Islanders announce Pre-Season Schedule, love the term "Home and Home"
The Islanders have announced their pre-Season schedule for the 2013-2014 season, playing 8 games against the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames. The team's "home" games in Canada will be played in Regina, Saskatchewan and Barrie Ontario. The Islanders "home" games against the Devils and Predators will be played at the Barclay's Center and Nassau Coliseum respectively. The Islanders will also play full team games against Nashville, New Jersey and Calgary, while playing a "split squad" against Ottawa. the two Ottawa games will be on the same day and should be interesting to see how they shake out, I'd expect the Islanders to bring the "A squad" to Barrie and the "B Squad" (AHLers, top prospects, and a PTO or two) to the Canadian Tire Centre (Scotiabank Place), much as I expect the Senators to play their B Squad (which may well be last year's playoff team minus Spezza and Karlsson) in Barrie and the A Squad at the new Tire Centre.
The Calgary trip for the Islanders has been an annual "rite of passage" or so it seems for the teams younger players, we've seen guys like Kyle Okposo and Calvin de Haan begin to make their presence known with the team at the Saddledome. This year you'll see Islanders Top prospects face off against Calgary's Sven Baertshi, Markus Granlund and Max Reinhart. It will be interesting to see which prospects the Islanders bring with them to Calgary.
The Nashville home-and-home will be abuzz with Islanders fans getting a glimpse of top D prospect and 4th overall pick Seth Jones coming to Long Island. The new look Preds will also feature long term D man Shea Weber and new signees Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg, Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom, in addition to F prospect Filip Forsberg. Expect former Brooklyn Nets Assistant Coach Popeye Jones in attendance at the Old Barn to watch his son at the beginnings of his NHL career.
The Devils series will feature the home ice debut of the Barclays Center for the Islanders. It will be interesting to see how fans react to the seating in the arena and if it can live up to the expectations fans have. Also of note for the Devils series, seeing New Devil Cory Schneider as well as Reid Boucher. The Isles should make this series interesting.
Finally, the Ottawa series will be highlighted by the probable differences in lineup strengths, but the Isles will get their first taste of the line I expect to be the best in the NHL: Milan Michàlek-Jason Spezza-Bobby Ryan. I wonder if the Isles will send the Neilsen or Cizikas lines to Kanata to see if either can grind that line down to set up in-season match ups, could be fun.
Should be a fun pre-season as the Isles gear up for another Playoff race in the 2013-2014 season.