This time, the Islanders’ players knew it was coming.
Coach Barry Trotz, starting his second season with the Islanders after previous stops with the Capitals and Predators, always makes the first on-ice day at training camp a grueling practice designed to shock the players’ system back into game mode after the long offseason.
Each of Friday’s three groups skated for 90 minutes with plenty of battle drills and close-quarter work, ending with rink-length sprints.
Defenseman David Quenneville called it the hardest practice he’s been through.
“Guys have done a wonderful job of getting themselves prepared for camp, they’re in great shape,” Trotz said. “But their game skills, their battle skills, you don’t do that. That’s the idea of getting some of that summer rust off and get that Islander mentality of ‘We’re coming after you.’”
Said center Casey Cizikas, “You can know every drill, it’s still going to stink out there. That was a good test. It’s meant to put us through the ringer and get us back into that practice form, that game form.”
Forward Simon Holmstrom (foot), the 23rd overall pick in June who has battled hip and thumb injuries the past two seasons, was not able to practice as he recovers from blocking a shot in practice back home in Sweden. Trotz said it was “just a little tweak” and there was a “good chance” Holmstrom would be able to practice on Saturday.
Holmstrom missed all of this week’s rookie camp but he did participate in the Islanders’ summer development camp.
MSG Networks announced it would broadcast three Islanders’ preseason games: Tuesday against the Flyers at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Sept. 24 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and Sept. 28 against the Rangers in Bridgeport, Connecticut. All three MSG Plus broadcasts will start at 7 p.m.
Defenseman Mitch Vande Sompel left the ice with a towel wrapped around his right hand after going down hard into the crease. Trotz said he had no update but it was “doubtful” Vande Sompel would practice on Saturday…Trotz said defenseman Bode Wilde (ankle), a second-round pick in 2018, is day to day. Center Bobo Carpenter (shoulder) will be out longer. “You won’t see him through training camp,” Trotz said.