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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Senators

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

Afternoon Roster

Goaltenders:
30 - Chad Johnson
35 - David Leggio

Defensemen:
3 - Travis Hamonic
6 - Ryan Pulock
8 - Griffin Reinhart
24 - Kevin Czuczman
42 - Scott Mayfield
44 - Calvin de Haan

Forwards:
13 - Colin McDonald
16 - Harry Zolnierczyk
18 - Ryan Strome
20 - Jack Skille
27 - Anders Lee
29 - Brock Nelson
36 - Eric Boulton
48 - Kael Mouillierat
49 - Sebastian Collberg
53 - Casey Cizikas
66 - Joshua Ho-Sang
71 - Michael Dal Colle



 
Evening Roster
Goaltenders:
41 - Jaroslav Halak
60 - Kevin Poulin

Defense:
4 - TJ Brennan
7 - Matt Carkner
11 - Lubomir Visnovsky
14 - Thomas Hickey
37 - Brian Strait
46 - Matt Donovan

Forwards:
12 - Josh Bailey
15 - Cal Clutterbuck
21 - Kyle Okposo
28 - Johan Sundstrom
40 - Michael Grabner
51 - Frans Nielsen
56 - John Persson
59 - Brett Gallant
84 - Mikhail Grabovski
86 - Nikolay Kulemin
89 - Cory Conacher
91 - John Tavares

The New York Islanders 2014 preseason kicks off today in St. John’s, Newfoundland as the team takes on the Ottawa Senators in a pair of exhibition games at Mile One Centre (3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. local time).

Roughly two thirds of the 62-man training camp will make the trip to Labrador, as the teams play two split squad games. With so many players vying for a spot on the 23-man roster, Head Coach Jack Capuano is using the preseason contests to better evaluate players individually.

“We are going to see two hungry teams play,” the coach said. “There are positions to be won on both sides. It comes down to who wants it more. That’s what we want to see, that’s what we need more of and that’s why we have the depth up front that we have.”

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NHL experience is the biggest difference between the two rosters. Seven players on the three-o-clock squad have yet to debut in an NHL game: Sebastian Collberg, Michael Dal Colle, Joshua Ho-Sang, David Leggio, Kael Mouillierat, Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart. An additional six players have fewer than two years of NHL experience.

For these young players, Monday’s game is about making a statement in a crowded camp. Training camp is as deep as it has been in years, meaning young players will have to turn heads and bring the intensity to stand out in preseason action.

“I’m hoping to push that intensity level and be one of the guys out there who really dictates it,” said Ho-Sang, one of the youngest players in camp. “I’ve skated and shown what I could practice-wise now it’s about showing that I understand the systems.”

In contrast, every player in the evening game saw time in the NHL last season and the roster features high-profile veterans. All three of the Islanders leading scorers (Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and Frans Nielsen), along with Lubomir Visnovsky and newcomers Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin highlight the second team.

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Islanders’ fans will be keeping a close eye on Tavares, as the Isles captain suits up in orange and blue for the first time since Feb. 8. After a long summer and a successful rehab from a season-ending knee injury, no one is anticipating the return to action more than Tavares.

“I’m chomping at the bit,” Tavares said. “It’ll be great to be back on the ice competing and obviously trying to get back into my rhythm, back to the way I want to play and competing out there with the guys.”

Few roster spots are guaranteed, so the veteran players in the 7:30 p.m. start will have to match the intensity of the younger players in the afternoon tilt. That shouldn’t be a problem for the physical players on the roster, who are eager to start throwing the body again.

“I feel better playing the game when I play that way - it's more natural for me,” said Cal Clutterbuck. “You go through the summer stick-checking and not doing any of that, so it's good to be able to get in there and play the body, create turnovers and put a shoulder in somebody's chest."

Jaroslav Halak, Chad Johnson, Kevin Poulin and David Leggio made the trip to St. John’s, but Capuano has not named starters for either tilt.

Stay tuned to NewYorkIslanders.com for updated lines, starters and full coverage from St. John’s.

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