The New York Islanders’ clear out day was filled with the usual reflections on the season that was, the “would sure love to stay” thoughts from free agents and the GM who will try to keep them, and also injury reports. (Also: It wouldn’t be an Islanders offseason without areener talk.)
It’s customary at the end of the season to find out just how bad some of the injuries were, or the pains certain players struggled through.
This season the Islanders were fairly lucky with injuries — one of them, to Thomas Hickey, even helped open the door for the essential Devon Toews — though Andrew Ladd’s entire year was essentially wiped out by injuries that may also affect next season.
So, some updates:
Johnny Boychuk missed the entire second round thanks to what was confirmed to be a broken foot, after a shot block in Game 4 against the Penguins. (It’s dicey to play armchair doctor based on what you watch live and replays, but since the NHL obscures injury details, you have to use what you can to guess: all the signs for Boychuk taking the shot, leaving the ice, and being announced as out pointed to a fracture.)
Johnny Boychuk broke his foot. He was skating here and said he thought he’d be ready for Game 6. #Isles— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) May 6, 2019
Scott Mayfield, who had a lot of “maintenance days” during the playoffs, turned out to be playing with fluid that swelled up in his ankle. For a month.
Mayfield had an ankle issue — fluid kept filling up, could barely get his skate on during the final month.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) May 6, 2019
To my eyes, Mayfield did really well playing through this, as he didn’t look like he was favoring anything. In fact, he even had some of the Islanders’ better scoring chances in their four-game loss to the Hurricanes, though that’s admittedly tempered praise when the team mustered only five goals in the four-game series.
Clutterbuck: Could be 4-6 Months
The big news from Monday was just what ailed Cal Clutterbuck. Turns out: a lot.
Clutterbuck will consult the advice of physicians and may need surgery for the back issues that had Matt Martin helping him off the ice at the end of Game 2 against the Hurricanes, and missing Game 4.
After seeing him get treatment on his lower back on the bench late in Game 2, then the telltale sign of how Martin helped him off the ice, I was convinced there was no way Clutterbuck was coming back for the next game. It all screamed of back issues — disc, something, you name it — that would not react well to repeat physical violence just three nights later.
But the teams had two days off between Games 2 and 3, and that seemed to be enough to allow Clutterbuck to return and start running into bodies left and right.
Still, the damage is ample. According to Arthur Staple of the Athletic, Clutterbuck has a “stress fracture, two slipped discs and two rotated vertebrae,” with Bretty Cyrgalis of the Post noting that medical consultation could yield a 4-6 week or 4-6 month recovery.
To be clear on Clutterbuck: Stress fracture, two slipped disks and two rotated vertebrae. Could be a major procedure to fix this.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) May 6, 2019
One wonders how many of these he’s been dealing with for much of the season, as Clutterbuck would occasionally miss time with undisclosed injuries.
Whatever you think of Clutterbuck’s performance — and however much you cut him slack for some prevalent injuries — the team raves about his importance and Barry Trotz feels like his line with Casey Cizikas and Martin is never as effective without Clutterbuck along side them.
Now, with him damaged and considering treatment that would have him out till at least training camp if not more, they are going to have to explore some alternatives.