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Special teams were key in Isles loss

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano did not mince words after the Islanders rookies 8-5 loss to the Boston Bruins rookies at Nassau Coliseum on Monday night.


“I thought it was pretty sloppy,” said Capuano, who watched the game from the stands. “It was one of those games, both teams were trying hard, but when you only get a couple days, you don’t really go over special teams too much. I think there were five goals in the game that were special teams’ goals.”

The Islanders rookies were sent to the box on six occasions, the Bruins rookies on four. A total of five power play goals were scored.

Nino Niederreiter #25 of the New York Islanders scores at 9:02 of the first period against Michael Hitchinson #70 of the Boston Bruins during a rookie game exhibition at Nassau Coliseum on September 12, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Capuano credited the play to a bunch of eager prospects looking to make their mark, but also talked about the difference between junior hockey and playing in the National Hockey League.

“We played NHL rules, so officiating is looking for the sticks horizontal or any of the sticks up, high and away,” Capuano said. “I thought the refs did a great job tonight. They called it like they would in the National League and guys are going to have to move their feet and continue to skate with the stick on the ice.”

There’s always that learning curve and Islanders defensive prospect Calvin de Haan, who’s attended camp for the last three years, has begun to understand just what Capuano was talking about.

“All those new rules, like lift your stick higher, little hooking and stuff, you can kind of get away with that in junior,” de Haan said. “Tonight some of the calls looked weak, but that’s the way they’re going to call the game in the NHL, much tighter than we’re used to.”

Despite the messy play, de Haan thought the team effort was there.

We worked really hard and I thought we played a pretty good team game tonight. Everyone utilized each other and we got a tight group in the room. It shows on the ice, everyone was sticking up for each other and we’ve just got to tighten up a little bit in our own end. That’s going to come with time. - Calvin de Haan
“We worked really hard and I thought we played a pretty good team game tonight,” said de Haan, who had a goal and two assists. “Everyone utilized each other and we got a tight group in the room. It shows on the ice, everyone was sticking up for each other and we’ve just got to tighten up a little bit in our own end. That’s going to come with time.”

Nino Niederreiter had two power play goals, Kirill Kabanov had a goal and an assist, and Casey Cizikas had two assists. A total of nine Islanders posted points.

“It’s a little frustrating to kind of outwork a team sometimes and then walk away with the loss,” de Haan said.

With eight goals, the Bruins rookies had a few standouts of their own. Ryan Spooner netted two goals and three assists, while Dylan Hood had a pair of goals and assists, and David Warsofsky had a goal and two of assists.

The Islanders rookies will have a chance to even the score with the Bruins prospects as they face off Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum for the second half of these back-to-backs.

de Haan’s message for his fellow prospects: rest up.

“It’s a quick turnaround for us, for both teams,” de Haan said. “(At this time in the season) we’re not used to this. It’s still September and a quick turnaround, so we just need to get our rest and stay focused on tomorrow’s game.”
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