Adam Pelech may get a happy ending to what looked like a lost season and possibly even lost career.
The New York Islanders defenseman, who has been on IR since mid-January with an undisclosed but evidently very worrying condition, skated in full practice with the team Monday for the first time in two months.
Head Coach Jack Capuano said he’s almost at 100% medically, but that there’s still going to be some time – and potentially a conditioning stint – before he returns to action. "He’s still quite a ways away," Capuano said. "We’re just trying to get him out here and determine if he needs a conditioning stint. I’m sure Garth will make that decision as we move forward. The fact that he’s out here means that he’s progressing, but he’s still some time away."
At one point it was feared Pelech's issue was "season-ending" or worse, even career-jeopardizing, though details have been absent, with fans scratching for whatever could be relayed by Newsday beatwriter Arthur Staple.
Usually the team becomes a little more detailed once a player has recovered from something like this -- or when a final determination is made that the season's over -- and Islanders Point Blank reports a team spokesman indicated that if Pelech is activated then an announcement about the specifics of his condition would be made.
As Capuano's update indicates, Pelech's return to game action this season still isn't assured, but at least now has a chance.
That week in January was a crazy turn of events for the young defenseman. After getting the call ahead of Ryan Pulock and Scott Mayfield to join the club, Pelech impressed in seven games. In his last game, Jan. 14 against the Rangers, he had a freak but seemingly benign facial cut from the skate of Derek Stepan, as well as his first two NHL points. He stayed in that game and there was never an indication the cut was an issue, though that's where speculation later turned after he went on IR.
Two days later the 21-year-old took the morning skate, then was ruled out of action that night with the proverbial "upper body injury." Two days after that, he was on IR indefinitely with everyone worried about his long-term health.
Now he may stay with the team, or he may get a conditioning stint in AHL Bridgeport, though Michael Fornabaio of the Connecticut Post confirms he cannot play with Bridgeport beyond that this season, no doubt due to the AHL "Clear Day" roster deadline rules.
Either way, things are looking up, and his future looks much more promising than it looked eight weeks ago.