If the Islanders’ Sept. 12 practice session at Barclays Center was a tour of their new home, then consider Saturday night’s preseason game a trial run.
The game, the first the NHL has ever played in Brooklyn, was a run-through for the real thing which will begin during the 2015-16 season.
And while the Islanders publicly and privately rave about their new home, they were acutely aware of what last night’s game meant — a chance to improve before the regular season starts on Oct. 4.
“Well, for us, we had a chance to practice there,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told reporters during the Islanders’ early skate at Nassau Coliseum Saturday morning. “It’s a great facility. We’re excited for our ownership group that things got to work out. It’s not going to be a distraction in any way for us. We’re excited to get there — packed house tonight. Hopefully put on a good performance, looking forward to it and making sure — this is a process — as we move through training camp that we execute a little bit better. I thought from the first two games in Calgary and the last game, we did a lot of good things, so hopefully we can build off that.”
Devils in the details
Saturday night’s preseason game marked the third of the Devils’ six exhibition tilts.
While their opponent dressed a lineup closer to the one that will start the season, the Devils are still studying and making determinations on the athletes that have attended training camp.
“We’re not there yet,” Devils head coach Pete DeBoer said before the game. “We’re looking at an Opening Night roster. We’re still evaluating a big number of bodies. We’re getting close. I would think by our last two games that we would be at that point. But we’re not there yet.”
Before the game, the Devils announced defenseman Harry Young and forward Tim Sestito and Rod Pelley cleared waivers. Young was subsequently assigned to AHL Albany.
Winter Classic 2015
Washington will host the 2015 Winter Classic, the NHL and Capitals announced in a joint press conference Saturday morning at the team’s annual convention.
“The excitement of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic continues to grow and bringing the 2015 event to the D.C. area will write another chapter in the game's great history of entertainment. We are looking forward to being in Washington with the Capitals’ great fans,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
The 2015 game will mark the second time the Capitals will participate in the NHL’s premier regular season event. Washington beat Pittsburgh, 3-1, in the Jan. 1, 2011 game at Heinz Field.
An opponent and venue for the Jan. 1, 2015 Winter Classic have yet to be announced.
“We are extremely excited to host the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and bring this great event to the D.C. area. Our great fan base deserves to experience the magnificence of an outdoor game. We are thrilled to once again be part of this great event,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in the statement.
Follow NHL beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.