With the lockout coming to an end, some Islanders players are ending their temporary employment abroad and returning to Long Island.
For the most part, Islanders players had a successful stay in Europe. But being hockey is such a physical sport, some players suffered injuries while playing during the lockout. Here is a look at their injuries and how it may affect them with the NHL season on the horizon.
Jesse Joensuu- While playing in Finland, Joensuu suffered a hand injury in November that was supposed to keep him on the shelf for two months. But Joensuu returned a little more than a month later, although in the 4 games since his return, he has yet to regain his scoring touch (10 g, 14 a prior to the injury). Joensuu has taken 15 shots on goal in his four games back, a sign that the hand isn't hindering him and may not be a problem going forward.
Michael Grabner- Grabner suffered an abdominal injury while playing for VSV in his home country of Austria at the end of November. It didn't seem to be serious at first, but he hasn't played a game with VSV since the injury occurred. Rest assured, Grabner tweeted a couple days ago that he believes he'll be ready for the start of camp, though it's still something we should keep an eye on.
Rick DiPietro- The punchline to any Rick DiPietro joke involves some reference to injury, and Rick's adventure in Europe was no different. Playing in the 2nd Bundesliga in Germany (which amounts to the AHL in the US), DiPietro played only two games (one league game, one cup game) with SC Riessersee and then rumors of a groin injury surfaced when DiPietro didn't play for a week.
He actually didn't play at all after that, though DiPietro denied ever being injured. One German report stated that DIPietro's injury was a godsend for SC Riessersee because it allowed someone other the DiPietro to play goal. So whether the reports of the groin injury were true or not (and why wouldn't we believe they were), the real injury that may have occurred in Germany was to DiPietro's pride.
John Tavares- Tavares tore up the Swiss league while playing with SC Bern, picking up 42 points in only 28 games. But not even the durable forward couldn't escape injury during his time in Europe, even if it was by the rarest of occurrences.
Tavares was bitten by Clarence Kparghai in the ribs during a scrum a couple weeks ago. Don't worry though, Tavares didn't contract lockjaw and has played since for Bern, so we should be in for another great season from the Islanders superstar.
Frans Nielsen- Nielsen wasn't injured that I'm aware of, but Dom said I'd get fired if I didn't mention him at least once in this article.
The injuries that occurred to Islanders in Europe don't seem like they'll affect their play much to start the NHL season (save Rick DiPietro). The time in Europe will actually help the Islanders, as they had more players over their during the lockout than 26 other NHL teams. Hopefully this will mean less rusty and more game ready players when the season starts on Jan. 19.