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Friday Notebook

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders

The Islanders roster headed for New Jersey didn’t skate at Iceworks this morning. Here are some notes on Islanders prospects.


The Russian Winger
Kirill Kabanov got to play in his first NHL exhibition game in Calgary on Tuesday night. On a line with fellow prospect Ryan Strome, Kabanov said he learned a lot about playing with men and what it’s going to take for him to reach his goal of playing at the NHL level.

“In my first game, I tried not to make mistakes and I tried not to make turnovers,” Kabanov said. “I just wanted to keep it simple. This is a different level from junior. It’s a lot faster speed, so I was really excited about that.”

While Kabanov said he’d like to get faster, his speed is already on target for the NHL game. However, to play the type of physical game Kabanov is known for, he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.

“I just want to get bigger, more physical and just play my game on the boards,” Kabanov said. “I like playing in the corners. I just want to try to prove myself at that level, make my speed faster and make decisions faster. Those are the things I’m working on.”

Working on Chemistry
David Ullstrom and Justin DiBenedetto were linemates in the second half of last season on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. At camp, their line has stuck, hoping to establish chemistry for a strong season in the American Hockey League.

“Camp has been good so far,” Ullstrom said. “It’s been really tough. I think Cappy and the staff are really sending a message about wanting the team in shape, so it’s been a good couple of weeks here. I’ve been getting a lot of good ice time and some good off-ice practices.”

The pair enjoys playing together.

“It’s really great playing with DiBo (DiBenedetto),” Ullstrom said. “He’s always driving the net, playing hard. He’s always in front of the net banging in rebounds, so I know where to find him.”

DiBenedetto said, “We built pretty good chemistry. I’m looking forward to doing the same this year.”

First Year Pro
Tyler McNeely, a Northeastern graduate, will also play this year with the Sound Tigers. At his first NHL camp and playing in his first NHL exhibitions, the forward said he’s learned a lot from this experience and hopes to adapt what he’s learned to his game so that one day he’ll have a shot on the Islanders.

“It’s a big learning curve, but you have to learn a lot quick and I think I’ve done that here,” McNeely said. “The pace and being smart (are different from college and the AHL). It’s important to know where you have to be on the ice. There are a lot of smart guys out there and a lot of skilled guys out there, so if you’re in the wrong position, you’re going to get burnt. Just being smart out there is the biggest thing.”

Lineups from today’s practice at Iceworks:

Forwards
Okposo-Nielsen-Grabner
Moulson-Tavares-Backman
DiBenedetto-Ullstrom-Marcinko
Kabanov-Cizikas-McNeely
Gallant-Romano

Defensemen
MacDonald
Hamonic
Wishart
Reese
de Haan
Olson
Klementyev

Goaltenders
Montoya
Nabokov
Nilsson
Koskinen

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