(day-to-day with a groin strain) and Nino Niederreiter
(no timetable with a concussion) ruled out of the lineup for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Islanders needed to recall an extra forward from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to complete four healthy offensive lines.
Once again, management chose to recall the player who was making the biggest impact with the Isles American Hockey League affiliate. That skater was winger Tim Wallace.
“I’m just a typical power forward,” Wallace said, giving the media an introduction to his style of play. “I work hard, finish checks and create energy for the guys.”
|Tim Wallace watches what would be the game winning goal to defeat the CT Whale 4-3 in overtime at The Arena at Harbor Yard on Nov. 2, 2011. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images) |
In the midst of his sixth professional season, Wallace signed with the Islanders on July 21, 2011 after becoming a free agent. After his first Islanders training camp, the 27-year-old joined the Islanders American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport. After the first 24 games, the winger led the Sound Tigers with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists).
“I was playing every situation,” Wallace said of his time in Bridgeport. “I played a lot of minutes… It’s always fun to score, but I just want to keep it simple and hopefully create offensive zone time, create chances that way.”
In Bridgeport, Wallace skated alongside Casey Cizikas
and Justin DiBenedetto
for the majority of the season.
“Casey, for a rookie, it feels like he’s learning and getting better every game,” Wallace said. “I’ve played with him pretty much all year. He’s a great player at both ends of the ice and it’s been fun playing with him. He’s got a great future I think.”
He added, “Justin works hard, he’s got a great shot and for the most part, we’ve had pretty good chemistry. It’s been a lot of fun.”
|Tim Wallace, Ty Wishart and Justin DiBenedetto of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (left to right) celebrate a third period goal against the Connecticut Whale at The Arena at Harbor Yard on November 2, 2011 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images) |
Tonight, it is expected that Wallace will lace up his skates with fellow Sound Tigers forward David Ullstrom
and will be centered by Josh Bailey
. Ullstrom, who played a couple games with Wallace earlier on this season, said Wallace is a smart player, while Ullstrom’s stall-mate, defenseman Dylan Reese
“He’s a physical player who has poise with the puck,” Reese said. “He’s one of the hardest hitters I’ve ever played against. When I was playing in Syracuse, Wallace made one of the hardest checks I’ve ever taken, I flew across the ice.”
Playing on a line with a familiar face should help Wallace’s comfort level.
“I know his game,” Wallace said of Ullstrom. “He’s a skilled guy, he works hard and he can skate. So hopefully it will pay off.”
Prior to this summer, Wallace played in seven NHL games for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2010-11 season, one game during the 2009-10 season and 16 games during the 2008-09 season, making up 24 career NHL games played. In that three-year period, the Anchorage, AK native posted two assists and 12 penalty minutes.
But after four seasons with the Penguins organization, and a series of recalls over a three-year period, Wallace is still looking to break into the NHL full-time.
He said, “Hopefully I can sieze this opportunity."