By Kerry Gwydir
It's safe to say that the city of Yarmouth, which is a very quaint, unassuming village on the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia, has opened up its arms to the Islanders like a Shaquille O'Neal bear-hug.
Throughout the town, it's become a bastion of Islander Mania - the town's main drag has banners on each light pole with individual Islanders player portrayed. In virtually every shop, there's some type of signage welcoming the Islanders - heck, even the McDonald's on the way to the Mariners' Centre pays a hearty welcome to the team's contingent of players, staff and media. When the team landed on Monday, at least 200 people met the team at the airport for a hearty welcome.
"The support up here has been overwhelming," said G.M. Mike Milbury. "The community has embraced us in an amazing fashion. They've made Yarmouth feel truly like a home away from home."
On Wednesday, the team was treated to a luncheon on the prestigious "Cat" ferry, which connects Yarmouth to Bar Harbor, ME. In a city known to be partial to the Canadiens, Bruins, Maple Leafs, and, yes, the Boston Red Sox (we've spotted many Red Sox hats up here), the Islanders have become the adopted home team - for at least the week.
As you walk through Yarmouth, the front of a glass art store boasts an impressive and colorful Islanders logo. When we did some investigating, the woman who owns the store told us it took her nearly eight hours to create the design - which retails for $299 CDN and is worth every penny!
In fact, one a local official who is familiar with Yarmouth's history mentioned that the Islanders' week-long stay is one of the biggest happenings since the Boston Braves baseball team played here many years ago. To show you the community's response furthermore, the Islanders' two inter-squad games, scheduled for Friday and Sunday, are already sold out.
As Milbury told the local press the other day in terms of the club's stay: "So far, so good!"
As for today's hockey, Alexei Yashin and Miroslav Satan's Team C faces-off against Rick DiPietro
's Team A at 10 a.m. at the Mariners' Centre. Stay tuned for Chris Botta and Jim Morlock's P.M. report following today's scrimmage and practice. TEAM A
Jason Blake-Ryan O'Marra-Trent Hunter
Justin Papineau-Shawn Bates-Sean Bergenheim
Cole Jarrett-Kevin Colley-Arron Asham/Rob Collins DEFENSE
Alexei Zhitnik-Brent Sopel
Ryan Caldwell-Allen Rourke
Jaroslav Mrazek-Vince Macri GOALTENDERSRick DiPietro
Tuomas Tarkki TEAM C
Blake Comeau-Alexei Yashin-Miroslav Satan
Travis Brigley-Wyatt Smith-Petteri Nokelainen
Masi Marjamaki-Matt Koalska-Luch Aquino DEFENSE
Brad Lukowich-Chris Campoli
Joel Bouchard-Bruno Gervais
Paul Flache-Mike Jarmuth GOALTENDERS
Frederic Cloutier TEAM B
Mike York-Oleg Kvasha-Mattias Weinhandl
Robert Nilsson-Jeremy Colliton-Mark Parrish
Steve Regier-David Masse-Eric Godard
Jason Pitton DEFENSE
Dustin Kohn-Tomi Pettinen
Jody Robinson-Nick Tuzzolino GOALTENDERS