Islanders: camping at home

Scrimmage, skills competition set for Saturday


For the first time in 13 years, the New York Islanders are conducting training camp on Long Island.

Fans can get their first up-close look at the team this Saturday at 11 a.m. when it conducts a Blue and Orange game scrimmage, followed by a skills competition at Nassau Coliseum. Tickets are $10 and on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets. Proceeds will benefit the Islanders Children’s Foundation.

“It’s good to have camp close to home,” said forward Trent Hunter, a sixth-round draft pick of Anaheim in 1998 who needs two more goals to reach 100 for his career. “Everyone is more comfortable in familiar surroundings and there’s a lot less travel involved,” he added. “I think it makes things a lot easier for everyone on the staff and guys with families.”

Hunter said the team is focused on a strong start after going 1-4-5 in its first 10 games last season. The Isles finished 34-37-11 (23-14-4 at home) and nine points out of a playoff spot. "We want to come out flying," he said. "We can't afford to dig ourselves a hole like we did last year."

The scrimmage will feature John Tavares, who led the Isles in scoring as a rookie in 2009-10 with 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points, as well as Kyle Okposo, Mark Streit and Matt Moulson (30 goals). It’s the first game action the team will take part in prior to its exhibition schedule, which begins on Wednesday when the team will send a split squad to Saskatoon to take on the Calgary Flames, while the other half of the roster will face the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Islanders’ lone preseason game at Nassau Coliseum is Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. against the New Jersey Devils. The regular-season opener is Saturday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at home against the Dallas Stars.