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 ET / 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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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