No Islander fan worth his or her salt wants to see the score Rangers 5 and Islanders 2.
It’s just not in a fan’s DNA.
However, tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden was preseason and the Islanders were playing with a split squad with their best players still up in Toronto for the World Cup.
So this game was more for evaluation purposes than anything else.
“The game was, at times, got away from its structure- for us anyway,” said coach Jack Capuano. “Again, it’s more of evaluating for us. I’m not going to comment on the guys, we don’t like doing that during training camp. You guys just watch guys play all year long- you probably know better or just as well as I do, but just try to evaluate as we move forward. We have to compete a little bit harder in certain areas or with certain guys.”
More important, tonight was the first action for new Islanders Jason Chimera, Brian Gionta, Andrew Ladd, and PA Parenteau, all of whom received significant ice time and in Chimera’s case, scored a goal.
It’s important for especially the first three to get used to Capuano’s system to get ready for the season.
“Obviously, you’re going to play with some new players each game in preseason,” Chimera said. “The lines seem to get set towards the end of camp. Me, Gionta, Fritzy (Tanner Fritz), did some good things tonight. They’re two speedy guys. Fritzy played a good game for his first exhibition game. You’re trying to get him the puck and get him a goal or some good chances and Gionta’s no stranger to the league.”
It’s not time to panic and maybe just observe. They are off until Saturday when they take on the Capitals up in Bridgeport. As camp progresses, you will see a more complete Islander team take the ice and then some true evaluation will take place.
Right now, though, it’s time to look at the kids and see what might happen in the future.
“I think the one thing we’re looking for is a staff and I say our entire staff is to see how they rebound from a strength and conditioning standpoint,” Capuano said. “When they play against men, this team they didn’t play last night, they come back, they battled. I thought some guys handled the change better than others. I thought some guys struggled with it.”