Islanders Bits: Players Prep on Long Island, as NHL-NHLPA...Talk?

Hamonic prefers to drive, thanks.

Normally this past week would have been one of those fantastic annual rites -- hockey's version of "pitchers and catchers report" and a sign of the approaching fall: New York Islanders players are "informally" skating together on Long Island.

Instead, they operate in a strange limbo like their NHLPA fellows across the continent, unsure if they're physically gearing up for a long, hard season, or for a long, silly lockout. Travis Hamonic is not one of the skaters because he prefers to drive -- and he doesn't want to make that drive without knowing there will be a season.

The "big four" reps from the NHL and NHLPA, the Fehrs and Bettman & Daley, also met "informally" Friday and are expected to meet again Sunday. Some are guardedly positive; some are fatalistic. No one much knows outside that room. Maybe even in that room, as both sides are playing versions of chicken -- perhaps fearing getting punked by the other more than they are concerned about the future of this league.

But here's what's going on there and elsewhere:

Islanders-Like Notes

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