The Islanders left last night’s 3-1 win over Detroit with some injury concerns regarding Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck, a.k.a. two thirds of their fourth line. The team is off today, so we won’t know their statuses for Thursday night’s game in Montreal for a while longer.
What we do know is that the team has recalled forward Bracken Kearns from Bridgeport and put Shane Prince on IR retroactive to about 10 days ago, when he left the Islanders’ 5-1 win over Colorado in the third period following a scrum.
#Isles Transaction: Shane Prince has been placed on IR (retro Feb 12). Bracken Kearns has been emergency recalled.— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 22, 2017
Kearns is 35 and has been around the block more than once (mostly with San Jose). He’s the Sound Tigers’ leader in both goals (18) and points (40) and hasn’t missed a game this season.
Islanders announce a recall for Bracken Kearns. All-situations guy here on top of being Bridgeport's leading scorer.— Michael Fornabaio (@fornabaioctp) February 22, 2017
That “All-situations” tag is important because with the potential for two bottom sixers/penalty killers being out as well as Prince (who kinda gets slotted in everywhere), the Islanders are looking more for security rather than raw scoring potential.
In other words (because he’s better at this than I am):
Given all that, would expect to see a 4th line of Kulemin-Gionta-Kearns/Clutterbuck on Thursday. Ice time may look a bit different.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 22, 2017
Try to think of it this way, #Isles fans: Kearns is depth. Ho-Sang is the future -- part of it, anyway.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 22, 2017
Sadly, it just isn’t Ho-Sang’s time. Yet.
With or without Kearns, losing three regulars for any length of time would be a bad way to go about what’s now an eight-game road trip. Clutterbuck’s problems might be related to the issues that have been nagging him for a while now and Cizikas left last night’s game suddenly after a slash to his hands.
Maybe they’re both back in the line-up on Thursday and either Kearns or Stephen Gionta plays. Or maybe not.
The Islanders do have four days in between Saturday’s game in Columbus and next Thursday’s game in Dallas, which is one day after the trade deadline. So Kearns’ stay might be a temporary one.