The television cameras weren't ready. The announcers weren't ready. But the Islanders were ready.

Before the opening drop of the puck could even hit the ice, before a second could even tick off the clock, the Islanders and Lightning were throwing fists on Monday. Staged fists? Yes. Emotionless fists? For the most part.

But meaningless fists? Negative.

After the sloppy, passionless first period the Islanders offered up against the Devils on Saturday, it was nice to see that the Islanders were ready to play from the opening faceoff against Tampa Bay. They didn't wait to show us some effort in the second period. They didn't wait until the back end of the first. Heck, they didn't even wait until the networks came back from commercial.

I'm sure both teams thought an extra kick-start was needed for this early season, post-119 day lockout, 1 p.m.-start game. The Lightning know they haven't performed well at the Nassau Coliseum in the recent past. The Islanders were asked by starting goalie Evgeny Nabakov to come out angrier in games. Messages were in need of being sent.