New York Islanders captain Anders Lee was back out on the ice after the team wrapped up their morning skate on Monday ahead of Game 5 in Tampa Bay. While his presence on the ice was another welcomed sight for the Islanders, it was his appearance in the team dressing room prior to Game 4 that really caught everyone’s eye.
A fired-up Lee was seen on a team-produced video reading the lineup card before the Islanders 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lee reads out the starters’ names before the video cuts to the Islanders injured captain slamming his hand against the door to fire up his teammates as he walked out of the room.
It had been a rare peek at Lee’s interaction with the team since his injury in March forced him to miss the rest of the year, including the Islanders’ second consecutive trip back to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. For head coach Barry Trotz, Lee’s presence around the team benefits everyone.
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First off, it gives Lee something to keep his head straight. “I think it’s good therapy for him and good motivation for him,” Trotz said ahead of Game 5
The second advantage is the leadership that Anders Lee still brings to the dressing room. Trotz believed that he can give the players on the ice another shoulder to lean on for advice.
“With the relationship he has with that whole group, I thought it was really important for him to do the lineup calls just so you know he’s around,” Trotz said. “He gets it. He gets the part about how important it is to be someone to lean on, even if he’s not in the lineup right now. He’s enjoying it as much as they are.”
The Islanders captain is later seen in the video after the Islanders won all smiles as he congratulated Josh Bailey on his goal and watched as Ryan Pulock presented Matt Martin with the Islanders bomber jacket for his game-winning goal.
Lee has been sidelined since he got tangled up with New Jersey’s Pavel Zacha in front of the net on March 11 and his right leg hit the ice awkwardly as the two fell. Lee underwent successful surgery to repair the injury.
The Islanders have insisted that Lee will not play at all this season, but he has been spotted skating on several occasions now during the postseason. Anders Lee was first spotted working on the ice ahead of Game 5 during the Islanders series with the Boston Bruins.
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