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Morning Skate Updates 1/19/13

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders
The Islanders hit the ice for morning skate at 10:30 a.m in preparation for their game tonight against the New Jersey Devils. Check this space for the latest updates throughout the skate.

10:26 a.m.: Matt Carkner heading out for the skate

10:34 a.m.: Brent Thompson leading drills as players get their legs under them. Will have lines later.

10:51 a.m.: An optimistic Jack Capuano just finished media availability. Things we learned: F Keith Aucoin will be in the lineup. The defensemen will be a game-time decision based on New Jersey's lineup. More from Capuano to come...

10:56 a.m.: Today's morning skate is pretty informal. No lines to report yet, as not all the players are on the ice.

11:04 a.m.: Capuano on playing the season opener tonight: " I think it’s great. We’ve looked forward to this all summer long. Our coaches and players, and especially our fans, are ready for this."

11:08 a.m.: Eric Boulton, who played for the Devils in 2011-12, on facing his old team tonight: "Anytime you play your old team, it’s a little extra motivation. It gets you pumped up just a little bit more. I’m really looking forward to it."

More from Boulton:
"[The Devils] are a hard-working team. We’ve got make sure we’re outworking them. It’s our building. And we’ve got to let them know that we’re not going to get pushed around in here. We’re going to be a very hard team to play against this year."

11:12 a.m.: The Islanders have brought in three new defensemen since the start of camp (Joe Finley, Thomas Hickey, Brian Strait). Mark Streit on the challenges facing the Islanders defensive corps as they learn to play with one another: "It’s a matter of getting used to each other and being on the same page. We worked on a lot of things this week. Most of these guys have played for so many years. It’s hockey at the end of the day. You’ve got to go out and work hard, play with pride and enjoy the moment as well."

11:18 a.m.: Here's another one from Capuano, on how big an early goal for the Islanders could be: "This is a good test for our hockey team. You’re talking about a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. They’ve got a good, veteran defense. They’ve got a power play where you’ve got to be cautious of where guys are out there. If we can get a goal early it’d be a big help. But at the end of the day it’s a 60-minute game. Whether you score first or not, you’ve got to play 60 solid minutes."

11:25 a.m.: One last note from Capuano's media scrum: Evgeni Nabokov will start in goal tonight, with Rick DiPietro backing him up. "I sat down with Mike Dunham and our coaches and we talked about it. Hopefully he can get off to a good start here tonight."

11:32 a.m.: Devils are on the ice for their session.

11:41 a.m.: Martin Brodeur will start in goal for the Devils on opening night for the 18th consecutive season.

12:00 p.m.: Just got out of the Devils' dressing room following availability with Head Coach Peter DeBoer. 2012 Draft pick Stefan Matteau is in tonight, and easily had the biggest media scrum around his stall when he came off the ice.

12:08 p.m.: DeBoer, on the rationale behind keeping 18-year-old Matteau on the roster: "Merit. He came to camp and earned the right to be in the lineup tonight. Nothing other than that. The 30 guys we brought to camp all were there because they had a chance to make the team. And he separated himself from some people over the four or five days."

*For those who don't know the backstory, Matteau's dad, Stephane, scored the game-winning goal for the Rangers in double overtime of Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils goaltender that night: Brodeur. The Devils selected the younger Matteau with their first round (29th overall) pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

12:16 p.m.: Stefan Matteau, who was three months old when Islanders (then Rangers) broadcaster Howie Rose had the famous "Matteau, Matteau, Matteau" call, on how often he gets asked about that game: "A little bit. I know what happened, I know the story. I’m sitting next to Marty in the room. It’s obviously ironic a little bit. But I’m here to play...Last week the reporters asked me about it, and they asked [Marty] too. We just kind of joked about it."

12:21 p.m.: DeBoer says Devils D Adam Larsson, who played 65 games last season, will be out of the lineup tonight. “I thought he had a very good camp, and I told him that. He’s going to play a big role for us this year.”

12:25 p.m.: Last note from Devils side: DeBoer echoed the same feelings that have come from Islanders camp all week: "It was a short camp but I think everyone’s excited to play a game. It’s a unique situation with the short season. There’s not a lot of room for error so I think our guys are ready to go."

The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum. As of now, indivual tickets for tonight's game are still available. CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS.
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