The idea behind playing a mostly untested group of defensemen against the nearly full NHL roster of the Capitals on Sunday seemed to be twofold for the Islanders:
Garth Snow and his staff didn't see a reason to send out the bulk of the regular defense for a meaningless preseason game and the Isles wanted to see how their young defensemen, all potential in-season call-ups, could do against Alex Ovechkin and company.
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It was not a banner evening in Washington for those young defensemen in a 6-2 loss. The two NHL veteran defensemen in the lineup, Brian Strait and Marek Zidlicky, didn't fare well, either, and that could be a more immediate concern.ColumnStaple: Thoughts on Isles as preseason ends
Strait and Zidlicky are likely to be the third defense pair Friday when the Isles host the Blackhawks in the season opener, so their first and only preseason game together was somewhat important.
"I've really played with everybody here except him, so it was good to start to learn his tendencies and have him learn mine," Strait said. "We've got to get up to speed pretty quick here."
Strait was likely to be in street clothes for the opener before Thomas Hickey blocked a shot with his left hand a week ago, leaving him out for another three weeks. Rookie Ryan Pulock still is with the team after the other three rookie defensemen who played Sunday -- Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech and Kevin Czuczman -- went to Bridgeport.
Zidlicky, 38, is the new addition and he has played with a variety of defense partners this preseason. "Zid is a guy who doesn't skate much over the summer, so he wants to get in the preseason games," coach Jack Capuano said.
The Islanders had Monday off in Annapolis, Maryland, where the team has decamped for three days to hold practice with the likely final roster.
It was a busy day for the majority of the NHL in the rush to get to the 23-man roster by Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline. There were some big names on the waiver wire, including former Islander Andrew MacDonald, who was placed on waivers by the Flyers with five years and more than $25 million in salary remaining on his deal.
But the Islanders were quiet, placing only forward Louis Leblanc on waivers. They need to make one more move before the deadline and the status of goalie Jaroslav Halak (upper body) should help make that decision.