suffered a season-ending left shoulder injury during an inter-squad scrimmage. Today, Streit took one giant step forward; skating in an informal inter-squad scrimmage and sending the message he’s back.
Just under a year ago, in the midst of Islanders training camp, Islanders All-Star defenseman
“I feel good,” Streit said. “I just got in last Friday. It was a long flight, so this is the first time on the ice for me. It’s great to be here. It’s great to see all the guys. I’m really excited for (the start of Training Camp) Friday.”
Monday’s inter-squad scrimmage took place at Iceworks, the team’s training facility in Syosset.
|Taken just a few days before his 2010-11 season-ending injury, Mark Streit #2 battles for the puck with Nino Niederreiter #25 (L) of the New York Islanders during a training camp session at Iceworks. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
It’s hard to think back to last Sept. 25 and know that the Islanders would lose Streit for the season, but the initial diagnosis was even harder for Streit to acknowledge.
“It was a shock,” Streit said. “It took time to realize the seriousness of it and accept it. But I had a good surgery. They took really good care of me.”
Though he initially went through playing withdrawals, watching the team’s transformation made all the difference on his road to recovery.
“We knew we had a lot of talent and a lot of skilled guys, but we had so many injuries last year, a lot of young guys had to take different roles on the team,” Streit said. “They had to take more responsibility on and off the ice, step into bigger roles. It didn’t take them long to improve and to blossom. It made me think positively about the future of this franchise.”
The Islanders are glad to have Streit back.
“It will give everyone more confidence,” Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald
The season before his injury (2009-10), Streit ranked third in scoring as he finished the 82-game season with 49 points (11 goals, 38 assists) behind only John Tavares
and Kyle Okposo
. The year before, (2008-09), Streit led all Islanders in points (56) and assists (40).
He quarterbacked the team’s power play. In 2009-10, Streit scored a team-leading nine power play goals and in 2008-09, he recorded a team-best 10 power play goals and a +5 rating.
“It’s obviously going to boost our power play quite a bit, the two previous years before his injury, he was the key man on the power play,” MacDonald said. “He would play the entire two minutes sometimes. When you lose a guy like that, it’s a huge void to fill. His presence is going to lift everyone. He’s definitely going to make us that much more confident.”
If given the chance to lead the power play again this season, Streit will be grateful.
“I love to play that role,” Streit said. “I can quarterback a power play and I have a good shot, but it’s not only me. There are five guys out there. It’s important that you work well together. Being a good power play team, I think experience is one point, but you have to work hard. I think we have the players to have a great power play. If I’m a part of that, it will be great.”
While his on-ice production was lost last season, Streit’s presence in the locker room has also been missed. He wore an ‘A’ in both of his first two seasons with the Islanders.
“He’s a big leader on the team,” MacDonald said. “Even just out there today, even though it was just pick-up hockey, you kind of got a taste of what you were missing the whole season last year and what he brings offensively to the team and the d-core. He’s a first-class guy. He’s very humble and down to earth. He’s a great guy to have in the room.”
For now, he’s just happy to be back on Long Island and ready for the next season.
“Last year was devastating,” Streit said. “It never happened to me before. I’m happy everything is behind me. I realized how much I missed hockey. It’s a great feeling to back.”