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Morning Skate Updates 4/13/13

by Travis Betts / New York Islanders
The Islanders will have morning skate at Nassau Coliseum at 10:30 a.m. in preparation for their game tonight against the New York Rangers. Check this space for the latest updates throughout the skate.

10:15: Islanders have a full team skate this morning after an off day yesterday.

10:28: John Tavares heads to the ice.

10:33: Mark Streit hops out of the way as Colin McDonald takes a shot in warmups.

10:35: Jesse Joensuu fires a shot toward Evgeni Nabokov.

10:37: Kyle Okposo puts a shot on goal.

11:10: Jack Capuano says the defense pairs will be the same as they were Thursday at Boston. Forwards are TBD. Evgeni Nabokov in goal. Full podcast on the way.

11:15: Kyle Okposo, on if he has ever played in an Isles-Rangers game of this magnitude: "No. This is probably the first time since early in the year that we've both been in the mix. There's big points on the line. The fans are really excited as we are too. At the end of the day, it's two points on the line.

11:20: John Tavares, on the game tonight: "It's exciting. It's a big opportunity. It's part of the process of getting to the playoffs. With the rivalry, there's going to be a lot of passion and a lot of emotion out there tonight. It's going to be a great game to play in.

11:24: Tavares, on if the level of excitement in the locker room is the same as among the fan base and media: "Yeah I think so. Tonight's going to be great. These games are a lot of fun to play in. You grow up thinking about playing in the playoffs, but this is the road to get there - these big games, rivalry games that mean a lot to the great sports fans of New York. We feel the excitement and we want to go out there and play our game, embrace the moment and seize the opportunity."

11:27: Andrew MacDonald, on what he expects: "The barn is going to be rocking tonight. It's going to be a full crowd. The atmosphere between the two teams has always been there. Throw in what's at stake at this point, and it makes it that much more exciting. I think the guys are aware of the magnitude of the situation. It's a crucial game for both teams. That's what it's all about. Guys all have to step up at the right time."

11:30: MacDonald, on the recent crowds at the Coliseum: "It's been great. The last number of seasons have been frustrating for the fans to watch. We haven't had the results that we wanted. Now that we're getting the results, they're getting behind us and we feed off their emotion. It's fantastic to be able to play in front of them."

11:32: MacDonald, on if the approach changes due to the Rangers' different personnel this time around: "They're playing well. They have some new faces, but the approach to our game isn't going to change a whole lot. We've had success against good teams. It's been working for us. It's going to be about how we play. We feel like we have a good chance of winning when we're on top of our game. They're still the same team and it's going to be a battle tonight."

11:35: As promised, here's full audio from Capuano.

12:10: Here's photos from the Rangers practice this morning, which was optional.

Players getting ready for a drill.

Derick Brassard firing a shot on Martin Biron.

12:17: Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella, on what Derek Stepan has worked on this year to elevate his game (34 points in 40 games): "Different parts of his game. And it was brutal early. He really struggled early. He works at it every day. He has an intangible about him where he became a pro pretty quickly. I think that's helped him in the process. He's made huge strides this year.

12:20: Tortorella, on Brad Richards' play this year: "It's been a struggle for Brad. I think he shows signs of getting out of it. He is showing signs of it. He just hasn't totally gotten on top of it. But there's still time for him to make some big plays. One thing I'll say about Richie - I think there's a lot of expectations on him. I'm not a big stat guy, but some stats I do believe in. What we keep, offensively and defensively for each player - you'd be surprised where he sits as far as how many plays he still makes and where he is within our team even though there's not a lot to show for it."

12:25: Tortorella, on the impact of the new acquisitions from the trade deadline: "I think they've balanced the middle of our lineup. We found that out really quickly when we started playing this year, that we lost the middle of our lineup. I don't think any of us really felt how naked we would be. I think we've corrected that. Clowe comes in, Derick Brassard. This kid John (Moore) is an interesting one because of the abilities that he has, and he's a young kid. That has added a little bit more grind to our game, and I think we're going to need that as we go down the stretch here."

12:30: Ryane Clowe, acquired from San Jose at the deadline, on getting used to New York: "It hasn't been a difficult transition. Obviously, coming here and having a good first game helps ease things a little bit. It's been easy to fit in the dressing room. The guys are great. I think I'm starting to get a grasp for the style of play here."

12:33: Clowe, on his new team: "Just watching on TV, I didn't think this was a bubble playoff team. I always thought they were better than that; a good team, hard to play against. So maybe sometimes a shake-up like that helps. Especially after losing some guys last year that were a part of the team. Since the new guys have been here, we've won some games so that helps the transition.

12:36: Clowe, on what he knows of the Islanders-Rangers rivalry: "I don't know much besides some of the history. I've seen some of the old games and people have told me some things about how exciting it is and the atmosphere and stuff, so I'm looking forward to it. We've had little rivalries out west, but probably nothing that goes back as far, or is as heated as the Islanders-Rangers. Coming into this building tonight in a game that means so much, I think all the guys are pretty jacked up for this one."

Check for live updates throughout tonight's contest between the Islanders and Rangers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The game is sold out, but you can find the action on MSG-plus or WRHU 88.7 FM.
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