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Isles Retake Ice, React to Tavares Injury

The Islanders were back on the ice for their first practice after the Olympic break.

Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 4:55 PM / News
By Cory Wright
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Isles Retake Ice, React to Tavares Injury
The Islanders were back on the ice for their first practice after the Olympic break.
Kyle Okposo and the Islanders practice at Islanders Iceworks.
The Islanders Olympic break effectively ended Wednesday afternoon, as players retook the ice at Islanders Iceworks for the first of seven skates before league-action resumes on Feb. 27.

Head coach Jack Capuano had his team – minus Olympians Michael Grabner, Thomas Vanek and John Tavares – on the ice for a hard skate, in what was largely a conditioning practice. With three Islanders in Sochi, two othersheld off the ice and one loaned to Bridgeport for the break, Wednesday’s line combinations were unusual – Matt Carkner and Radek Martinek dressed as forwards – but ultimately a secondary concern to coach Capuano.

“There weren’t a lot of bodies, but I’ll give the guys credit, for the drills that we did, I thought the pace was excellent,” Capuano said. “The bottom line is you can’t perform your best if you’re not in the best condition… As we move on, we’ll work on some structure, but we’ll maintain our conditioning as well.”

The Islanders utilized the nine-day break to rest, recover and recharge for the final 22 games of the regular season. While not skating together as a unit, many continued their off-ice workouts and found time to skate with family and friends back home.

“It feels good to get back out there and get your timing,” Travis Hamonic said. “We've got our work cut out for us in the second half of the season and the last 22 games. To be quite frank, it starts today and we have to make sure we're ready when the puck drops.”
 
The Islanders return to game action Thursday, Feb. 27 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Reaction to Tavares Injury:

The Islanders sit and watch the Olympics before practice on Wednesday.
After practice the Islanders were briefed on the reported injury to captain John Tavares during Team Canada’s quarterfinal win over Latvia.
 
Tavares was injured in the second period, did not return to the game and was ruled out of Canada’s final two Olympic contests.
 
Tavares’ linemate Kyle Okposo and Team Canada camp invitee Travis Hamonic shared their thoughts on the captain’s injury.
 
Okposo: It's hard for him. You know how hard he worked for that honor. I think he's had a pretty good tournament to this point. Probably not getting the production that he wants, but I think he's making things happen. Anytime you see a teammate get hurt you definitely feel for him.
 
I'm sure he'll get reevaluated once he gets back here. We'll take it from there.
 
Hamonic: I just heard the news. As a friend that's tough to hear. As a teammate that's tough to hear. Quite frankly as a fellow Canadian it's really hard to hear. He's an important player for that team. You want your best players playing in each scenario. It's unfortunate that John got hurt and things worked out that way. There's a lot of depth on that team and they're going to push forward. On a personal standpoint and a friend point of view, it's tough to see a guy go through that.

Nielsen, Martin Skate:

Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin skated after Islanders practice. Both players sat out the conditioning session with minor injuries.

Practice Photos:


Colin McDonald and Kyle Okposo battle during the Islanders practice.


Travis Hamonic and Eric Boulton battle during the Islanders practice.


Casey Cizikas and Lubomir Visnovsky look on during the Islanders practice.


Matt Carkner hustles in a skating drill during the Islanders practice.


Thomas Hickey passes the puck to Travis Hamonic during the Islanders practice.


Andrew MacDonald and Brock Nelson battle during the Islanders practice.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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