The Islanders have gone through a recent stretch that has seen a number of their key players go down with injury. For tonight's 7:05 pm game against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders will be without the services of Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais and Mike Sillinger. All four players have logged a significant amount of ice time this season. It's those who are healthy that have filled in magnificently in their stead.
Mike Comrie is one of those that Ted Nolan talked about "stepping up" when the team needed him. In the five games Sillinger has sat out, Comrie has recorded three goals and three assists, including three points on the power play.
Nolan spoke to Comrie prior to the Islanders' two-game road trip through Pittsburgh and Minnesota and placed extra responsibility on him by giving him one of the alternate captain positions. He has responded well.
"When you lose your top faceoff guy and one of your top penalty killers it's tough," said Nolan. "Now all of a sudden it gives guys a chance. Comrie is going out for a few more faceoffs than he normally did. When you need him to, he's going to up his game. The last three weeks, Comrie has been one of our best forwards."
Also picking up some slack at the pivot position is Josef Vasicek, who has been an impressive 52 of 90 on faceoffs. He, along with Trent Hunter and Ruslan Fedotenko has been a formidable line since joining in Pittsburgh on February 7. The line has combined for 11 points in four games, along with 23 shots.
After starting the season with a surplus of defensemen on the roster, the Islanders find themselves having to play all six healthy defensemen. Aaron Johnson missed much of the first half of the season with a leg injury, but has played three games in a row, logging an average of more than 16 minutes a game. With Gervais and Campoli out, Johnson is also seeing time on the power play. In Thursday's 5-4 win over Toronto, Johnson recorded a power play assists – his first point of the season.
"Young Aaron Johnson has had a chance to get right in there," said Nolan. "
Freddy Meyer, who was lost to Phoenix from waivers, but then returned to sign a two-year contract has been a minute-muncher recently. In the Islanders' overtime loss to Minnesota on February 9, Meyer recorded nearly 25 minutes of ice time and was a +2. Against Toronto, Meyer scored his first goal of the season – an empty-netter – which proved to be the game-winner.
The work of Andy Sutton since Witt went down cannot go unnoticed. Playing alongside Radek Martinek against the opponents' top lines, Sutton has been on the ice for over 22 minutes each of the past three games. His work on the penalty kill, especially during the extended 3-on-5 against Toronto helped keep the Islanders up a goal.
"Andy Sutton wanted to be that big guy we signed him for in the off-season," said Nolan. "Now he has that chance with Brendan Witt being out."
Not only the veterans, but young players, such as Jeff Tambellini, Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen
have also been called upon to do more.
"These guys are just here to fill in anymore," said Nolan of the young trio. "We need them to perform. They're going to have the opportunity to be out there in key situations. What we really like about these guys is that they like to skate."Click here for tonight's game preview between the Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers.Check out the Islanders TV Game Day Tab for complete coverage of tonight's game.
GET YOUR TICKETS
The Islanders look to get back in the playoff hunt as they meet Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa and the Atlanta Thrashers.To purchase individual game tickets, click here or visit the Coliseum box office, the Islanders Team Store at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville or call Ticketmaster at 631.888.9000.
We'll see you tonight at the Coliseum. Click here
to purchase tickets!
RICKY MINI-BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT
The first 10,000 fans take home a Rick DiPietro mini-bobblehead tonight
You won't be able to take the actual Rick DiPietro
home with you, but the first 10,000 fans attending the tonight's Islanders-Atlanta Thrashers game can take home a GEICO mini-bobblehead of Rick DiPietro
. The All-Star netminder is the third and final installment of the Islanders 2007-08 mini-bobblehead collection, which has already featured Mike Sillinger and Bill Guerin.
LOUDVILLE IS OPEN!
High School and College students get to the Nassau Coliseum with the best deal in professional sports. For only $10, catch the Islanders climb their way back into the playoff race and get yourself a Rick DiPietro
LOUDVILLE tickets go on sale 60 minutes before game time. There are a limited number of seats available per game, so arrive early to secure a seat. Remember to bring your Student ID! There is a limit of one $10 LOUDVILLE ticket per ID. Once you get to the LOUDVILLE section, do your part to help lead the crowd in giving the Islanders the best home-ice advantage in the NHL!
