Yesterday marked the first day of 2021 Islanders Training Camp and I would say that it was more eventful than in previous years. The training camp roster had 32 forwards, 18 defenseman and seven goalies.
Lou Lamoriello spoke to the media on Wednesday stating that the entire organization with exception to one player was 100% vaccinated and that the player mentioned would be playing elsewhere this season. We didn’t know who this player was until prospect Bode Wilde was left off the training camp roster and started replying and liking Instagram comments on his most recent post. He has since turned his comments off and made his account private. He replied to a comment saying “Hoping my human rights are enough to let me play… what a world.” which confirmed that he was the unvaccinated player therefore he was not invited to camp. Personally, whatever Bode wants to do is on him and whatever the consequences of that are, he will figure that out. What I have a problem is, isn't the debate on the vaccine, it's the way he reacted. Wilde is 21, almost 22 years old and he is responding to and liking comments like “I hope you find a team and truly understands your value” which is absolutely disrespectful to the Islanders and incredibly immature. Obviously he wants to become a NHL player one day and disrespecting the organization that drafted you is certainly a bad look.
Trotz also spoke to the media regarding Bode Wilde’s choice to remain unvaccinated saying, "We respect everybody's freedom of choice on the vaccine. He's going to play hockey and we're going to find him the best place to play because we think he's a good player. Hopefully this COVID thing gets settled down and hopefully Bode Wilde plays a lot of games for the Islanders in the future." From the looks of it Wilde will remain with the Islanders organization, at least for the time being. He played for the Bridgeport Islanders (AHL) last season.
Matt Martin missed the first day of Islanders training camp due to soreness; he got ankle surgery this off-season due to an injury he suffered during the 2021 playoffs. Trotz said that he is “getting close” to returning.
Semyon Varlamov didn't skate, had some soreness, being very cautious at the start of camp. Trotz confirmed that Varlamov not participating was strictly precautionary.
Prospect Sam Bolduc didn't skate yesterday, Trotz confirmed that he was just sore from a skate session last week, nothing to be worried about.
Zdeno Chara, Zach Parise
Yesterday saw Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise skate with the team for the first time in an Islanders uniform. Not much to note on Parise, all eyes were on Chara to see which defenseman would pair with. He paired with young defenseman Noah Dobson. Trotz thought it would be beneficial to Dobson after seeing how Chara helped the development of Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy for the Bruins. The team seems to be happy to have Big Z back on the Island, Anders Lee on Zdeno Chara: "To add Zdeno to our team is a special addition. His experience, his leadership, his physicality, you can go down the list of things he brings to the table and there's a lot of intangibles there. To have him on our side is great."
Anders Lee back on the ice
It was absolutely devastating when Anders Lee tore his ACL and was out for 6-9 months, missing the rest of the 2020-21 season and playoffs. It is clear that he has worked hard to rehab his knee to be back for this upcoming NHL season. Islanders fans are thrilled to see him back on the ice, his teammates are also just as relieved. Barzal said "Just relieving having him back out there and seeing him buzz around and look faster even than last year. He's obviously in great shape, looks great, shooting the puck well."
The day before training camp the Islandes held media day photos where we saw some new faces and some new numbers. Zdeno Chara went back to #33 which he wore for 17 years in Boston and Washington. During his previous stint with the Islanders, Chara wore both #3 and #53 across his 4 seasons with the team. Zach Parise kept his #11 which he wore for nearly a decade with the Minnesota Wild, Austin Czarnik changed his number from #11 to #10 to give in order to give Praise his number.
Lines for Day 1
Group 1 Drills:
Lee - Barzal - Golyshev
Panik - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Bellows - Raty - Palmieri
Andreoff - Czarnik - Holmstrom
Hickey - Pulock
Chara - Dobson
Salo - Mayfield
Group 2 Drills:
Parise - Pageau - Timashov
Dal Colle - Nelson - Bailey
Beauvillier - Koivula - Wahlstrom
Komarov - Bardreau - Johnston
Pelech - Hutton
Gustafsson - Greene
Aho - LaDue