After a tough four-game road trip through Florida, Pittsburgh and Boston, the Islanders took some lumps and have had to make adjustments.
Casey Cizikas missed a couple of games but recently returned, Johnny Boychuk has been out the last two (but could be back on Monday), Alan Quine is kinda banged up with something and Cal Clutterbuck was recently mutilated.
And now we have one more to add to the list. Today, the team placed defenseman Thomas Hickey on IR with an upper body injury. It’s retroactive to yesterday, so Hickey would be eligible to come back as early as next Saturday, when the Islanders host the Kings.
He was shoved to the ice by David Backes in last night’s loss to the Bruins, which lead to Backes giving a George “The Animal” Steele-style headbutt to Andrew Ladd and getting booted from the game. Not sure if this injury is related to that hit.
Hickey has been providing his usual level of quiet efficiency this season (slightly better than 50% CF), but has found himself an occasional healthy scratch as Doug Weight has tried to juggle eight defenseman. Boychuk’s injury has allowed Ryan Pulock to play with Nick Leddy, and he’s looked pretty good doing it. With Hickey out as Boychuk eyes a return, it seems likely that Pulock will stay in the lineup with Scott Mayfield and Dennis Seidenberg rotating in (please play Mayfield, Dougie).
On the other side of the injury news, the team also activated Shane Prince and assigned him to Bridgeport on a conditioning loan. Prince has not played this season, having had surgery on his ankle during the offseason. He’ll be in the Sound Tigers’ lineup today against Rochester.
If and when he comes back, it’s debatable how much of an impact Prince (a sub- 45% CF player last season with 36 points in 114 NHL games) could have on the Islanders. But given their bottom six struggles this season, he’s probably worth giving a look, at least for a little while.
Whoever plays this week, the Islanders need to use their upcoming slate of pre-Christmas home games to build at least something of a cushion in the most competitive division in the NHL. Seriously, it’s been exhausting.