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Halak, Hickey Practice With Isles

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

The New York Islanders got some positive news on the injury front Wednesday, as Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Hickey both practiced with the team.

Both players had previously been skating with coaches, but particiapted in a full-team practice Wednesday. They are both nursing upper-body injuries.

Halak’s injury kept him on the sidelines for much of the Islanders preseason, but the goaltender is considered day-to-day. Wednesday’s practice – and a chat with head coach Jack Capuano – indicated he’s trending in the right direction.

“He’s feeling a lot better,” Capuano said of Halak. “Just where our conversations are today compared to where they were three or four days ago. He’s still day-to-day and we will monitor as we go here.”

Hickey also practiced Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in a preseason game against Washington on Sept. 28. Hickey was initially projected to miss four weeks, though Capuano did not set a return date for the 26-year-old defenseman.

“A couple of days ago he started shooting pucks and today he had a good day,” Capuano said. “We’ll get an update on him this afternoon. I don’t think either guy is going to be much longer.”

CAPUANO ON PULOCK

While the Islanders welcomed Hickey back to practice, the team loaned Ryan Pulock to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Tuesday.

The Islanders’ 2013 first-round pick made a good impression on the coaching staff at training camp, but after sitting out the Islanders’ first three games as an extra defenseman, management felt he’d be better served playing every day in the American Hockey League.

“He’s a young kid and he needs to play some hockey,” Capuano said. “We just told him to go down and continue to do the things he needs to do.”

Capuano said Pulock’s camp started slow, but the 21-year-old gained confidence and poise and became more assertive as the weeks went on. Pulock scored in a 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sept. 26 in Halifax, NS.

“He got better and better and better and that’s why he stuck around here with us,” Capuano said. “The last two games were outstanding, especially the game against Carolina.”

The Islanders coach said he wants Pulock to work on his body position and stick work in Bridgeport and make sure he’s always on the right side of the puck. Pulock had an assist in the Sound Tigers’ 5-3 win over the Springfield Falcons on Tuesday night.

“We just want to make sure he contains and defends well and he has good stick work all the time,” Capuano said. “He’s going to play in this league a long time, we just need to get him some games.”

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