Newest Isles make preseason debuts at MSG
Chimera, Ladd Gets First Taste of Local Rivalry in Exhibition Loss
The stakes weren’t very high.
Nor was the intensity, compared to what it will be like on Oct. 13 when the New York Islanders and New York Rangers kick off their respective campaigns against one another in the regular-season NHL opener for both local squads.
But for Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd, Tuesday night’s 5-2 preseason loss to the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden was a little taste of what’s to come for the newly signed free agents.
“It was pretty cool to put the uniform on,” said Chimera, who scored his first goal in orange-and-blue to give the Islanders a short-lived 1-0 lead at MSG in the opening period of one of two split-squad preseason defeats the team suffered on Tuesday.
The other came in a 4-0 blanking at Philadelphia.
“It’s one of those historical uniforms you always want to put on,” added Chimera, a 37-year-old left winger who came here from Washington in the hopes of helping the Isles hang a Stanley Cup banner in the Barclays Center.
“Wins and losses aren’t the most important things in preseason, but you want to build. We can do some things better, but we did some good things and there’s always [things] you want to improve on.”
Ladd, who inked a seven-year, $38.5 million deal to play here this past offseason, skated on a line with fellow new addition P.A. Parenteau and 2015 first-round draft pick Matthew Barzal.
But the 30-year-old winger did not figure in the scoring as defenseman Nick Leddy potted the Isles’ other goal midway through the third period.
Stephen Gionta, Jesse Graham, Barzal and Parenteau each registered assists for the Isles, who got 26 saves from second-year goalie Jean-Francois Berube.
“The game — at times — got away from its structure, but it’s more [about] evaluating for us,” Isles head coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s watching guys and how they compete on the road and there are some things we have to take a look at.”
In Philadelphia, Christopher Gibson and Eamon McAdam combined for 16 saves in net, but New York failed to light the lamp against Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason with a squad consisting of most of the highly touted prospects that scored a 3-0 win here at Barclays vs. the Flyers on Monday night.
“Obviously Mason played a heck of a game and I thought we had some guys that distinguished themselves,” Isles assistant coach Greg Cronin noted.
“We’re looking at the young guys like Joshua Ho-Sang and Anthony Beauvillier. Both of them played well, they were both on the puck, they fore-checked hard and I was happy with them.”
The Isles will lace them up again Saturday night against Washington here at Barclays.
Isles Have Another: While the Isles continue to gear up for the regular season, team captain John Tavares and goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the team’s primary netminder last year before suffering a season-ending lower-body injury during the stretch run, are playing for Team Europe and Team Canada in the ongoing World Cup of Hockey Finals in Tavares’ native Toronto. Halak made 29 saves against Canada Tuesday night, but the Europeans dropped Game 1 of the best-of-3 championship series, 3-1. Tavares failed to score for the Canadians, but has registered two goals and three assists in the tournament thus far. Both are expected back with the Islanders by early next week, if not sooner, depending on what happens in Thursday night’s Game 2.
The Islanders also signed veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a contract, according to ESPN’s Joe McDonald.
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In local college soccer action, Brooklyn and Xaverian High School alum Salvatore Barone and reigning NEC Player of the Week Yussuf Olajide both scored goals as St. Francis Brooklyn cruised to a 3-0 victory over visiting Howard last Saturday afternoon at Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP).
Freshman Amir Islami also tallied for the surging Terriers (4-3-2), who improved to 3-0-2 in their last five matches.
Reigning NEC champion LIU-Brooklyn had its three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Albany.
Junior Na’eem Charles scored the lone goal for the Blackbirds (5-3-1), who remain the favorite to recapture the crown when conference play begins next month.
The Blackbirds will visit Bryant in Smithfield, Rhode Island for their NEC opener on Oct. 7, while the Terriers host Fairleigh Dickinson here at BBP on Oct. 9.
The local rivals will square off for what figures to be a critical match in the NEC Tournament seeding here on Nov. 6.
Last year, the Blackbirds ended the Terriers’ two-year reign as NEC champs with a thrilling shootout win at LIU Field in the tournament semifinals.
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