November 30, 2010

Injury Updates and Prospect News

While the Islanders might be in the middle of a five day rest between games, Monday certainly brought about a lot of news.

We learned that defensemen Jack Hillen and Andrew MacDonald are close to returning, which is really good to hear. MacDonald was one of the Isles best defensemen this season up until the point he got hurt, which was coincidentally the last game the Islanders had won prior to Friday. MacDonald is very smooth with the puck and blocks a ton of shots, and the sooner the Islanders can get him back the better.

There was also some news of the unfortunate type too. Milan Jurcina, originally slated to miss 4-6 weeks with that hamstring injury is now out an additional 4-6 weeks. I know I might be in the minority here when I say this, but I really liked Jurcina's game. It wasn't flashy or the best, but he was providing some solid play for 18 minutes a night. In the same week that he got injured, I wrote this piece explaining what he provided and what he was doing so well. I was really looking forward to getting him back soon, and this setback hurts.

For those of you who listened to the latest podcast that we uploaded on Sunday night, you may have heard us give a shout out to Bruno Gervais at the end of the show for sticking up for P.A. Parenteau against the Devils. Gervais got into a fight with Colin White, which lasted all of one punch. As if Bruno wasn't getting enough props already, we learned yesterday that he has suffered a fractured cheekbone as a result of that punch. A lot of criticism gets thrown his way in Islanders land, but to stick up for your guy, get a broken bone in your face as a result and still play the remainder of the game, not even going to the dressing room? Kudos, my friend. That's a good example to set, and Bruno has moved up a few notches in many people's books, mine included.

Doug Weight is still day to day with the back spasms. That is the same injury that kept Rob Schremp out for most of the first month of the season. Hopefully, it doesn't last as long as that for Weight. I'm just happy that it's not his shoulder or hamstring again. If it were, one could venture a guess that his playing time would be over. Weight hadn't looked very good in the last few weeks, and one has to wonder if he was perhaps playing through the injury a bit. Hopefully the time off rejuvenates him.

Josh Bailey also suffered an injury down in Bridgeport. He strained a pectoral muscle, and it doesn't seem serious. In the couple of games he's played down there he has looked just OK. Hopefully he can get it going a bit. He really needs to for his and the Islanders sake. We talked extensively about Bailey's situation in the podcast, giving our opinions on his demotion.

Yesterday, Team Canada announced their invitations for the World Junior camp. Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Casey Cizikas will both be attending.

In the case of de Haan, this is a perfect example of why you don't rush your prospects. The World Juniors is great experience for a prospect. In the case of de Haan, he is already the captain of his team in Oshawa and was one of the top defenseman for Team Canada last year along with Travis Hamonic. Now, he has a chance to be one of the top guys once again and perhaps even get a letter. This is some good experience that Bailey really lost out on, and one of the reasons I'm upset with the way he has been developed.

For Cizikas, while he may be a long shot to make the final cut, it is certainly a success story. Cizikas has been very good in the OHL, putting the demons behind him of the gruesome accident he was involved in during a rugby game where another player died. Cizikas was not convicted, and with support from not only his family but the family of the victim too has really taken this "second chance" and ran with it. Good for him, and hopefully he can make one of the checking lines.

So that's where we are for now. There's still so much time off left that I'm sure there will be something else to talk about and dissect.


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