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Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas ‘Days Away’ from Returning to New York Islanders



Brock Nelson New York Islanders

A pair of familiar faces were back on the ice on Thursday morning ahead of the New York Islanders meeting with the Nashville Predators. Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson skated with the team at Northwell Health Ice Center for the first time since Nelson suffered a lower-body injury and Cizikas was placed in COVID protocol.

Neither will play in Thursday’s game against Nashville, but both will be crucial additions to the Isles’ lineup in the coming days as they try to dig out of the hole they currently find themselves in. Nelson’s nine goals lead all Islanders skaters and Cizikas provides an important asset in the bottom six and on the penalty kill.

“They’re skating with the group today so they’re days away I would think,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “They missed some time so they’re getting closer. It was a morning skate so there wasn’t like grind or contact. We’ll see where the doctors, therapists, coaches… see where they’re out. Hopefully, we get there sooner rather than later.”

The New York Islanders have slowly gotten back to some sense of normalcy after a stretch that saw them drop 11 straight games and miss a number of key players because of COVID and injuries. The return of Casey Cizikas means that everyone who had been in protocol is out and that only Ryan Pulock is the lone player out due to injury with Brock Nelson skating again.

The New York Islanders won their first game in over a month on Tuesday when they defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3.

“I think there was a weird period there where we had guys out of the lineup, away from the rink,” Scott Mayfield said. “It was tough. Especially opening up the new rink without some of the guys that deserved to play in that game, but as we get everyone back it’s a good feeling. It’s fun in the locker room and just have to find ways to win now.”

Add both Cizikas and Nelson would go a long way in that task for the Islanders. With both of their returns relatively close, that could put them to return on Tuesday in Detroit.

“We’re getting some faces back obviously that we haven’t seen. We have to get everyone back and playing,” Trotz said.

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