Islanders: Gervais signed, four prospects make team

By Tom Liodice

The New York Islanders announced the signing of their 2003 sixth-round pick, defenseman Bruno Gervais to a three-year rookie contract. Gervais, who was selected 182nd overall, was one of the big surprises to come out of the Islanders training camp in Wheeling, West Virginia. Originally not even expected to make it out of the Isles rookie camp, Gervais came to Long Island packing only five days worth of clothes. Little did he know that he impressed head coach Steve Stirling and his staff that he was invited to join the Isles in Wheeling to start training camp.

There, Gervais continued to shaine in front of Coach Stirling with his heads-up, calm and patient play. After a preseason game in the Islanders AHL affiliate hometown of Bridgeport, CT, many players were left there to start training camp with the Sound Tigers, but Gervais continued on with the team. His hard work and dedication was rewarded with a contract.

Gervais won’t start fulfilling the contract right away though. He was returned to his junior team, the Acadie-Brathurst Titans (QMJHL) on Saturday and will take over the captaincy, as he was captain of the Titans last year.

Islanders Opening Night Roster Set

The Islanders have announced their opening night roster, with four of their prospects making the big club.

Center Justin Papineau, right wing Trent Hunter, enforcer Eric Godard,and 2002 first-round draft pick Sean Bergenheim are all penciled in on Coach Stirling’s roster for opening night in Washington. Papineau was considered the Isles best all-around player in the preseason, scoring a point in every preseason game with three goals and two assists in six games. Hunter was a staple in the Islanders AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the past two years as he recorded two straight 30-goal seasons. He recorded two goals in four preseason games, and will help out the Isles as he normally likes to situate himself in front of the opposition’s net, in hopes to bang rebounds home.

Godard will be looking to replace the void left by departing Steve Webb. Islander fans got a preview of Godard last year appearing in 21 games throughout the regular season and playoffs, as he’s already making a name for himself as one of the most fearer fighters in the NHL, going against heavyweights such as Tie Domi, Todd Fedoruk, and P.J Stock.

Bergenheim was another one of the big surprises to come out of training camp. His speed and grittiness impressed Coach Stirling throughout the past three weeks. He is also being used on the PK, as his speed is enough to become an annoyance to the opposition.

#3 – Adrian Aucoin (A)
#4 – Roman Hamrlik
#7 – Trent Hunter
#10 – Sean Bergenheim
#12 – Oleg Kvasha
#17 – Shawn Bates
#21 – Mariusz Czerkawski
#24 – Radek Martinek
#26 – Justin Papineau
#27 – Michael Peca (C)
#28 – Jason Weimer
#29 – Kenny Jonsson
#30 – Garth Snow
#33 – Eric Carins
#37 – Mark Parrish
#39 – Rick DiPietro
#44 – Janne Niinimaa
#45 – Arron Asham
#49 – Eric Godard
#52 – Sven Butenschon
#55 – Jason Blake
#79 – Alexei Yashin (A)