After a long summer of Tavares-level hope and Lighthouse project mixed messages, we're finally here: Islanders training camp, baby. Maybe it's all for naught -- another 30th-place finish as "projected" at Puck Prospectus (discuss that one in AP77's FanPost here). Maybe not.
While the team is landing in Saskatoon and taking the ice, there is already a detour on the itinerary:
Hockeyville 2009, in Terrace, B.C., this weekend. Expect user and current Terrace resident BCILSEMAN to be filing more FanPosts here about Terrace before the team's appearance there for the preseason game Monday against the Canucks in that small northwest B.C. town. That game is televised (10 p.m. EDT) on NHL Network in both countries, as well as CBC in Canada.
- More Hockeyville coverage will be at hockey historian and Terrace native Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends site, as well as at nhl.com.
Meanwhile, for the rest of training camp:
- Happily, Newsday's Katie Strang is on the beat and on the ground in Saskatoon for John Tavares' first steps.
- Camp rosters are on the official Islanders site: Veterans + Tavares | Rookies/Amateurs (Those marked with numbers, anyway). Notice the veterans numbers? Nate Thompson now thinks he's Darius Kasparaitis ... or Wayne Merrick). Meanwhile, here's Chris Botta's prediction of who survives the final cut, including prodigal Jon Sim.
- And of course, the Islanders eight-game preseason schedule is all over the map -- from Terrace to Alberta to Saskatoon to Kansas City, and finally back home for a home-and-home with the Devils Sept. 23 and 29. I'll be venturing to Kansas City for the game against the Kings at the Spring Center, so be sure to check back here for a birds-eye view of that night -- well, the part of that night that doesn't involve the Town of Hempstead, anyway.
Around here, we'll finish up our report cards for last year's carryovers (only two left!) while digging into the key questions for the Isles heading into this season. After a loooong summer of keeping the lamp on with discussion of all things roster and rebuild, it's finally time to talk the kind of hockey that happens on the ice. I know, go figure, right?
As always, whether you're a vet who's stuck with Lighthouse Hockey all summer, or a newbie coming in from a frustrating/victorious summer of baseball, your thoughtful or witty comments and enthusiasm is welcome here. If you have a full-fledged theory or analysis or frustration to get off your chest, the FanPosts are your canvas. The better you make them, the better the resulting discussion.
It's time to drop the puck!