Kids' Day, Too!
NYI vs. San Jose, Feb. 18; Family Fun Packs for just $124, Z100's Greg T the Frat Boy, SpongeBob and more mascots from around the NHL added!!! Post-Game On-Ice Shootout!!! Meet the players!!! All fans 14 & under to receive a Puck Bank, courtesy of New York Community Bank!!! NYI Family Fan Fest and so much more!!!
As the Islanders make their late season push for the playoffs, the team is revving up for one of the most exciting games of the season. In just a few days, the Islanders will be celebrating its youngest fans with Kids' Day Too, when the Islanders play host to the last Western Conference team of the season on Monday, February 18 – the San Jose Sharks.
Below are some of the reasons why you should make the Nassau Coliseum your family destination for this Presidents' Day.FAMILY FUN PACK:
With school off, there is no better way to spend a day with the whole family than taking in an exciting Islanders game at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have put together a special Family Fun Pack for Kids' Day, Too to get you and three others to the game. The Family Fun Pack includes:
- 4 tickets
- 1 Dave & Buster's $40 Power Card Voucher
- 1 Friendly's $25 Gift Card
- Valued at $265, the Family Fun Pack can be purchased for just $124.
Here are some more reasons why you should get to the game on February 18th to cheer on your favorite hockey team. POST-GAME ON-ICE SHOOTOUT WITH THE PLAYERS:
The Islanders want to make Kids' Day, Too as exciting as possible for the kids. Following the game, all kids are invited down to ice level to take a shot on the same nets defended by Rick DiPietro
. There will also be special guest appearances by the Islanders players. Z100 AND GREG T THE FRAT BOY:
Greg T the Frat Boy from Z100's Elvis Duran and the "Z" Morning Zoo will be taking part in the day's festivities. Among his activities will be refereeing the mascots hockey game during the second intermission. The Z100 Party Patrol will also be at the Nassau Coliseum prior to the start of the game.MASCOTS GALORE:
While we all know that the Islanders' Sparky the Dragon is the greatest mascot in pro sports, he's making Kids' Day, Too even more memorable by bringing a bunch of his friends from around the NHL and the area. Here's a list of the other mascots that will be roaming the Coliseum all game, looking for the most excited fans.
• Storm –
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
• Mr. Met
- NY Mets
– Columbus Blue Jackets
- Boston Bruins
– Carolina Hurricanes
– Nashville Predators
– Atlanta Thrashers
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Vancouver Canucks
– Buffalo Sabres
• Stanley C. Panther
– Florida Panthers
• Kate and Willie
- LI Ducks SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS WRITER TELLS ALL:
If you've ever wondered how SpongeBob SquarePants goes from a piece of paper to a living being on your television screen, come down to the Coliseum on February 18. Eric Shaw, a writer for the hit animated series will take fans on the concourse through the complete creation process of the show. NYI FAMILY FAN FEST STARTS AT NOON!:
Arrive at the Coliseum early and join us in the lower lobby for the Family Fan Fest, featuring fun inflatables, face painting, kids broadcasting station, interactive games and so much more. GUERIN'S MOTORCYCLE DISPLAY:
Also at the Family Fan Fest will be Bill Guerin's motorcycle, which is being auctioned off online. To bid on the team-signed motorcycle, which includes four tickets to the March 1st Fan Appreciation game and an on-ice presentation of the bike, click here
. Bidding ends at 11:59 pm on February 23.FREE PUCK BANK:
All kids 14 and under in attendance will receive an Islanders Puck Bank, courtesy of New York Community Bank. KIDS CLUB DISCOUNT:
Members and family members of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Islanders KIdz Club receive a 40% discount to Monday's matinee game against the Sharks. To redeem your discounted tickets, please contact the Group Sales department at 1 800 882 ISLES, ext. 3 or email@example.com.
Make Presidents' Day a memorable experience for the whole family by attending an Islanders game at the Nassau Coliseum. To purchase a Family Fun Pack, please call the Islanders customer service department at 1 800 882 ISLES, ext. 2. or email firstname.lastname@example.org