Islanders (Preseason) Gameday: The Nabokov Debut Will be Televised

I hope you have TSN or NHL Network (U.S.). [UPDATE: MSG will also carry tonight's game.] Because until they pull the rug out from under us [just replace "they" with The Man, some faceless tycoon, "people these days" or your enemy of choice], tonight's Islanders preseason game versus the Flames is set to be televised on those outlets.

Their opponents just cut their roster down to 30; Nino Niederreiter's teammate and countryman Sven Baertschi heads back to WHL Portland. That doesn't mean the Flames will field a full NHL lineup but it will be more accomplished than the squad the Islanders are sending.

For my interests that's okay. I don't like preseason and don't want to see regulars get hurt. I'd rather get a peek at kids I won't be seeing 82 times this year, like Kirill Kabanov and Ryan Strome. Let's look at who escorts the kids:

Projected Islanders Lineup

Comeau-Reasoner-Rakhshani
DiBenedetto-Ullstrom-Haley
Pandolfo-Frischmon-Wallace
Kabanov-Strome-Gillies

Jurcina-Staios
Donovan-de Haan
Reese-Wishart

Nabokov
Koskinen

Not stellar, but quite fun combos there:

  • Blake Comeau could see time with Martin Reasoner this season; Rhett Rakhshani makes his preseason debut coming off a concussion.
  • Justin DiBenedetto, Davild Ullstrom and Micheal Haley could all be fighting for the same final forward slot.
  • Unsigned tryout Jay Pandolfo may need to be sold on AHL life by Trevor Frischmon and Brett Wallace.
  • Trevor Gillies is no doubt tasked with keeping anyone from going Phaneuf on the pups. Wonder if KK and Strome get any powerplay time.
  • On D, Matt Donovan and Calvin De Haan will be the promising but Bridgeport-bound blueliners. I figure Ty Wishart's spot is his to lose, but it's possible Dylan Reese applies implied pressure. Steve Staios plays against his former team in what could be a swan song or the performance that buys him one more NHL year.

In goal, Evgeni Nabokov gets the start thousands of miles from the venue he turned down last season, with Jack Capuano saying this:

"He’s (Nabokov) played so much hockey and he understands we want to give the young kids a look as well. We know what he’s going to bring to the table he’s going to play, I don’t know if he’s going to play the whole game out there right now, but he’s going to play a majority of the game and as we move on he’s going to play more and more."

Everything Capuano has said about goalies this summer has sounded like he sure wants to go with the best one, whoever that is.

 

Frans the Versatile

Elsewhere in Islanders coverage, Frans Nielsen talked with Newsday about being used on the powerplay the other night -- where the Isles racked up quick goals -- and how if that continues, it could steal from his PK duties:

"If I want to be out there against the other teams' top lines, I can't be tired," Nielsen said Monday after the Isles' practice at IceWorks in Syosset. "You just have to be smart. If they want me on the power play and it's not working or something, you just get off the ice..."

In the same article, Capuano talks about the pride Nielsen takes in his defensive game, but how he knows he can work in any role. Only preliminary talks have occurred on a new contract. I'm sure more PP exposure indirectly pushes the price up.

 

Other Links

The Canadiens have signed Chris Campoli (!), and this sets the setting for why:

The signing raises doubts about the health of defenceman Andrei Markov, who suffered a setback while recovering from a knee operation.

There is also reason to be concerned about the status of  P.K. Subban – afflicted with a mysterious back injury, sustained during off-season training. Subban has played in only one of the Canadiens’ five exhibition games.

The back-end picture has also been clouded by the mediocre preseason play of Yannick Weber and Russian newcomer Alexei Yemelin.

This is not good at all: Sean Avery claims Wayne Simmonds used homophobic slurs in one of their shouting matches last night. Here's Simmonds' post-game. Here's Copper & Blue talking about how the league needs to step in on what is way too accepted within locker rooms and on benches.

 

...and finally: Tonight, we have no reason to list Nabby as a scratch, healthy or otherwise. Welcome to the party.

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