by Jordan Chariton
|Bruno Gervais |
With only three years under their belts, many NHL players might be daunted by a sudden increase in minutes. For 23-year old Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais this has not been the case. He has responded well to a hike in minutes with veteran defensemen Radek Martinek out with a leg injury.
"When a guy goes down you need everyone to step up," said Gervais, who will most likely go head-to-head tonight against Florida 's top line, which features Olli Jokinen. "I have been fortunate to play a lot and we have had some good results."
Head coach Ted Nolan has been impressed with the young defenseman's resolve under pressure and has rewarded Gervais with increased ice time. Since Martinek went out with an injury on December 22, Gervais has averaged more than 25 minutes a game.
"Bruno has some offensive skill, but his big thing is defensive play," said Nolan. "Martinek plays against all the top lines and for a young kid filling in and playing against all the top lines is a credit to him. I think it will really help his development even when Martinek comes back."
Gervais has seen a new level of competition, as he has now faced other team's top lines on a game-by-game basis.
"You prepare the same, but it's a big challenge when you play the other team's best line every night," he said.
As Gervais' minutes have gone up, he has seen more playing time with Brendan Witt as opposed to his usual partner Chris Campoli. Playing with two different styles has been fun for Gervais.
"It's fun to play with both," said Gervais. "Witter is always in the right position, and he is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league. He does his job so well, and he is always in the right spot. You know on every shift he's right there, and he makes my job a lot easier. Chris Campoli is one of the best young defensemen around, a good friend of mine and we communicate very well. Either way, it's a pleasure to play with those guys."
As Bruno has soared, so has his team having won five of six games. He sees the Islanders returning to their style of play.
"We had a good start to the season but sometimes you fall into a little bit of a lull," he said. "We know we're a good team, and we have been getting back to our game lately. We are not the type of team that will have an offensive burst and score five goals in five minutes. We have to grind it out and work hard for sixty minutes."Click here
for a preview of tonight's Islanders-Florida matchup. LOUDVILLE OPEN THURSDAY!
LI Students: Ring in the New Year with the Islanders for just $10
College students home on Long Island for the holiday break will want to be part of Loudville on Thursday when the Islanders host the Florida Panthers at the Coliseum at 7:05 pm.
Loudville is the wildest cheering section of young fans in the National Hockey League. And best of all, seats can be purchased for just $10 each. LOUDVILLE tickets go on sale Thursday beginning at 6:00 pm. There are a limited number of seats available per game, so arrive early to secure a seat. Remember to bring your Student ID! There is a limit of one $10 LOUDVILLE ticket per ID. Once you get to the LOUDVILLE section, do your part to help lead the crowd in giving the Islanders the best home-ice advantage in the NHL!
This is the last Islanders home game for two weeks and the last home game of the holiday break! PLAY NYI PICK 'N' WIN
In January, win a signed Rick DiPietro jersey and tickets to an upcoming Islanders home game
In the beginning of the season, the New York Islanders introduced a new online game, Pick 'N' Win. The first three months of the season have been a huge success for the game and fans keep coming back for more.
Since the game launched on the morning of October 5th, 2007, over 15,000 people have registered, 102,000 picks have been made and the game was logged onto more than 60,000 times. Three autographed Islanders jerseys and three excellent pairs of tickets have been given away to three winners. And by our estimates, dozens of fans are still in the picture for winning our grand prize - a team-sign jersey, tickets to the 2008-09 Islanders home opener and a tour of the NYI locker room.
But if you're late to the game, don't worry because you can still win the monthly prizes. At the end of every month the Islanders will give away a signed jersey by one of the Islanders along with a pair of tickets to an upcoming game. January's winner will get a signed jersey by Rick DiPietro
In case you don't know about the game, contestants answer a series of game-specific, Islanders-related questions for each and every Islanders game. Each month, the questions change to keep the game interesting and everyone on their toes. Everyone competes against each other for a chance to win the exclusive prizes.
So if you haven't already, CLICK HERE
to start playing!