team if they want to succeed.

“We have played hard, but that game in Boston for whatever reason, we had a handful of guys (that didn’t work their hardest),” Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We have the type of team that we need all 20 guys going and all 20 guys with the right attitude, the bench being positive, to win games. We aren’t a team that can have passengers.”

The Islanders recognized their work ethic in their win over the Capitals and noticed it was missing in their 6-2 loss to the Bruins. Wednesday’s practice at Iceworks exhibited that same work ethic that was evidenced in the Isles routing of the Caps.

“You practice like you play. It’s the old cliché, but it’s 100 percent truth,” sophomore defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “You practice little habits, and if you get used to it and accustomed to it at a high pace in practice, when you do it at a high pace in a game, it’s going to be even easier for you.”

You practice like you play. It’s the old cliché, but it’s 100 percent truth. You practice little habits, and if you get used to it and accustomed to it at a high pace in practice, when you do it at a high pace in a game, it’s going to be even easier for you. - Travis Hamonic
Hamonic continued, “You want to practice like you play and you want to play as hard as you can every game. So that means you have to play even harder in practices. That’s a very important detail that we obviously need to have day in and day out.”

The attitude inside the Islanders locker room is one of positivity and belief in each other.

“You look around the room, guys enjoy being here and the guys really want to work for one another, for this team and for the Islanders,” Hamonic said. “That itself is culture and that’s an important thing to have on a team. It’s definitely different from last year and it’s fun to be a part of the change here. It’s an exciting time here on Long Island.”
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