The New York Islanders are playing -- and still winning, for the moment -- without three key pieces of their defense corps. Coach Jack Capuano Friday told media the prognosis for at least two of them is, well, it's not day to day.
Via Christian Arnold of SNY/Islanders Point Blank:
#Isles Capuano on Boychuk/Hammer: "Anytime you have players out it's a concern. They're not going to be playing here anytime soon..."— Christian Arnold (@CA_NYHockey) December 5, 2014
#Isles Capuano continued on Boychuk/Hamonic: "We'll just wait to see what the prognosis is hopefully after the weekend."— Christian Arnold (@CA_NYHockey) December 5, 2014
Johnny Boychuk is already on injured reserve, as is Lubomir Visnovsky. Travis Hamonic is
not on IR, but could be a candidate if this persists. [Update: Sure enough, Hamonic was placed on IR shortly after this was posted.] No specific details have been given on the injuries, though Hamonic's looked to be a shoulder based on his treatment on the bench after a hit from Chris Neil last Tuesday at the Coliseum.
Boychuk's injury details are even more speculative. He had taken multiple "maintenance days" from practice recently, and you can't help wondering if there are lingering effects from two frankly cheap hits he took on the knee earlier this season.
On the good news front, Visnovsky was back skating with the Isles at practice today. UPDATE: And with Hamonic on IR, Ryan Pulock will join the club, reports Arthur Staple of Newsday.
But it's the NHL. Everything is upper or lower body, day to day.
Pending Visnovsky's return, the Isles must soldier on with potentially all of Brian Strait, Matt Donovan and Griffin Reinhart (and now Pulock!) offering the blueline depth that every season inevitably requires.
Beginning Saturday at 1 p.m., the Isles face a run of top-flight Western opponents in the Blues (twice), the Wild and the Blackhawks.