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Morning Skate Updates 2/16/13

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders
The Islanders will have morning skate at Nassau Coliseum starting 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.

10:20: Keith Aucoin, Eric Boulton and Brian Strait getting ready to hit the ice

10:45: Just talked to Jack Capuano. He said David Ullstrom is in. Eric Boulton and Marty Reasoner will be scratched. Personnel on the blue line remains the same, but the pairings will be:

10:51: Capuano, on if there's anything he can point to to explain the team's lack of success at home: "No. I don't know if we'd say that we haven't played well here. I think there were games that we played pretty well - even the last New Jersey game. For 55 minutes it was a good hockey game. They got that power play goal late. I think we've done some good things at home but we have to find a way to win."

10:54: Capuano, on John Tavares' play this season: "He's a guy who wants to carry his team and be one of the best players in the league. He is doing all the right things. You can talk about the offensive side to John's game, but to me it's the defensive side, his play without the puck that dictates how he gets his offensive chances. If he continutes to do those things, he makes everyone around him better. When he plays the way he's playing, obviously he gives our team a good chance to succeed."

11:10: Just left the Islanders dressing room. Good stuff from Brian Strait and David Ullstrom that I'll share in the next few minutes. SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: Isles staff is doing a cool Twitter photo contest, with a chance for fans to win pucks autographed by players. Stay tuned to for the details.

11:16: David Ullstrom, on being back in the lineup: "I'm happy to be back playing. Obviously, it's frustrating to sit on the side, but you've got to do what you've got to do and stay on top of your game and learn something from it. I think I did that, and I'm looking forward to playing a good game tonight."

11:19: More from Ullstrom: "Our line started out doing real well earlier this season, and we got away from some things. We've got to go back to making smart, simple plays. That is going to make us successful."

11:21: Brian Strait, on what needs to happen to get a second straight win: "I think our start is going to be a huge difference in the game. It might be repetitive, but having staying power and playing 60 minutes obviously will give us the best chance to win. When we're committed to playing the way we're supposed to, I think we're capable of beating anybody in this league. The only way we're going to win is to play the way we did for 40 minutes the other night for 60 tonight."

11:23: Strait, on if he has actively taken a bigger role in the offense over the last few games: "No, not really. Every one of the defensemen on this team is capable of getting pucks on the net and getting pucks through shooting lanes and hoping for tips. All I've tried to do is get pucks through. Luckily, somebody else has been there to put pucks in."

11:31: New Jersey out on the ice. Appears to be an optional skate. Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Ponikarovsky were riding the exercise bikes just outside the Devils room. As I walked by, the conversation turned to Russian. No idea what to make of this.

12:00: Just left the Devils room. Not nearly as packed with media as it was the first two times these teams played at the Coliseum. Byproduct of an optional skate.

12:04: Johan Hedberg, who is starting in goal tonight, on the Islanders: "I think they're a good team. They have plenty of talent, a lot of speed, a good power play. We have to be ready."

12:10: Hedberg is one of the few goaltenders around the league to talk to media on a game day. Here's Hedberg's thoughts on that: "I think I've got plenty of time to prepare. I'm thinking about the game. One of the things I had to learn early in my career was that it's too draining on me to be too focused for too long of a time."

12:16: Eric Boulton and Matt Carkner are both out of the lineup tonight for the Islanders. That means Krys Barch, counted on many nights to drop the gloves for the Devils, is without some of his common dance partners. So what is he expecting tonight? "Really, you go in every game preparing for what you have to do, and you put it aside, but if it comes up you answer the bell. Whatever needs to be done to get two points for the team, you have to do it."

12:25: Barch, on facing the Islanders four times in a 15-game span: "It's like anybody. Even if you see your best buddy for too long you're going to start fighting him too...We've seen these guys so often. I think in an 82-game schedule, it'd be very, very rare to have matchups against the same team this close together. You can feel there's tension from one game to the next that carries over. It's like a playoff series. Things happen out there. It's a contact sport. Emotions get involved, and you want to set a tone for the future."

Check back to for live updates during tonight's Islanders-Devils game.
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