Okay, I'm a bad girl. I took a few hours for mental health reasons from work this morning. I went to Ice Works to watch Scott Gordon in action for the first time. I must say...
I'M DAMN IMPRESSED!!!
The NY Islanders held prospect mini-camp in Syosset from Monday to Wednesday of this week. I couldn’t get there on the first two days. But I headed out this morning for the last day.
When I pulled up, there were some players outside about to start conditioning drills. I didn’t stop to watch. It’s one thing to sit at the rink and watch. It’s another to stand by a fence in 80 degree weather and gawk and young men in shorts and t-shirts.
Uh, no. I sat with the computer in the bleachers just to watch and listen.
I was pleasantly surprised. Oh look! REAL DRILLS!! Real instruction and a whistle that doesn't stop. They huddle, they're told what to do, they get a little confused—but that's okay. They're young. He's patient. He tells them again. He stops them, tells them what they did wrong and they go back at it.
No, there was no fatherly yelling—there was coaching. Which was nice to see. The other coaches hadn't said boo yet. They were all just hanging back, waiting. They stood leaning on sticks by the benches. They included Islander greats Ken Morrow and Bryan Trottier, as well as all the Sound Tiger coaches.
Gordon reminds me a lot of Brad Shaw out there on the ice. I have a very good feeling about this. As good a coach as Ted Nolan is, he seemed far more “hands off.” He seemed to believe his players would just listen to him and do.
Scott Gordon seems to expect far more obedience to his direction. He would write on his white board, and the players would scatter. They’d perform, and then Gordon would go back to the board. Pardon me while I smile.
One by one, players I could recognize passed me on the bleachers. They would stop to sign autographs for whoever asked. On the ice, since there are no names on the back of the practice jerseys—a detail Gordon is looking to change.
I can only assume that the littlest kid in blue is LI native Vlad Nikiforov. I still can't say his name. He looks like he's 12. The same way Bruno—who passed me while I was writing—looked when he first came to prospect camp. He was a boy among men. And we know how he turned out.
Little Niki is fast, a little confused, but fast. His parents sat behind me. I didn’t speak to them. They were watching their son proudly.
So, while I was there this morning I did get one, maybe two pieces of new info from my good friend Isles VP Josh Bernstein.
Check out the NEW ITV video portal. It's the NHL.com TV portal, and it's awesome. There will be some great new content coming up that will entertain and impress all of us die-hard fans.
Also, check out CBS News for the "Tunnel to Towers" Run on (I believe) Sept. 28. CBS News is doing a feature segment on the Islanders and their contribution to this worthy cause. There are exclusive interviews with Campoli and Gervais as well as Chris Dey. Sounds like a great piece with some good exposure on network TV for the Islanders.
As the Zamboni was clearing off the ice, I sat waiting to see what was next.
“Dee! Dee!” The voice was familiar, but it took me a moment to look up from my laptop to see who was calling. GM Garth Snow had peeked out from behind the large posters covering the upper walkway to say "Hi" to me, which was very nice of him. But Garth is a consummate gentleman. Just one very BUSY gentleman.
I sat chatting with Katie Strang from Newsday, who reiterated that the hockey coverage should indeed expand with the Dolans in charge of the daily paper. I'm thinking it's a clever move on their part to keep us very vocal Islanders fans from yapping back at them all the time.
There were hockey bags crowding the doorway to the rink in preparation for Thursday’s exhibition game in CT at 1 pm. So much preparation. So little time.
My laptop battery began to fail. I figured that was the cosmos way of telling me to get my big butt back to work. I didn’t want to listen, so I looked around for an outlet. I found two behind vending machines and right outside the doorway to the upstairs catwalk. I thought twice, and then packed up.
I loved being able to just be at the rink typing. I know that it will be only a little while longer before I can see an actual hockey game since I’m not going to Moncton. (Neither is Katie—she's not in Newsday's budget.) I guess Greg Logan will have to be our only link to the daily goings on at camp.
Unless, of course, newly re-associated, ex-VP Chris Botta is planning on making the trip to Moncton too—then fans are assured of great behind-the-scenes coverage. What a perfect way to start his new—supposedly daily—blog venture, Islanders Point Blank, on Sept 25 than with a Training Camp recap. There is certainly the necessity of finding something to fill the void once occupied by the Moncton - Ted Nolan connection.
But this is the NY Islanders. There’s always SOMETHING interesting going on!