Head coach Jack Capuano put the group through an energetic practice for the first day.
“You go into training camp and you’re expecting a pretty tough day,” Matt Martin said after his group left the ice. “I think we got that, but it’s a lot of fun to get back into a rhythm and having some fun with some teammates. Seeing some familiar faces, we have been skating a lit bit together, but it’s a different feel. The intensity is definitely amped up and time to prepare for the season.”
Tavares added: “The pace was high out thee today. I think everyone from the veteran guys to the young guys you can see the speed we have as a group and all the skill level top to bottom. It’s going to be a great camp for everyone to push themselves and get better.”
There isn’t a lot of time between the start of training camp and the first preseason game. The Islanders have a split squad game against Philadelphia on Monday (one game in Pennsylvania and one in Brooklyn). It will be the first chance the team will get to adjust to the new routine they will go through 41 times a year in their new arena.
“It’s going to be an adjustment and something we’re going to have to get used to,” Martin said about the change to the player’s game day routine. “It’s going to take a little bit of time to get into that rhythm and routine… It’s going to be a transition that everyone is going to have to find a routine that works best for them.”
Surprised, But Not By Grabner Trade: The Michael Grabner trade that took place around noon Thursday caught a lot of people by surprise. Grabner had reported to the Nassau Coliseum for physicals and to meet with reporters earlier in the morning.
“I think you’re always [surprised],” Tavares said. “The first day of camp too. I know Grabs wanted to bounce [back] from last year. A lot of ups and downs for him and he’s really become one the guys that have come up together here. He was my neighbor for years and just a great guy, great family and I wish him all the best.”
Tavares added that the trade was also a product of the depth that the team possesses.
For Martin, the move wasn’t as dramatic since he understands the business aspect of the league.
“I don’t think anything really surprises you anymore,” he said. “I think if you asked me six years ago I’d be surprised by things, but moves happen all the time in this sport. He’s a good friend to a lot of us in here and we wish him all the best in Toronto.”
Sting is Still There: The Islanders may be five months removed from their first round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals, but that doesn’t mean the sting has gone away. Tavares told reporters Friday Morning that he doesn’t think he’ll ever get over it.
“I stopped thinking about it 23 hours to the day,” he said. “Certainly it was really hard watching the rest of the playoffs and thinking of what could have been. It’s certainly an opportunity that we missed [...] It’s a motivating factor.”