September 25, 2008

Isles Off to Good Start in Preseason

The Islanders came to training camp with many questions this year. The biggest question of all, however, was how new head coach Scott Gordon's system would work with the current crop of players the team has. So far, so good.

The Islanders won their first preseason game on Tuesday 2-1 over the Bruins. Jon Sim scored the only regulation goal for the Islanders and prospect Trevor Smith scored the winner in overtime. Sim had many chances for the Islanders, which was a very good thing to see from a player who missed all but 2 games last season after having knee reconstruction surgery. Kyle Okposo had a very solid game for the Isles, and Doug Weight had a couple of nice chances on Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask.

The Islanders outshot the Bruins 38-19. For much of the early part of the game, the Islanders we able to sustain a lot of momentum in the offensive zone. Much of this can be attributed to Gordon's idea of "overspeed."

The Isles rookies have also been successful so far this offseason as they are 3-0. The young players also seem to be buying into Gordon's system, which I'm not surprised to see because of his track record of working with young players.

The Islanders go back at it tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. Islanders 2008 first round draft pick Josh Bailey will make his debut centering Mike Comrie and Blake Comeau. That should be interesting to see since Bailey has a very good chance to make this team with Mike Sillinger on the IR list to start the year.

So far, Gordon's system seems to be working fairly well. All the players are buying into it, and thats a good thing. An up tempo system is something the Islanders haven't had for years, and with a team that might not look as skilled as the others on paper, that could be their best chance at staying competitive.

I plan on going more in depth about Gordon real soon as I compile some things players have said about him and his system. Since the system is new to most of us, a lot of stuff we don't know about. Once we get to see some of the preseason games at length either live or pre-recorded, we should be able to tell more from that.

Chris Hessel

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