We’ve already discussed Islanders injuries twice in the last 18 hours: once last night following Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas painfully exiting Tuesday’s win in Detroit and again this afternoon as the team placed Shane Prince on the IR (retroactive to February 10) and recalled utility forward Bracken Kearns from Bridgeport.
Already teased this afternoon in a tweet, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports that, according to a source, Cizikas will miss a month with a possible broken left hand.
Cizikas suffered the injury while attempting a shot just past the 14-minute mark of the second period. Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall got his stick on Cizikas’ stick and it appeared to jam Cizikas’ left hand awkwardly. He went straight to the dressing room, then went home to Long Island on Wednesday morning to be evaluated.
Update: It’s official. IR for Cizikas.
#Isles Injury Update: Casey Cizikas has been placed on IR with an upper body injury (retro 2/21).— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 23, 2017
In 53 games this season, Cizikas has seven goals and 16 assists, and a 48 percent 5-on-5 corsi for. He’s the center on the Islanders fourth line, playing most of his minutes with Clutterbuck and Nikolay Kulemin. He averages about 14 minutes a game and is one of the team’s most-used penalty killers (all numbers courtesy of datarink.com). On the unquantifiable side of things, Cizikas is a ball of energy that’s also prone to cycling the puck like a wild man in the offensive zone.
Should the Islanders survive their brutal road trip and stay in the playoff hunt, Cizikas would be back before the end of the regular season.
Clutterbuck is dealing with his own “soft-tissue” issues, described to Staple as, “annoying” by the player. Before Tuesday, Clutterbuck had been out since February 4th, as well as missing three games in January with the injury. He was pulled out of the most recent game as a precautionary measure by Doug Weight, who thought that all that penalty killing in his first game back would wear Clutterbuck down.
“I’m tired of saying it and it’s a tough thing for him, but it’s precautionary,” Weight said after Tuesday’s win. “He played four minutes in the first, spread out nice, four minutes in the second, spread out nice again and then we take a couple penalties. He’s banging out those hard, 30-second shifts and I just pulled him. Something’s going on and we’ll see.”
As we know, and as Staple notes, the Islanders are used to rolling four lines come hell, high water or high shots against, so something is gonna have to give. Although Jack Capuano is gone and Weight is more inclined to match lines than his predecessor, having a line of, say, Kulemin, Kearns and Stephen Gionta is not one anybody wants to see out there for too long.
So, is a move in the works? Staple says maybe:
General manager Garth Snow was already believed to be on the hunt for another forward, preferably a top-nine player. Cizikas’ injury may accelerate Snow’s talks, which have not had much traction in a market where sellers’ demands have been sky high so far