As the Islanders returned to the ice on Monday, so did a couple of their injured players, as Josh Bailey, Ryan Pulock and Jaroslav Halak were all full participants in the team skate.
Bailey’s return was the most noteworthy, as he stayed home on the team’s road trip to Tampa, while Pulock and Halak both made the trip, but did not play. Capuano said he had to talk to his training staff to see if Bailey and Pulock would be available for Game 3 on Tuesday, but added that he’d be inclined to put them in if they are healthy.
“[Bailey] is an experienced guy,” Capuano said. “He’s got 500 games or more. This time of year you need experience.”
LISTEN: JOHN TAVARES MEDIA SCRUM
Capuano did not have a set timetable for Halak, who was stopping pucks in practice, but hasn’t seen game action since suffering a groin injury on March 8. His initial timetable of 6-8 weeks is nearing its end, as Tuesday marks the eight-week mark.
“He’s progressing, I don’t know how far or where he is or when he could play, but I know that having him on the ice going through a full practice, but again it’s about conditioning and timing with goaltenders and their movement, but he’s progressing and it’s great to see. I don’t have a timetable yet though.”
Halak said he feels that’s he’s improving as well, but in the wake of a long recovery is looking to get his timing and conditioning back.
“I haven’t played in eight weeks, so it kind of feels like the beginning of the season for me,” Halak said. “I am just trying to figure out my timing and speed.”
“The guys are doing a good job and obviously now I’m just trying to get back,” Halak said. “[I’m] just taking it day by day right now, it’s all I can do and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Check NewYorkIslanders.com and @NYIslanders Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. for lineup updates.
ISLES GET A BREATHER:
After playing a jam-packed schedule against the Florida Panthers that included the burden of back-to-back double-overtime wins in Games 5 and 6 and virtually no time off before playing in Tampa, the Islanders have had some time to catch their breath with two days off between Games 1, 2 and 3.
“We’re used to playing quite a bit, but we monitor their rest, but at the same time, we push them when we have to,” Capuano said. “We understand it’s been a grind it’s a lot of travel this year and we’ve monitored [their rest] pretty well.”
For the Islanders – who have been staying in hotels before home games – and have started both series on the road, the mental break of Sunday’s day off was just as important.
“It’s nice to have a day,” Clutterbuck said. “Just good to get off, be home and spend some time with the family and relax for a day.”
But that meant getting back at it hard Monday.
“We had a good practice today. It was businesslike; we did some things that we needed to do,” Capuano said. “Overall I thought we accomplished what we needed to.”