felt anxious about his future. He was still attending Islanders Training Camp on a tryout basis, the roster deadline was looming and he’d yet to sign any contracts or talk about any kind of deal. That all changed Tuesday afternoon, when Pandolfo agreed to terms on a one-year deal to remain with the Islanders through the 2011-12 season.
“It was pretty easy to get done,” Pandolfo said. “I just wanted to be part of the team. I think this team is exciting and has a good chance to do well this year.”
|Jay Pandolfo takes a first period shot against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 30, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
Playing in all five exhibition games, Islanders management and coaching staff gave the Burlington, MA native a long, hard look as they evaluated his level of play and how he could fit into the hockey club. Not only will he add skill and experience to the Islanders penalty kill, but he’ll bring a veteran presence.
“The biggest thing is to go out and play the right way every night,” Pandolfo said. “I just want to do the little things that help teams win, be it penalty-killing or being on the ice when you have a lead late in the game.”
He added, “I also want to lead by example on and off the ice. They have a great group of leadership here. It should be easy to fit in. I’m just going to do what I’ve always done.”
Pandolfo joins a suddenly lengthy list of newly acquired veterans on the Island. Along with off-season acquisitions Brian Rolston and Marty Reasoner
, as well as fellow camp invite Steve Staios
(who signed his one-year deal Sept. 30).
“Adding Rolston, Reasoner and Staios and having Mark Streit
and Kyle Okposo
healthy for the whole year will really make a huge difference,” Pandolfo said.
While the two-time Stanley Cup Champion believes in the leadership and veteran presence, he also believes in the team’s core and their bright future.
“I think these guys played really well at the end of last year and now are a year older, with more experience,” Pandolfo said. “They really saw what it takes to win in the last half of the year. I think that’s going to help starting this season off right.”