Isles Training Camp News & Notes

Day one of training camp for The New York Islanders has been completed as plenty of familiar faces took to the ice today to either look to impress the coaching staff, or get back into game shape.

However, one player who was not at camp was defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.

Visnovsky has made it clear that he wants to remain with his team in the KHL, which is unsettling for Isles fans as well as his teammates. Arthur Staple of Newsday's recent report from camp today had quotes from some of the Islanders, including general manager Garth Snow, that indicated their displeasure with his actions (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flick).

It was also reported earlier by TSN that the Islanders would suspend Visnovsky if he did not report to the team by 10 AM today.

It all dates back to the summer when Snow made the trade that acquired him from the Anaheim Ducks. Steve Giangaspro has an excellent article covering the actions of Visnovsky and how it has affected the team and its fans. 

Regardless of what happens, it is expected that Visnovsky will eventually give a year of service to the New York Islanders. Just look at Evgeni Nabokov - the guy refused to play with the Isles and then was forced to play a season between the pipes since he didn't honor his contract. And in the end, the guy re-signed for another season.

So Visnovsky, you will eventually be playing for the Isles if you wish to play in the NHL again, whether you like it or not.

The drama surrounding Visnovsky has led to Snow signing former Islander, Radek Martinek to a one-year deal worth $600,000. Martinek was always a valuable defensive-defenseman. The problem was that he could never stay healthy. In fact, he only dressed for seven games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season due to a concussion.

The players that are actually participating in training camp are as follows per the Islanders official press-release:

Casey Cizikas, Travis Hamonic, Jon Landry, Colin McDonald, David Ullstrom and Ty Wishart have been recalled from loan from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. The Islanders also officially recalled two players from Canadian Junior leagues, Griffin Reinhart from the Edmonton Oil Kings (Western Hockey League) and Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs (Ontario Hockey League).

Ryan Strome was skating on a fourth line today with Marty Reasoner and Eric Boulton, which is not exactly the best trio if you are looking to give Strome a chance to shine at the NHL level. He might get a chance to play in a more prominent role, but this abbreviated training camp might only serve to give him a little more of a taste of what it takes to play in the big leagues (jennkuhn4/Flickr).

The same can be said for Griffin Reinhart, who is making his first appearance in an NHL training camp. The Isles currently have Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Mark Streit, Radek Martinek, and Matt Carkner set on defense with a fading question mark over Visnovsky. Since Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness are not in camp and Calvin de Haan is out for the year with an injury, Reinhart might have an opportunity to put on an Islanders sweater next weekend.

But the Isles did add depth on defense today by claiming Joe Finley off waivers from the Buffalo Sabres. 

Per the Isles press release:

Finley, 25, has appeared in 36 American Hockey League games this season with the Rochester Americans, scoring five points (one goal, four assists) with a plus-3 rating. The Edina, MN, native has appeared in five career National Hockey League games, all with Buffalo in 2011-12.

It appears that Finley will be a depth signing for the Sound Tigers, but his arrival does crowd the blue line a little bit more as we head towards opening night.

One player who was not mentioned in training camp was Nino Niederreiter, despite being the most dominant player in Bridgeport. Garth Snow has said all along that he would have preferred, if possible, for Niederreiter to play in the AHL last season as opposed to fourth-line NHL minutes. He is now getting that chance and is thriving. Leaving Nino with the Sound Tigers in order to continue bolstering his development seems like the smart move.

An injury to Josh Bailey, who recently had knee surgery, will likely keep him from playing this Saturday. This opens up the opportunity for Ullstrom and Cizikas to pick up where they left off last season.

Decisions will have to be made quickly as the Islanders will be dropping the puck against the New Jersey Devils this Saturday for the first game of the season. But if you can't wait for Saturday, the Isles will be hosting a Blue and White scrimmage this Wednesday night at 7PM that is free to the public at Nassau Coliseum.

-Rob McGowan
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