The New York Islanders were back on the practice sheet Thursday morning as they prepare for their contest against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. After two victories in a back-to-back scenario with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Islanders were off on Wednesday.
Here’s the latest from Thursday’s practice:
After returning to practice on Jan. 3, Kyle Palmieri (IR) has not been on the practice ice since morning skate against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 13. He was absent again Thursday morning.
On Tuesday, ahead of the Islanders contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz gave an update on the status of one of his two injured players:
“He just hasn’t moved forward as quickly as we thought he would,” Trotz said. “There hasn’t been really any setback. He got to a certain point in terms of his rehab and that and now he’s probably you know, percentage-wise he’s but he’s probably at 85%.”
Although we do not know the injury or the extent, it seems that it’s not just the physical aspect that has stopped him.
Right now, even if healthy, a lineup spot is not a guarantee with the way that Kieffer Bellows and others have played in his absence.
Bellows’ Spot in New York Islanders Lineup
Early in Thursday’s practice, Kieffer Bellows took some line rushes with Anders Lee and Mat Barzal on the top line. Austin Czarnik also worked his way in there.
In Tuesday’s win over the Philadelphia Flyers, Zach Parise skated on the top line as Bellows slotted in on the third line alongside Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom.
“I think they were fine,” Trotz said regarding both Bellows and Parise. “For the most part, I thought in the Philly game, there’s only a few guys that I felt that really stood out. And everybody’s sort of blended in.”
“We’ll see where we go with our lines tomorrow…”
Bellows struggled in his first stint on the top line, as he and Barzal had a couple of miscommunications in a 2-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday, Jan. 15.
Pageau has been relied upon heavily over his time with the Islanders in nurturing youngsters.
Wahlstrom has been stapled to his side in most games this season, even in a game where he found himself on the top line.
We could see Bellows be paired with Pageau more often, if Trotz is pleased with Parise, the veteran, alongside Barzal.
Where Does Ross Johnston Fit Into the Equation
Forward Ross Johnston is eligible to play in the Islanders’ next contest against the Arizona Coyotes following his suspension, but with how the fourth line has played over the last two, he may be watching Friday’s contest.
Although he took part in practice on Thursday, Johnston was on the ice before the team’s practice working with Austin Czarnik and Sebastian Aho, who have been the scratches over the last couple of games.
Johnston has slotted in on the fourth line and the third line this season.
Martin has been nursing a nagging injury this season and with the back-to-back situation this weekend, it is not out of the realms of possibilities that Johnston gets into one of the games, to give Martin a rest.
Pulock Still Away From Team
Ryan Pulock (IR) has not practiced with the New York Islanders since his injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 15. His four to six-week timetable has surpassed nine weeks.
While Pulock has not been activated out of COVID-19 quarantine as of yet, neither was head coach Barry Trotz officially, yet he’s been back for two games.
Pulock missed Thursday’s practice.
Following Monday’s game, Trotz stated that he hopes to have Pulock back in the mix in the next couple of weeks, which would push his return to, at the earliest, the first week of February.
Pulock has been rehabbing and skating on his own for quite some time.