You awake this Saturday morning to find the air crisp and cool with no hint of heat or humidity. That can only mean one thing……hockey is right around the corner.
The pre-season kicks off tonight with three games (two being split squads) and the New York Islanders are officially practicing, officially opening up their 2013-14 campaign at Barclays Center on Thursday morning.
Expectations are running high in the fan base for this team as the organization looks to infuse some young talent that has simmered down in Bridgeport and add that extra spark and youthful enthusiasm in the first year of the John Tavares era.
Around the league, with Nazim Kadri signing his bridge deal and reporting for training camp earlier in the week, news came yesterday that Alex Pietrangelo, defensive standout for the St.Louis Blues, followed suit and agreed to a 7 year, 45.5 million dollar contract and will rejoin his teammates.
Derek Stepan and Cody Franson are the two biggest names left for their respective teams to sign, still in restricted free agent status and not in camp. News surfaced yesterday that Stepan might now be willing to sign a bridge deal, after originally demanding a long-term deal from a team that just does not have the cap space at the moment. With Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin expected to potentially miss the opening month of the season, the Rangers need Stepan in their lineup sooner than later.
In other news around the league, ex-Islander locker room favorite Martin Biron has rejoined the Rangers after personal issues and Jaromir Jagr continues to miss Devils camp due to a hamstring issue. That has to be concerning as the forwards age and declining health the past couple of seasons are rearing their ugly head way too early.
Tyler Seguin turned heads at Dallas camp with his speed, which should be no surprise, but it still remains to be seen if he can reign in his supposed party image off the ice. Remember Patrick Kane? He now has two Stanley cup rings to his credit.
Lastly, Mikhail Grabovski will visit the United States consulate on Monday in hopes of getting his visa issues worked out so he can begin working in this country.
In Case You Missed It
- Art Staple had time to talk to the Islanders 3 new additions looking to make a difference (Newsday)
- Dom at the Lighthouse talks of the defensive pairings this camp and wonders aloud (LHH)
- Brock Nelson is knocking on the door, hoping Jack Capuano answers (NY Islanders)
- Ex-Islander Jesse Joensuu is all of a sudden the biggest Oilers fan (Edmonton Journal)
- Rich Peverley is out of Dallas camp for 3 weeks due to a heart procedure (Causeway Crowd)
- Recap of the Pietrangelo signing (Bleedin Blue)
Two Minutes For Tweeting
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) September 14, 2013
- Congratulations to the Islanders bench boss on a well deserved honor!
— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) September 14, 2013
- A huge welcome to Joe, who joined the Eyes On Isles staff yesterday after interning at Newsday the previous year. Welcome aboard and we look forward to your contributions!
— Reagan King (@ReaganKingIsles) September 13, 2013
- Staff Writer King comes up with his own ‘bold’ prediciton for the upcoming season. I cannot say I disagree. Bouchard is very excited to play with Tavares and Moulson and has not looked out of place thus far in camp.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 13, 2013
- A-Mac trying to one-up comments made to us on Thursday from Matt Martin when the Isles hulking winger referred to his skating. This is right up there and I would call it a tie for now.