Islanders Preseason Bits: Everyone Loves a Home Game

One of the fun things about preseason is its spring-like nature.

Whereas in spring people perk up at the site of buds and bright colors and pert ... natural things, hockey offers spring's doppelgänger in the form of young prospects flashing skills (against preseason competition) with veterans who are rejuvenated for a team that is still officially undefeated.

Tonight is the Islanders' only true preseason home game, at Nassau Coliseum (a second one is in Bridgeport next week). So more of the true NHL lineup will be dressed, and some of the vets are excited to get going:

Frans Nielsen:

"[The fans] want to see the new guys and see what we have. They have a lot of expectations for us and we have a lot of expectations for ourselves. We want to win."

He continued, "It’s going to be a pretty strong lineup, so hopefully we can do something good out there. Everybody is excited to get back out there. We’re definitely going to work hard."

Mark Streit, wearing the "C" for the first time and playing an organized game for the first time in a year:

"I spent so many hours in the gym in the past, I don’t know how many months," Streit said. "I’m a hockey player. I’m not a power lifter. So I’ve missed the game, I’ve missed the guys, the atmosphere. I’ve missed the Coliseum and the fans."

And one more from Nielsen, via that same story at the official site:

"We have some great guys who came in," Nielsen said. "(Brian) Rolston is an unbelievable guy. He’s really going to help us, not only on the ice, but off the ice too. He’s a leader and a good guy. He takes care of young guys. I had dinner with Nabby (Evgeni Nabokov) yesterday. He’s another great guy. Marty (Reasoner), just everyone. Everybody is just coming together. It doesn’t feel like we’ve only known these guys for a few weeks, it feels like they’ve been here forever. It’s been good."

Without question, September is when hockey hope springs eternal.

Projected Lines for Tonight against the Devils:

Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Nino Niederreiter
Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo
Jay Pandolfo, Ryan Strome, Tim Wallace
Matt Martin, Josh Bailey, Trevor Gillies

Streit, Steve Staios
Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina
Aaron Ness, Travis Hamonic

Al Montoya (starter)
Kevin Poulin

News and Links - Islanders

General Hockey

Finally, this is why I swear The Hockey News is actively trying to end my family's 30-year run as subscribers. From the Islanders capsule in their 2011-12 Season Preview, which is dated Oct. 3 and arrived in my mailbox last weekend:

"Will John Tavares decide to re-sign a long-term deal after his rookie contract expires? Speculation will grow every day his signature isn't on an extension..."

How about less focus on the glossy, shiny paper and pretty colors -- and ads for in-house publications like "Our Top 50 Goalies Of All Time for Only $5.95" (or whatever), and more timely or at least unique content?

If You're Going to the Game Tonight:

We do have mobile commenting here, if you're the type to check in from the arena. Also: There is a blood drive prior to tonight's game. Presenting donors receive two tickets to a weeknight game during the season. Click here to learn more. Tickets purchased at the box office are available as buy-one get-one free.

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