The Islanders beat the Lightning on Monday night to inch two points closer to a playoff berth. Before the game, they recalled goalie Christopher Gibson from Bridgeport to replace J-F Berube, who is out with a lower body injury. And now, after the game, defenseman Calvin de Haan might join the team's growing list of wounded.
In the first
second period Monday night, de Haan blocked a shot from Nikita Kutcherov that appeared to hit him square in the side of his right knee. He lay on the ice for quite a while, before limping to the bench for a change. He eventually headed to the Islanders locker room and didn't return outside of one more shift early in the second period.
Post-game, coach Jack Capuano had no specific updates on de Haan's status, but said he might not make the trip to Washington for Tuesday's game against the Capitals.
No official update on deHaan. 'He didn't return, so.. Not a good sign for now'. - Capuano #isles— Andy Graziano (@tazman19) April 5, 2016
Capuano said he's not sure if de Haan will make the trip to D.C. #isles— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) April 5, 2016
With Travis Hamonic already out for the rest of the regular season with a knee injury of his own (not to mention being down two goalies in Jaroslav Halak and now Berube), losing another top defender for a long time would be all kinds of bad news for the Islanders. Tonight, Ryan Pulock and Marek Zidlicky drew back in (and played pretty damn well), but prepare yourselves for another Brian Strait appearance at Verizon Center tomorrow if de Haan stays home.
Also injured in Monday's game was Cal Clutterbuck, who was hit with a high stick from Tampa Bay's J.T. Brown in the second period and slid awkwardly into the boards. Clutterbuck was helped to the room by linemates Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas, and missed a few shifts (although not enough, apparently). He was back for the third period and was clearly laboring on the ice throughout, but he did manage to finish the game. No word afterwards on his status but let's hope he gets the seat with the extra leg room on the charter.
Finally, some good news. Rookie defenseman Adam Pelech had been sidelined since January with an undisclosed illness that reportedly threatened his season, if not his career. This afternoon in Newsday, Arthur Staple revealed Pelech's condition as thoracic outlet syndrome, otherwise known as "That thing that Steven Stamkos has."
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a blood clot condition in the upper arms, which needs to be alleviated by removing part of the upper rib and some muscle. Pelech felt some swelling during warm-ups before a game against Vancouver and went to the Islanders training staff, who acted quickly.
"My right side started swelling up, there was some tightness and kind of a bluish-purplish color," Pelech told Newsday on Tuesday. "I went to the trainers and they felt it could have been a blood clot, since those are some of the symptoms. I went to a hospital in Brooklyn, they did an ultrasound and showed it was a clot, so I went to North Shore [University Hospital] in Long Island for a few more days of tests."
Pelech was flown to California to have the surgery done by Dr. Julie Freischlag, who is an expert in this exact procedure. Ironically, this exact same injury happened to Lightning captain Stamkos and GM Steve Yzerman announced last weekend that he'll be out one to three months, possibly ending his career in Tampa. Stamkos will also undergo the same rib surgery.
In the meantime, Pelech play the weekend with Bridgeport on a conditioning assignment and could be back with the Islanders for the playoffs.
"That would be amazing," he said. "If you'd told me when it happened I might have a chance to play in the playoffs this year, it'd be hard to believe."
Pelech's team needs to seal the deal first, no matter who's in or out.
Update: Scott Mayfield incoming, as is an update on de Haan's status:
Scott Mayfield has been recalled from Bridgeport. de Haan update later when Capuano speaks at 4:45.— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) April 5, 2016