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TRAINING CAMP DAY 3

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Words cannot describe the topsy-turvy ride that Islanders’ forward Jon Sim has been on for the past two years.  The New Glasgow, Nova Scotia native went from the high of signing a three-year contract with the Islanders on July 1, 2007 to the low, three months later, suffering a season ending knee injury two games into the 2007-08 season.


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As Sim entered last season, he was ready to get back on the ice and show that he still belonged in the NHL.  The frustrations of only playing in the team’s first two games the season prior was a motivating factor for him to reclaim his spot in the Islanders’ lineup.  

“That was tough to start the season and then go down after two games,” Sim said.  “I knew when I heard the news that my season was over however that I could come back at the same high level to help the Islanders win games.”  

So as last season’s Training Camp rolled around, he had completed his rehabilitation program and came into the season excited to return to the ice, however, his on-ice production dipped as he struggled to find an every day role with the team.  

“I think I was 100% physically, maybe not mentally,” Sim said.  “I think I really started to get my game back about 2 weeks before I was sent down to Bridgeport.  I figured, whatever happens, happens but I was going to give it an honest effort.”  

An honest effort he did as he stepped into the Sound Tigers lineup and added another skilled dimension to a young team.  Sim set the AHL on fire scoring points in each of the first two weekends he spent with the team.  He finished the final two months with the Sound Tigers scoring 23 points (13 goals and 10 assists) in 18 games.  

The gritty game that Sim plays of driving to the net, throwing hits in the corners and doing everything he can to throw his opponent off his game mentally has been the cornerstone of what makes him successful.  In the first round of the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Sound Tigers matched up against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Sim was playing the wing on the team’s checking line with Tyler Haskins and Sean Bentivoglio.  Although the Sound Tigers were knocked out in five games, Sim made life miserable for the Penguin defensemen and finished the series as the team’s leading scorer with five points.  

Like most hockey players in the playoffs, they are playing with some bumps or bruises.  For the 10-year NHL veteran, Sim played those five games on a sprained ankle that was buried in ice after every game.  

“I got sent down, and just wanted to continue to play hard and prove to the Islanders and everybody that I still want to be a part of the organization,” Sim said.  “I was never disappointed going down to Bridgeport.  I just used it as a way to work my way back to the Islanders.”

Over the summer, Sim put in the extra work to guarantee that he was in shape both mentally and physically.
Islander Head Coach Scott Gordon rewarded Sim’s renewed attitude and the great shape he now is in by putting him into the Islanders’ lineup for their Hockeyville preseason opener last night against the Vancouver Canucks.  Although the Islanders were beaten by the Canucks, it was Sim who provided the Islanders’ only tally in a 2-1 defeat.  

“I think that the intensity was really high, being that it was a Hockeyville game,” Sim said.  “The full crowd and cheering brought a lot of excitement to the game.  I think the team played well but we still have a lot to work on in preparation for the season.”

Rookie Game:  Tonight, the Islander Rookies will take an hour bus ride to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to take on the University of Saskatoon.  Several recognizable players that are scheduled to play in the contest are Jesse Joensuu, Joel Rechlicz, Matt Martin and Calvin de Haan.  Check back later tonight for updates on the contest.  Islander goalie prospects Mikko Koskinen and Kevin Poulin will be making the trip.  

Quick Turnaround:  For the Hockeyville Game Group that competed in the 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, they did not arrive back in Saskatoon until 2:30 a.m.  Many of the players crawled into bed to hear their alarms ringing six hours later as they woke up for the day’s practice.  

The Legends: IslandersTV shot a piece with three legendary Islander alumni, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier and Bobby Nystrom.  The three Islander Hall of Famers stood on the bench during the Group 2 ice session commenting on players and how the game has changed since they were attending Islander Training Camps.  

Skipping School: Brendan Witt took some time after his on-ice session to sign autographs for a couple of local schools that took a field trip to the Credit Union Centre to watch the Islanders.  It’s not everyday that an NHL Training Camp is taking place in your hometown so Witt made sure to say hi and sign autographs for some of the students in the crowd today. 
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