It's a rather atypical day for your hockey season to start. I've gone from freezing at night, wearing my footsie pajamas and electric blankets to wearing a short-sleeved shirt with the A/C running on my commute home from school.
I'm kidding, I don't own footsie pajamas, but I would look damn cute if I did.
But yes, back to the important stuff. Every year I would get that type of feeling that hockey season was on the horizon. This year it's been on and off, but at the end of the day for Isles fans, it's finally the first day of hockey.
I already wrote about my expectations for the boys in blue and orange prior to tonight because I couldn't wait for the season to start. So rather than repeat myself I figure we could just talk some hockey.
I, and many other Islander fans, was at the Season's Ticket Holder Signing over at Eisenhower Park last Sunday. It truly is a great experience to get to meet the players you watch and root for, and it's great to see the enthusiasm they show in return for the fans. This was my second time attending the signing, but there was something quite different from last year's.
As a kid I always acknowledge athletes as adults; people who were older than me and had it made. Now I was going from table to table to receive an autograph and photo with someone whose my younger brother's age in Josh Bailey, as well as Kyle Okposo, who would be a junior in college with me being a senior. It almost felt, well, weird. Sure, they're adults, but it was definitely different.
This is because tonight the youth movement will finally be kicking into effect tonight at the Prudential Center with the Isles hoping to defeat the New Jersey Devils. Per Greg Logan's blog on Newsday.com, new comer Nate Thompson will be playing center tonight between Kyle Okposo and Sean Bergenheim. The first line seems to be etched as Doug Weight centering Bill Guerin and Jon Sim. I can say that I am very excited to see what Sim can do this year, and he himself seemed raring to go within the brief conversation I had with him at the autograph signing. Comrie has been supposedly moved to the wing position with Park centering, with Andy Hilbert on the other wing. That leaves the other line of Tambellini, Nielsen, and Hunter intact, which was also said to be one of the best lines we had in pre-season.
In addition, it is expected that Gervais will be the odd-man out on defense with Pock playing with Freddy Meyer. Witt, Martinek, Streit, and Hillen are expected to be playing as well. I am not too worried about Gervais sitting because I am sure he'll get his chance. Pock and Hillen, I'm assuming, are fill-ins now for Campoli and Sutton. I think it's a safe bet to say that Gervais will get his playing time as long as he earns it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Hillen steals it from him.
But back to the forwards...although he is sitting out tonight due to injury, where will Bailey's nine games fit with such a veteran filled roster? Where will we find Comeau after having a promising season last year?
Where is the youth going after all?
There hasn't been a line-up posted on the Isles web site but this does cause some speculative concern. Hopefully it is just a bit of a look-see at line combinations for the start of the year, but you can imagine too many veterans having a spot over someone like Comeau or even Bailey is not going to sit well with the fans, especially since this is a trait that many fans disliked in former coach Ted Nolan.
Either way, tonight the politics involved will be set aside as I will FINALLY get to watch Islanders hockey.
LET'S GO ISLANDERS!!!