The Islanders' Matt Martin skates during practice at MetLife Stadium...

The Islanders' Matt Martin skates during practice at MetLife Stadium on Thursday. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Islanders training camp part deux, to honor Patrick Roy’s first language, ended Saturday at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow.

Four straight days on the ice in advance of Sunday’s Stadium Series game against the Rangers at MetLife Stadium. Three days for the new coach to work on changes to the system, compete level and culture, including the season’s most intense practice on Wednesday and some scrimmaging on Friday. One day, Thursday, to get acclimated to their temporary home rink in a football facility.

“It’s more so just being able to go out there for a couple of hours and just look around, take it in, so when the second time comes, you’ve been there before and you can just focus on the task,” said Cal Clutterbuck, one of four Islanders — along with Brock Nelson, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas — to have played in the organization’s first outdoor game, a 2-1 loss to the Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 29, 2014.

“The one thing I noticed at the practice was it’s a lot brighter than it is at a rink. The glare off the ice is substantial. The ice feels different. It’s a different surface. The puck tends to bounce a little more. You’ve got to keep it simple.”

Whether Roy has been successful in his stated intention of breaking old habits in the Islanders’ play and creating new ones in their long-odds playoff push will become evident after Sunday’s league showcase.

He won’t get another chance like this week to work on so much at practice.

“We’ll have plenty of days off coming up,” Roy said. “Days where we’re going to play every other day.”

The Islanders will play four games — three on the road — in seven days starting Tuesday in Pittsburgh. They will play 14 games in 31 days in March, including their California swing. The NHL trade deadline is March 8, and while it might become more prudent for president/general manager Lou Lamoriello to be a seller, the Hall of Fame executive has never been one to give up on a season or believe in a rebuild.

On Saturday, listed the Islanders’ chance of qualifying for the playoffs at 16.3% and their chance of winning the Stanley Cup at 0.2%.

Which is why it was so important this past week for the Islanders to compartmentalize between the work that needs to be done and fulfilling the NHL’s promotional efforts at MetLife Stadium. The players could enjoy Thursday’s family skate with their children before retreating to their Long Island practice rink for two more days of hard skating and Roy stopping drills to emphasize fundamentals.

Finally playing the Rangers for the first time this season is just another component to the Islanders’ urgency.

“I think the rivalry between us and the Rangers is a pretty special one,” defenseman Scott Mayfield said. “It’s not highlighted as much as some of the other rivalries around the league. It’s good to get that recognition.”

Roy backs rivalries

The current Islanders-Rangers rivalry is a watered-down version of what it was, given the NHL’s scheduling matrix in which the Metropolitan Division foes usually play four times a season or, as was the case last season, only thrice.

Gone are the seven-game season series from the old Patrick Division days or the six games they would play each season while in the old Atlantic Division.

Coach Patrick Roy, a member of the Canadiens’ intense matches against the Bruins and the Quebec Nordiques — and then against the Red Wings with the Avalanche after the Nordiques moved to Colorado — would prefer to see more rivalry games.

“Did I love to play Detroit when I was a player? Or Montreal-Boston, or Quebec? Yeah,” the Hall of Fame goalie said. “When I was in Denver, we played Detroit four, five, six times. They were battles for sure. And the same thing with Quebec and Boston. I think we played eight times and the fans were pumped. It’s almost like they never had enough. They wanted more and more.

“I see the people walking in the street and see people excited about the Rangers and the Islanders. I think it’s good for our game.”

From the Pod

In their 2-1 shootout loss to the Kraken at UBS Arena on Tuesday night, the Islanders had a second-period shift in which their top line of Bo Horvat between Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal and top defensive pairing of Alexander Romanov and Noah Dobson were pinned in their own end for between 2:44 (Horvat) and 3:35 (Romanov). Remarkably, the gassed quintet did not allow a goal.

Horvat, in a segment of Newsday’s Island Ice podcast Episode 179, discussed what it was like to be on the ice for that long.

“They didn’t get a crazy amount of shots. They kept it on the outside,” Horvat said. “When you’re in those positions, you’re just trying to get in front of guys or limit their Grade-A opportunities. For how tired our D were — they had a long shift before that — and for how tired everybody was, I thought we did a pretty good job. It stinks when you’re in that position, but we handled and we didn’t get scored on and that’s all that matters.”

Horvat was asked how long it took before the legs gave out.

“Probably around the two-minute mark,” Horvat said. “There’s no good time when you’re out that long.”


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