The New York Islanders are carrying a full 23-man roster, and AWOL Lubomir Visnovsky and IWOL (injured without leave) Josh Bailey are both on the path to lineup candidacy later this week. What's a club to do?
Put reliably injured Radek Martinek on IR, for starters. The Isles announced Martinek is on IR retroactive to Feb. 3 due to a groin and abdominal strain. Martinek has not played in an NHL game yet this season and in fact his last one was Oct. 21, 2011 when he suited up for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
As fans we say this a lot, but here it couldn't be more true: We literally don't know what the Isles have in Martinek right now other than a familiar face, and a face familiar to IR.
The Isles have plenty of defensive depth in camp though, carrying eight defensemen including waiver claim Joe Finley, who hasn't played since Jan. 25 in Boston.
Martinek's placement on IR will make room for one of either Bailey or Visnovsky, who is expected on Long Island Wednesday. That leaves one more move or injury/malady to create room for the other. It's not expect to affect Tuesday's game against the Penguins though -- and maybe not Thursday's game against the Rangers at the Garden. But decisions are certainly looming.
Speaking of which, Colin McDonald is eligible to return to the lineup (he still counted toward the 23-man limit during his two-game suspension) Tuesday. Today at practice he returned to his familiar line with Keith Aucoin and David Ullstrom.
The almost long-awaited move of Kyle Okposo off the top line, where Brad Boyes lines up in his place next to John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Okposo reunites FNGO with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner.
Okposo has appeared at a loss for ideas on the top line. His combo with Nielsen and Grabner was once a force at the end of 2010-11. Here's hoping the change reawakens him before a firmer kick is needed.
* * *
Elsewhere: Michael Rupp's Atlantic tour has been derailed. The Rangers dealt him to the Minnesota Wild today.