I promise no prospects will get shortchanged because of the LeBron hysteria sweeping the nation, but let me give a little love to former Islanders beat writer Alan Hahn, who apparently landed a big scoop, reporting that LeBron is likely headed to Miami to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
Even Scott Gordon weighed in on all the hoopla yesterday, after being asked if he plans on watching tonight's 9 p.m. special.
"The only prime-time special I'll be watching is if Ilya Kovalchuk announces where he's going," Gordon cracked.
The Easton, Mass native said the news isn't actually of much interest to him.
"I know he's not going to the Celtics, so beyond that I don't really care."
Good turnout at prospects camp for the big club guys. Josh Bailey and John Tavares were around yesterday to provide some direction to the young ones, and I just ran into Frans Nielsen and Blake Comeau in the hallways of NVMC.
In addition to a couple of appearances at Islanders team store last week, some of the guys were here for Matt Moulson's wedding in CT last weekend.
More from camp later...
UPDATE: John Tavares taking shots on goalies. Pretty sure I mentioned this yesterday, but Tavares went sans boot for the first time early last week and began skating on his own Tuesday. Tavares said he expects to be ready to begin his full off-season routing beginning Monday, when he leaves for back home in Oakville, Ontario. Similar to the past few seasons, Tavares will be training with power skating instructor Dawn Braid.
UPDATE: Travis Hamonic just finished up with the first group this morning and talked about the experience he gained this season (traded from Moose Jaw to Brandon, where he played in the Memorial Cup final).
"Last year, me going back to junior and playing my 19-year-old season there was probably the best thing I could've done. I was very grateful Moose Jaw gave me the opportunity to move on and go into the playoffs, to play in Memorial Cup. The things I learned in junior were huge. They gave me the opportunity, I think I made the best of it and at this point I think it's time I turned the page on my junior career. I think I've proven what I can do offensively and defensively, so I think it's time to move on and try to become a pro here."
Although Hamonic poked fun at his inability to grow a playoff beard with Brandon, he said he feels he is "right there" in terms of being an NHL-ready player.
"Being a hockey player you have to be confident in your abilities and your No. 1 supporter sometimes. I feel ready and if the season were to start tomorrow, I feel I'd be able to step in. The Islanders are going to do what's best and I'm ok with that."
What would making the team mean to Hamonic?
"The smile on my face says it all. If I had that opportunity this year it would be pretty special and I'd get to share it with my family and friends."
UPDATE: Fellow blue-chip defensive prospect Calvin de Haan, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery back in January, began skating on his own three days ago. Besides the requisite winded-ness that comes from a lengthy absence from action, de Haan said he feels great. No pain or limited range of movement in his shoulder.
de Haan didn't hesitate when asked his goal heading into his second training camp with the Islanders
"I want to play in the NHL, that's my No. 1 goal," de haan said after taking shots at the goalie grouping on the ice.
de Haan said he gain more than just experience from last year's camp, but more importantly, confidence in his ability.
"I've just got to know that I can trust myself now," de Haan said. "I have more confidence this year. I had nerves last year and that won't be as big of a deal this year."
de Haan has packed on between 10-15 pounds since last September, and while he'd ideally like to be between 190-195, he said he doesn't want to lose any speed.
Remember that while de Haan still had a fair distance to go from filling out physically last year, one of his best assets is his strong skating ability.
UPDATE: Mikko Koskinen also underwent season-ending surgery (hip) this past season and talked about that process:
"It was tough, but I did it and now I'm back in full shape. Hopefully I'm better off as a result and a little mentally tougher as well."
As for his rehab starts in Bridgeport?
"It was important for me to get those games. I played most of the season in the ECHL. I saw myself and my team and I said, I can play here."
Koskinen hopes he can use that experience to propel him this season.
"I want to make my NHL debut this season and play a lot of games in Bridgeport," he said. "If I get that chance I'm going to make the most of my opportunity."
UPDATE: One cool scene from the second session today: Scott Gordon was at the drawing-board near the bench with eager pupils Kirill Kabanov and Kirill Petrov front row. Every few seconds or so, Kabanov would translate the instruction into Russian and relay it to Petrov beside him.
"It was tough, but fun," Kabanov said afterwards. "It's nice having another Russian around...there weren't any in Moncton."
Gordon relayed a funny anecdote about the situation afterwards as well.
He said he was trying to tell Petrov what he did better from the last time he executed the drill. Kabanov huddled over to interpret the info and pass it along to Petrov.
"Good job," Gordon said to Petrov.
Instead Kabanov graciously thanked his coach for the praise.
Gordon said that the whole process not only helps Petrov, but Kabanov as well.
"It;s good for Kabanov to see someone like Petrov, from his own country, act so professional. Even though Petrov has limited English, he's very professional and attentive during drills."