Saturday, March 25, 11:00 pm
What a huge win for us tonight. We're in playoff mode now and we just opened up the series with a victory. We needed to show up tonight and we did. We responded as a team and the fans rocked the building. I can't believe how loud the Coliseum gets. You guys were incredible at our games Tuesday and tonight. I hope you know that you played a big part in us getting both victories.
Playing with Bates and Blake is great. They'e fast skaters and it seems like we're flying out there. The entire team skated hard and responded to the challenge.
As a reward for our hard work, Coach Shaw has given us the day off tomorrow. I'm going to sleep in and rest up. I might try to get some sightseeing in as well. Nothing specific, just want to get to know Long Island a little better.
Thanks for reading all week, and thanks for making me feel at home on Long Island. Here's to many more victories down the road.
Friday, March 24, 11:15 pm
The one good thing about road games is that they are chances to bond as a team. Friday night we had a team meal at Mortons courtesy of Yash. It was a great time and a phenomenal meal. This team really gets along great. We stayed and watched NCAA basketball and saw Duke lose. I'm sure a lot of people's brackets are busted now.
After the meal, I called Sidney Crosby to meet up. Unfortunately, he was stuck babysitting Mario's kids. Life of a rookie! We were able to catch up for a brief few moments after the game tonight.
I've played with some great players growing up, like Sid. Another one is Eric Nystrom, my former captain at Michigan. I'm sure all of you know his dad, but Eric is just as great of a guy. He was an awesome teammate. I've known Bob for a number of years now. I haven't gotten a "welcome to Long Island" call, but I'm sure I'll run into him eventually.
Getting to the game, this was a disappointing loss. We should have put the Pens away early. The good thing is that we get to go back at it on Saturday night at home.
See you at the Coliseum on Saturday night.
Thursday, March 23, 3:30 pm
The latest in our continuous series of big games is tomorrow in Pittsburgh, and for me it will be kind of a reunion with Sidney Crosby, the NHL phenom. Sidney and I were roommates in 2004 when we were on Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. We had a blast, but that's about all I can tell you about that! I haven't seen Sid since, so I hope to catch up with him around the morning skate tomorrow.
My girlfriend Tricia arrived on Long Island this week. Her timing was perfect because we had a rare weekday off on Wednesday coming off our win against the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Coach Shaw knew everyone, including all the kids, could use the day of rest for the legs. Tricia and I spent the day touring this great Island and then ended it with dinner at PF Chang's. I don't know if they are a sponsor, but I'll tell you the dinner was great, so there's a plug for Chang's.
Today was a pretty full day. The coaches put us through a 75-minute practice, plus there were meetings and a workout. After practice, all the players took part in a photo shoot for EA Sports, which was cool. They took 3-D headshots of the guys for use when they put out NHL 2007. It only took about five minutes each and the guys were happy to do it. I hope my shot turned out okay.
After practice, Denis Grebeshkov treated me, Nilsson, Bruno, Bergy, Petteri and Bouche to a sushi lunch. I tell you, Grebs is a heckuva guy besides being a darn good defenseman. I'm happy we were able to stay teammates from Manchester to LA to Long Island.
I'll check in tomorrow at some point from the Igloo.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 11:30 am
Wow, what a night! That was unbelievable. DP was outstanding in net again. Ever since myself and Grebs got here, he's been on fire. We're still alive in this thing and Rick has been a huge part of that.
The whole team is playing well together. Even in our three previous losses, we've skated hard and competed. Rob Nilsson and Bergy [Sean Bergenheim] are two great, exciting players out on the ice. Everyone seems to be feeding off their energy.
It feels great to be playing with this great core of young players like those two and Campy [Chris Campoli], Grebs and even Nokey [Petteri Nokelainen], who by the way is skating real hard in practice. He told me he's eyeing a return before the season is over. Anyway, back to my point. We have a lot of young guys, but we're all playing hard and taking leadership and advice from the vets. Last night a bunch of us went over to the Marriott for a post-game meal and celebration.
It's a great time to be an Islander! Coach gave us the day off today, so it looks like some R & R and maybe just a little more cheesecake.
Talk to you later.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 4:30 pm
Well, today was a little different. Usually we have our morning skate at the arena, but today we skated at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset. I think the team just wanted to make sure everything was in order before we used the locker room again. No sweat. The ice at Iceworks is as good if not better then any other practice rink I've been at.
After the skate I went back to the LI Marriott where I'm staying. Great hotel. I have a king-size bed and someone makes it every morning for me! Doesn't get too better then that, I can't complain.
Another great thing about the hotel is that it's so close to a lot of great placed like Roosevelt Field Mall and The Source Mall. I've already been to The Cheesecake Factory twice! I was there last night with Bergy [Sean Bergenheim] and Nokey [Petteri Nokelainen]. We all had the Original Cheesecake with strawberries on the side. It's great. Love it. But, I gotta learn Finnish!
I thought I would throw some stuff in about what I like so you guys can get to know me a little better. Here's my top-three favorite bands.
2) Theory of a Dead Man
Anyway, I'm heading over to the Coliseum now. We'll do our best to make you proud tonight!
Monday, March 20, 2006, 3:00 pm
I just want to start off by saying hello to all the Islanders fans out there. I look forward to playing in front of you for a long time to come!
At the request of the team, I'm going to take a shot at this blog thing for the big week in front of us. Even though we have dropped the last three after four great wins in a row, our Islanders are still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot. To make our move, we need to get points out of our three games this week -- at home to the Canadiens on Tuesday, in Pitt on Friday and back home against Atlanta on Saturday.
I saw on the Islanders' website how management is offering $10 tickets for the game on Tuesday against the Habs. That's even cheaper than our tickets were in Manchester! I really hope the fans take advantage of the offer and come out and support us. Despite these last few heartbreakers -- we really missed Mike York on the weekend -- there are so many good things about our club. So please come out in full force on Tuesday, the biggest game of the year so far.
(Here's my first genuine scoop: Yorkie's feeling better and I hear he may be in the lineup Tuesday. Don't tell anyone...)
It's been a surreal two weeks for me. I was excited from the moment I got news of the trade to the Islanders. My dad, Steve, loved playing here and I'm sure I will too. After my first game in an Islanders uniform, we hit the road for five games, so I haven't been able to really settle in yet, but I'm sure it won't take long.
I've always followed the Islanders, since my dad used to play here and won a Stanley Cup in 1980. A lot of people, especially reporters, have asked me about my dad playing on Long Island and if I have big shoes to fill. It's something I've heard all my life, so I'm not too concerned with it. So far it's been an easy transition and I'm excited to be here.
But I am following my dad's legacy around. On our recent hotel trip, I've had to check into hotels as Steve Tambellini. I'm sure it won't be the last time.
I'll fill you guys in about our locker room situation tomorrow before the game. From what I understand, it isn't the same since I last saw it!
Have a great day.