EAST MEADOW. N.Y. — New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz didn’t have any complaints about the effort that he saw on the opening day of training camp on Monday.
“I thought we had a real good day,” Trotz said. “I thought we got a lot out of it and kudos to our veterans. I thought our veterans led the way today. That was really good and our young guys continue to get better and better. It was a good day.”
It was a good sign as the Islanders prepare for what will be a sprint of a 56-game season when it begins in Manhattan on Jan. 14. The Islanders have a mere 10 days to prepare for the start of the season after a three-month layoff.
While the shortened camp and no exhibition games make things a bit tougher, it’s nothing the Islanders haven’t been through before. Prior to the start of the playoffs last August the Islanders went through a similar scenario with shortened camps and just one exhibition game before starting the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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“Before the bubble this summer as a group as players I think we did a phenomenal job of preparing ourselves,” Anders Lee said after the first day of on-ice workouts. “Obviously Barry puts his touch on it and forces us to be in better shape, but I think that mentality definitely carried over to this (camp). You knew right away that it was going to be a 10-day camp and we’re playing games in 13 days.
“There’s really no time to break your body in or the little things, so you really had to come into this camp really ready to go.”
Trotz plans to spend the first three days of camp working on fundamentals and warned observers not to read too much into the lines that are on the ice. Lee said after Monday’s practice that it was about “lungs and legs” rather than making plays.
“This group is very professional,” Trotz said. “They’ve got themselves ready. They’ve pushed themselves. I don’t have any issues in terms of the conditioning. I think the conditioning is spot on. They haven’t just done flow drills and stuff. They’ve battled and they’ve worked on getting ready to start in a little over a week from now.”
The Islanders open the COVID-19 shortened season against the New York Rangers on Jan. 14 at Madison Square Garden.