NHL Training Camps aren’t scheduled to start for another two weeks, but several Islanders players are already on Long Island, working out together on and off the ice. These informal summer sessions are run by the players themselves, and on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the group included Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Michael Grabner, Kirill Kabanov, Andrew MacDonald, Brock Nelson, Nino Niederreiter, Frans Nielsen, Marty Reasoner and Johan Sundstrom.
While the gloom of a possible lockout threatens to postpone the start of training camp, players like Grabner are preparing just as they normally would.
“We’re still getting ready for training camp,” Grabner said. “We’re trying to get in shape for Sept. 21 and we’ll see what happens until then. Our mindset is still getting in shape and getting ready for the season to start on time, so nothing has changed."
Nielsen took part in his first on-ice workout Wednesday after returning from his summer in Europe.
“I was in Sweden for two months working out with my old trainer,” Nielsen said. “Then I moved to Denmark in August and skated with my former team where I grew up. I spent three weeks with them on the ice and just got here today.”
Wednesday’s practice gave Nielsen a chance to gather first impressions of his new teammates, like Carkner.
“One of my friends in Ottawa said Carkner was a great, great guy so it was nice to meet him,” Nielsen said. “I’ve only heard good things about him and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.”
Boulton, one of the newest Islanders, finalized his move from New Jersey to Long Island earlier this summer and has been skating at Iceworks with some of his new teammates for the last two weeks.
“We’re slowly getting back into things,” Boulton said. “Today we had a good turnout with about 12 guys out there. We’re starting to gear up and we’ve just got to prepare like the season is going to start on time.”
Boulton added that it is important for players to make the most out of this time before camp, even if the practices are informal.
“It’s a little hard not having two goalies out there and a limited number of guys,” Boulton said. “But we do what we can. We definitely got in a good workout today.”
To see photos from Wednesday’s practice, click HERE.