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71° Good Afternoon

Lubomir Visnovsky remains a topic of conversation as Islanders open camp

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky warms up

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky warms up before facing the Colorado Avalanche in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver. (Dec. 29, 2007) Photo Credit: AP

The Islanders' first official 2013 practice was a spirited 75- minute event Sunday, with an array of familiar faces on the ice.

But there was plenty of discussion about the folks who weren't on the ice at IceWorks, first and foremost Lubomir Visnovsky, the veteran defenseman who remains in Slovakia despite having a contract and a plane ticket waiting to bring him to Long Island.

General manager Garth Snow will talk with NHL officials before determining the Isles' next step, which could be suspending Visnovsky if he fails to report by 10 a.m. Monday. Under the terms of the agreement between the NHL and the KHL, that likely would mean Visnovsky would be suspended from playing for HC Slovan Bratislava. He already is flouting the agreement by trying to stay overseas.

"It's a moot point for us," Snow said of a suspension. "He's under contract to the Islanders and he should be here."

There's a little frustration brewing in the locker room about Visnovsky's refusal to report, which his agent says does not stem from a problem with the Islanders or Long Island.

"It bothers us, because the guys on this team love it here and guys who get traded or sign here end up loving it too," Matt Martin said. "This is just hanging around the team when we need to be totally focused and ready for a quick start to the season."

Nino Niederreiter had seemed to earn a shot at making the Isles for this 48-game season, and the 2010 No. 5 pick scored two more goals for Bridgeport Sunday afternoon, giving him a team-high 19 for the Sound Tigers in 37 games. But Snow opted to bring forwards Casey Cizikas, Colin McDonald and David Ullstrom up for the big club's camp. "It's an opportunity for him to continue playing different roles -- power play, PK, playing 20-plus minutes a night," Snow said. "It's more conducive for him to be there at this point in time."

Josh Bailey is not at camp after arthroscopic knee surgery. That would seem to open a spot for Ryan Strome, the fifth overall pick in 2011, but he was with the fourth-line group of Martin, Marty Reasoner and Eric Boulton. The short camp and lack of preseason games will hurt the coaches' ability to evaluate him.

"Overall, there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Jack Capuano said. He meant the 23 players who are healthy and practicing, but there's work to do with some of the players who weren't out there, too.


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