Of note, defenseman Calvin de Haan was skating with the team. He's not expected back for the Boston game, but his appearance is a good sign since coach Jack Capuano's previous update before the Toronto game was that CDH was "not close."
Here's actual video evidence of de Haan skating as well as his critique of said video.
@NYIslanders good highlight— Calvin de Haan (@cal_dehaan) March 11, 2016
No timetable (beyond day-to-day) has been set for his, Marek Zidlicky nor Mikhail Grabovski's return.
The other update: New forward lines.
#Isles Lines at Practice:— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 11, 2016
For the Twitter or numerically challenged, that's:
Josh Bailey - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Ryan Strome
Shane Prince - Brock Nelson - Anders Lee
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck*
*It's weird, but my keyboard autofills the rest of that line as soon as I type "Ma..."
Also skating as a fifth line: Steve Bernier remains in scratch purgatory, while Grabovski remains on IR and Eric Boulton's appearances in games remain on a comet schedule.
Key differences with these lines:
- Okposo is reunited with Tavares for the first time in a while. They've been linemates often, but Okposo is also often pushed to a second line to try to balance things out or find the right combos. Bailey, a utility knife deployed wherever there is a need or a gap, has seen plenty of time with Tavares too.
- Strome, who got an extended look with Tavares, now plays with two guys known more for their defensive acumen, though it will be interesting if this stokes Nielsen's offensive game some.
- Back to natural centers: In the preceding shuffle, Kulemin spent time at center for the first time as an Islander, while Nelson was moved to wing after hitting a dry spell at center. Even Nielsen saw some time on Tavares' wing in the middle of a few recent games. This restores a little more natural order.
- Lee on the right: Lee, usually on left wing, has seen more time on the right side since Prince arrived. This could be an interesting line with a mix of speed (Prince), net-front ruckus-making (Lee), and a bit of creativity and size (Nelson).
Line blender debate is one step below roster-bating, in that people issue very strong opinions over very minor matters. But one impression I've heard from fans is that these are more "balanced" lines than we've seen recently as Capuano sought to "get guys going" and such.
So, what do you think? These are what you'll see in Boston, at least for the first 10 minutes or so...