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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Islanders take part in tests and physicals before departing for Yarmouth

While many Long Islanders were first getting up or already starting their work days, the New York Islanders were beginning their preparation for the start of a new season.

On Thursday, 58 Islanders and camp invitees traveled to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to embark on a nine-day training camp before returning on September 24. Before leaving for camp, some 730 miles away, the players had to pass lots of tests.

"It's not too strenuous," said Islanders head athletic trainer Garrett Timms. "We just want to see if the players had any injuries over the summer. It's necessary for the training staff to see where each player is prior to the start of the season, so we can gauge their progress."

The players went through a series of physical tests including standing high jumps, sprints and push-ups, of which Chris Campoli was witnessed doing 66.

"What's the average?" inquired Campoli to a trainer before discussing camp. "I'm excited about camp and looking forward to getting back on the ice. I can't wait for the games to get started."

Players arrived at 7am and began testing, taking headshots and greeting one another, some for the first time since the end of last season.

"I was just waiting for the summer to end, so the season would start up again," said defenseman Bruno Gervais. "I always like coming back and seeing the guys. I'm just ready to get the boat sailing."

For some, like new Islander Brendan Witt, who has gone through over a dozen training camps, there are few nerves, but for others like Frans Nielsen there is a bit of anxiety going through it for the first time.

"I'm excited, but also a little nervous," said Nielsen, the team's third round pick in 2002 looking to become the first player from Denmark to make it to the NHL. "I don't really know what to expect, but I'm looking forward to skating with the guys again for the first time since the development camp."

Along with Witt, new faces include Mike Sillinger, Tom Poti, Chris Simon, Viktor Kozlov and Sean Hill.

"The Islanders have a winning tradition and all the new guys including myself are excited to be a part of it," said Witt. "We have a good group of guys this year."

Following a week of training, the Islanders will play two exhibition games against the Boston Bruins: September 22 in Moncton, New Brunswick and September 23 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, both at 7pm local time.

The Islanders return home to play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 25 at 7pm.

JAFFE JOINS THE NYI: Billy Jaffe, the new color commentator for Islanders broadcasts on FSN, is joining the team in Yarmouth to get to know everyone in the organization. Expect Jaffe to file reports for MSG's "Sportsdesk" from Nova Scotia. Jaffe, who has been an analyst on OLN's coverage of the NHL and a radio color commentator and studio host for the Atlanta Thrashers, is considered one of the up and coming young broadcasters in the game.

NYI TRAINING CAMP GUIDE: The Islanders head up to Yarmouth, NS today as training camp is officially underway.


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