|Josh Bailey, Bruno Gervais and Blake Comeau |
Photo by Rich Stieglitz
Islanders Training Camp in Moncton, New Brunswick has been broken down into three groups—two of which contain the veterans. The third group contains most of the junior eligible players. However, there are not enough veterans to fill both veteran teams, so a few spots have been filled by younger players. Josh Bailey
, 2008 second-round draft choice Travis Hamonic
and 2007 draft pick Mark Katic
have been taking part in practice with players like Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, Brendan Witt and Trent Hunter.
"The younger players we chose to be part of the veteran groups were players who showed through Rookie Camp and in the scrimmage against Boston that they could best handle playing with the veterans," said Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski. "It's a great opportunity for players like Travis, Mark and Josh to experience the NHL pace and compete against players with bigger size and more strength. They'll have to make decisions faster. It's not that the players in the rookie group couldn't handle the pace, there were just only so many spots available. They'll have their opportunity to develop within their group and during the scrimmage against the University of Moncton and then perhaps during an exhibition game."
Bailey hasn't just been put with the older players, he's seen time playing on one of the top lines, alongside Mike Comrie and Blake Comeau. At only 18-years of age, Bailey has impressed his linemates with his maturity and skill level.
"Josh is a good, young player," said Comrie. "He's smart and sees his teammates well on the ice. You can see why he's had success."
Added Comeau: "Josh has shown a lot of confidence playing with the veterans. He has good puck skills and is stronger than people might think."
Hamonic, who turned 18 just over a month ago, joined one of the main groups despite being the youngest player at Camp. Hamonic was able to impress the Islanders brass enough even with one fewer day of Rookie Camp than the rest of his teammates. While flying from Canada to Long Island last week, his equipment got lost. It didn't arrive until the second day of Rookie Camp.
"It was an honor to get picked to play with the veterans," said Hamonic. "It's a good challenge and I feel like I haven't been out of place. It's easier when you have guys to look up to and ask questions, like Witt, Guerin and Weight, who are being really helpful. They also make it more enjoyable out there when they're joking around."
Katic had the distinction of participating in both veteran practices today––working on and off the ice for a solid four hours. Yesterday, Hamonic did the same.
"It was tough out there skating for that long," said Hamonic, "but it was fun. We'll see what happens tomorrow."Notes and Quotes from Training Camp
- Former Islanders defenseman Gerry Hart was one of the alumni invited by GM Garth Snow to attend this year's Training Camp in Moncton. Hart took part in his own Training Camps as a player and has been to the past two. He had this to say about Scott Gordon's approach to Camp:
"Scott has a different approach to Camp then in year's past," said Hart. "There's the idea that he has plenty of time to figure out who belongs on the team and that the precious little time at Camp should be used for teaching his system. The exhibition games are for evaluating players. As Al Arbour once told us, 'whether it's your system or my system, let's all get on the same system.'"
- For the first time in their careers, Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen are at Training Camp knowing they are all-but-assured of a place in the lineup due to their one-way contracts. However, this situation has not changed their mindsets at Camp.
"You're always fighting for something," said Tambellini. "Whether it's a spot on the team or more ice time, you have to work hard at Camp to impress the coaching staff. It's important to put your best foot forward no matter what situation you're in."
"I still want to go out there and work hard," said Nielsen. "I'm still going out there like I'm trying to win a spot because you want the best players playing on your team."
- Bobby Nystrom––a loyal Islander––still keeps a close eye on his son Eric, taking part in Training Camp for the Calgary Flames.
"I got a text from Eric this morning and he said the testing was tough, but that it has been a good camp so far," said Nystrom. "I talk to him quite often––definitely after every game."Click here
to watch IslandersTV video from Training CampPlay with the Pros
- Piece of islanders Illustrated on Jon Sim's Play with the Pros event Click here
to watch Training Camp Blogs - Joel RechliczClick here
to watch Training camp Blogs - Blake ComeauClick here
to watch Training Camp Blogs - Brandon SugdenMore from Moncton:
- Click here
for Moncton Memos: Day 1
- GORDON SETS THE TONE
- Click here
for Bridgeport Sound Tigers coverageClick here
to “Ask and Islander”