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In The Islanders Room: Reaction To Gallagher Suspension & Parise Joining Avs



Screenshot courtesy of the New York Islanders

East Meadow, NY– As the New York Islanders face the Florida Panthers in their final game before the NHL’s All-Star break tonight, a significant piece will be absent from their lineup.

Defenseman Adam Pelech will not dress for the Islanders. Islanders head coach Patrick Roy announced that Pelech is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Pelech sustained the injury as a result of an illegal check to the head from Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher during the Islanders’ 4-3 loss on Thursday.

“Whenever you see a player in open ice go down like that, you can just tell with the way he spun and was facing the other way, it’s just not a good hit,” Scott Mayfield said. “It’s one that they want to get out of the game. I know Gallagher plays hard. He doesn’t have a history of being a dirty player. That one just crossed the line.”

On Friday, Gallagher had a hearing over the phone with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and was given a five-game suspension for the hit, which is the maximum allowable under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

To some, that feels like too light of a punishment for Gallagher, considering the severity of the hit. As for the Islanders, the length of the suspension makes no difference.

“Every time you lose a player like Adam, the suspension to us is no longer important,” Roy said. “We’re losing a quality player. Adam was playing so well for this team. The three games I’ve been with him, he was one of our best defensemen. Whatever suspension Gallagher has doesn’t make us a better hockey team.”

Pelech has already endured a lengthy absence this year. He missed 20 games with an upper-body injury he suffered back in November and only recently returned to action earlier this month. Now that Pelech is back on the shelf again, it’s all hands on deck for the Islanders.

“He’s a huge part of our team,” Mayfield said. “He plays big minutes against top lines and PK-wise, too. Guys got to step up. We do have the depth here now. It’s important we get this game tonight, and it’s going to be a challenge, especially with him out.”

One player the Islanders have been without all year is Zach Parise.

Parise spent two seasons with the Islanders before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of last season. At the time, Parise said if he were to come back for a 19th NHL season, it’d only be with the Islanders.

Fast forward nine months, and Parise is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche after signing with them on Friday.

“I’m not disappointed in him that he didn’t pick us,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “I understand his answer and where he’s coming from. Everyone loved him here. We just wish him well. It’s his decision, and I think everyone’s just happy to see him back in the league. We knew he had more left in the tank. I wish he would be on our team, but he made the decision that is best for him and his family. I’m happy for him.”

Parise was the consummate professional while with the Islanders. In the twilight of his career, he never missed a single game in two seasons.

“When you get Zach Parise, you know what he’s bringing to the table: hard work, paying attention to all the details, and he still has some really good scoring ability,” Pageau said. “I think the way he works doesn’t get credit enough. He’s always in the right spot, always giving it 110 percent, and I think that’s the kind of teammates everyone loves. He’ll adjust to whatever role he’s given when he gets to Colorado.”

The Islanders have already played the Avalanche twice this year, so they won’t run into Parise unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Finals.

That, however, is a long way away on the calendar, and the Islanders are a long way away from it in the standings.




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