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Practice Updates: Mojo, Home Ice & Masterton

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders returned to Nassau Coliseum Tuesday for a series of meetings and off-ice workouts. The teams will skate Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Nevertheless, the team was made available to the media today. Here are some news, notes and quotes from Tuesday’s availability.

Isles Getting Their “Mojo” Back

Several Islanders spoke of increased confidence after Sunday’s gutcheck win over the Detroit Red Wings. The team rallied from an 0-2 deficit early, scored five goals for the first time in March and scored three power-play goals for the first time all season.

“The offense and the confidence is back a bit,” Ryan Strome said. “There’s no better time than now and it’s important to get that mojo going before playoffs.

Mojo?

“Yeah, mojo, groove, swagger. It all falls under the same category,” Strome said. “We’re playing confident, controlling the puck. We are creating chances. At the beginning of the year when we had that confidence, we were playing borderline cocky and we had that swagger. We were an exciting team to watch and play on. When we have that, we’re a lot better.”

Home Ice on the Mind

The Islanders also spoke about the importance of home-ice advantage Tuesday. Securing home ice is the focus for the final five games of the regular season.

“We know what an advantage that could bring for our team with how great our fans have been,” John Tavares said. “It would be a pretty special atmosphere. We’ll just keep trying to plug away one game at a time. We know we’re in the home stretch, the final part of the season and it’s crucial we build on some of the things we’ve been doing, especially last game.”

“It’s really important to us,” Josh Bailey said. “It’s something that we’re striving for. It’s not going to be easy to get, but that’s what you want, challenges going into the playoffs. Hopefully it brings the best out in us.”

Visnovsky Nominated for Masterton

Lubomir Visnovsky is the Islanders nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to the NHL player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” All 30 clubs have a Masterton nominee and the nominees are determined by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

“I try to show the young guys if you work hard, keep a good lifestyle, you can play until almost 40,” Visnovsky told Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Johnston Signs ELC

The Islanders inked Ross Johnston to a three year, entry-level contract Tuesday. Johnston, an undrafted invitee to Islanders rookie camp over the summer, is currently playing for the Charlottetown Islanders in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 6’5, 225 lbs. forward has 91 points (42 goals and 49 assists) in 195 career QMJHL games, spanning four seasons with the Moncton Wildcats,

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