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Comeau amped, prospects chomping: It's beginning to feel a lot-like-hock-ey...

Remember the schmaltzy Christmas pop song that resurrects the rocker's career in that Hugh Grant film "Love, Actually"? (Wait...huh? No I didn't see that chick flick either. Please...really.) Had I seen that film -- which I categorically deny -- I'd remember the hilariously cheesy opening lines of the song about Christmas "all around you:" "I can feel it in my fingers, feel it in my toes," or something like that.

The point, had I been awake, bound and present for that movie, is that you can say whatever schlock you can think of about Christmas: as long as it's about Christmas, it will put people in a good mood.

Change that "Christmas" to "hockey," and I'd actually willingly go to that movie without kicking and screaming and causing Mrs. Lighthouse to say something about me "ruining every nice night out." (Which is crazy: I've never ruined a night out at a hockey game, so ... I digress...) Some people shed cheesy tears despite themselves for the holidays; I find dust gets in my eye when I think about a new hockey season dawning.

Around the NHL, fans are watching rookie camps, gearing up for training camp and analyzing what the future holds.

On the home front, the lone paper regularly covering the Isles has allowed its Isles beatwriter to tear herself away from other sports for the moment to give us bits here and there: Just before the long journey to Saskatoon, John Tavares is salivating to play in Scott Gordon's system; potential power forward (oh please-oh please-oh please be so) Matt Martin is seeing an opportunity for him to fill the Islanders physical void quickly. And Blake Comeau is hoping to make a better impression than he did at last year's camp -- but also, curiously, be "a true power forward" himself. (Eh?)


Of course, hanging over our heads is the specter of Charles Wang's Oct. 3 "deadline" coming without full go-ahead on the Lighthouse Project. The speculation about which markets will come calling first -- I'll be visiting one of them for the preseason game Sept. 22 -- is already stirring.

The politics, the finances, the Town of Hempstead soap opera -- there is so much left to (sadly) be done on that front. But from now through Oct. 3rd's home opener, I'm not gonna sweat it too much. It was the Summer of Tavares and now Year 2 of the rebuild. That's where my focus will be. Thankfully we're not in Coyotes' fans' devilish situation; we've got Wang to play this out one way or another. (We'll still dutifully highlight and link to those who have worked their tails off making sure their voices are heard and correct info is spread; I'm just expressing my desire to focus here on the ice.)

Kansas City can play the pawn. Wang can do the unfortunately necessary flirt-with-others game. That's almost beyond our control. I've waited all summer for this: For now, it's time for plain old hockey, and the debut of the most exciting rookie the Islanders have seen in 25 years.

P.S. SB Nation's new sports portal at has launched. It's an up-to-the-minute general sports platform that features the latest sports news from anywhere -- not just SBN blogs -- but does the same thing for general sports that the 210+ SBN blogs do: Augment it with in-depth fan analysis and engaging community conversation. If you like multiple sports -- (What's wrong with you? Isn't hockey enough?) -- I'm told it will be a must-stop destination. If you only like one sport, well there's a portal there for just hockey, too.