by Corey Witt
Steve Stirling is giving his blueline rookies an opportunity to play. Last night's tilt at Boston saw defensemen Ryan Caldwell, Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais all receive important ice-time and the same is expected for tonight's game in Manchester.
We want to give our rookies a chance to take a regular shift, said Stirling. Let them show us what they have to offer. They've all shown improvement since camp started and this is their chance to prove it in some games.
Each of the three young defenders averaged over 50 seconds per shift in Friday night's 2-1 win over the Bruins. Campoli and Gervais were once again paired together and averaged just under 20 minutes on the ice and none of the three looked out of place.
It's an opportunity for all of us to show the coaches that we belong on the Islanders when the regular season starts, said Campoli, who was a +1 last night. We're competing with each other, but we're playing with and for each other too. That brings out the best in our games.
After Saturday's morning skate, Stirling said the young trio could easily see increased ice-time tonight.
On a side note, Wade Dubielewicz is expected to get the start tonight in between the pipes for his first pre-season action.