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Isles Day-To-Day: Boychuk Skates, Mayfield Returned

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

JANUARY 25: 10:15 P.M. - MAYFIELD RETURNED TO BRIDGEPORT

Scott Mayfield was returned on loan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers following Monday's loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Mayfield was recalled on Jan. 8 and played two games for the Islanders. He has five points (3G/2A) in 35 games for the Sound Tigers this season. 

11:00 A.M. - BOYCHUK SKATES WITH ISLANDERS

Johnny Boychuk skated with the Islanders on Monday morning at the team’s optional skate in Syosset. While Boychuk is not playing Monday night against the Detroit Red Wings, Jack Capuano said it’s a good indication that the Islanders’ defenseman is nearing a return. 

“He’s been skating on his own the last couple of days,"Jack Capuano said. "To see him back out there is a breath of fresh air and I’m sure [it is] for him to be around the guys and for us knowing that his time is not too far away.” 

“There’s a good chance that after the break here, hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll get him back in the lineup.” 

PREVIEW: ISLANDERS VS. RED WINGS

JANUARY 21: 10:55 A.M. - HAMONIC BACK IN LINEUP

Travis Hamonic returns to the Islanders' lineup Friday after missing four games with a lower-body injury. Hamonic will likely skate with Calvin de Haan, his regular defense partner from earlier this season and most of last season. Scott Mayfield comes out of the lineup to make room for Hamonic. 

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders. 

JANUARY 20: 1:00 P.M. - HAMONIC PRACTICES, NEARING RETURN

Travis Hamonic returned to practice Wednesday, skating with his Islanders teammates for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 7. 

“We had a rigorous day, but he seemed to do fairly well,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We had a good talk after practice. [He] said it felt good. We have another day to see how he is. If he feels that he can go, there’s no reason I’m not going to put him in the lineup.” 

Hamonic said he’s felt the injury progress over the past two weeks, but is taking things day-by-day. He said at this point it’s about pain tolerance, but the sturdy farmboy said that’s okay with him. 

“I wouldn’t be the first guy to have to play through pain and it wouldn’t be the last time,” Hamonic said. Today felt really good, skated on Monday, that felt good. It’s progressed nicely. We’ll take it day-by-day.”

Hamonic has eight points (2G, 6A) in 41 games for the Islanders, but leads the team in ice time per game (23:47). 

JANUARY 19: 10:00 A.M. - PELECH ON IR; BERUBE CONDITIONING IN BRIDGEPORT

Adam Pelech (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Jean-Francois Berube was activated off the team's injured reserve list and loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for a conditioning assignment. Berube was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on Nov. 28. 

JANUARY 18: 12:00 P.M. - PELECH OUT INDEFINITELY

Adam Pelech is out indefinitely with an upper body injury. He is still being evaluated.

The Islanders were already without Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic, injuries which led directly to Pelech's call up from Bridgeport.

Both Boychuk and Hamonic skated prior to the team's practice on Monday, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple.

JANUARY 17 3:57 P.M. - PELECH DAY-TO-DAY 

Adam Pelech (day-to-day, upper body) was ruled out of Sunday’s game with the Vancouver Canucks. Pelech recorded his first two NHL points (both assists) in the Islanders 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday. Scott Mayfield replaced Pelech in the Islanders' lineup against Vancouver. 

JANUARY 14 12:26 P.M. - HALAK STARTS VS. RANGERS

The New York Islanders are going with their big dog Thursday, as Jaroslav Halak will start in goal against the Rangers. Halak is the Islanders’ go-to guy in big games, starting all six Rangers games in his Isles career, going 4-2-0. The Slovakian netminder is a perfect 7-0-0 against Henrik Lundqvist, 4-0-0 since joining the Islanders. Halak rises to the occasion against the Rangers, allowing two goals or fewer in four of six Isles-Rangers games, including a 33-save performance in a 2-1 win in December. 

“They have great goaltending over there and we’re pretty confident with our goalie also,” Matt Martin said. “He has made big saves for us when we do have those breakdowns and when we’ve given up good chances, he’s there to make those saves.”

READ: HALAK STEPS UP VS. RANGERS

As for the rest of the lineup, Capuano is going with the same personnel from Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, though he did not commit to using the same line combinations. That being said, Capuano praised Brock Nelson’s return to center, suggesting he’ll keep the Islanders’ goal leader at pivot against the Rangers. 

“He’s always been a center to me,” Capuano said of Nelson. “You’ve got a guy who’s 6’3 in the middle, it’s tough to take out. He’s so smart and at the same time I can utilize Brock anywhere we want to use him. We can put him on right wing, left wing or down the middle. I like the way he defends, your centermen have to have tremendous hockey sense, they have to have the ability to make plays not only offensively, but defensively and he can do that for us.”

READ: PREVIEW - ISLANDERS VS. RANGERS

The Metropolitan Division standings were a hot topic at morning skate, as the Islanders and Rangers are tied with 51 points apiece, though the blueshirts hold a game in hand on the Isles. The divisional implications were not lost on the Islanders and the tight standings only add to the squeeze of this rivalry. 

“We’re jockeying for position and are probably going to be fighting that way throughout the whole year,” Kyle Okposo said. “It’s a big game, a division game and we’re looking forward to the challenge."

READ: ISLANDERS-RANGERS BATTLE FOR BIG POINTS

JANUARY 12 9:45 A.M. - GREISS IN GOAL, ZIDLICKY IN

Thomas Greiss gets the start in goal for the Islanders on Tuesday. Greiss started five straight games following the Christmas break, but hasn’t played since a 6-5 win over the Dallas Stars on Jan. 3. The Islanders’ goalie is 12-6-2 on the season. 

PREVIEW: ISLANDERS VS. BLUE JACKETS

Marek Zidlicky draws back into the Islanders lineupvreplacing Scott Mayfield. Zidlicky will be paired with his regular partner Thomas Hickey. 


PROJECTED D-PAIRS:

NICK LEDDY CALVIN DE HAAN
THOMAS HICKEY MAREK ZIDLICKY
ADAM PELECH BRIAN STRAIT

JANUARY 9 11:05 A.M. - HAMONIC DTD, MAYFIELD IN

Travis Hamonic (lower body) will not play on Saturday afternoon and is considered day-to-day. Scott Mayfield, who was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday, will make his season debut for the Islanders, playing with Adam Pelech. There’s some familiarity there, as Mayfield and Pelech played on the top pairing in Bridgeport. 

“Going through the last few games and especially losing Travis, another right-handed shot defenseman it just makes sense that we give those two guys an opportunity,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought they played really well in training camp. Talking to Brent Thompson and Eric Boguniecki down in Bridgeport, they play well together. They are the top pairing D, so we’ll give them an opportunity.

Brian Strait also draws back into the lineup, taking out Marek Zidlicky. Jaroslav Halak will start in goal. 

PROJECTED D-PAIRS:

CALVIN DE HAAN NICK LEDDY
THOMAS HICKEY BRIAN STRAIT
ADAM PELECH SCOTT MAYFIELD




JANUARY 8 3:30 P.M. - MAYFIELD RECALLED, BOULTON TO IR

Defenseman Scott Mayfield was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday, as Eric Boulton was placed on the Islanders’ injured reserve list retroactive to Jan. 2. 

Mayfield has five points (3G, 2A) in 35 games for the Sound Tigers, but the defenseman plays more of a stay-at-home role for Bridgeport. At 6’4, 225 lbs. Mayfield essentially fills the size void left in the wake of Johnny Boychuk’s injury and plays with a physical edge/snarl in his game. The 23-year-old has some NHL experience, playing in Games 6 and 7 in last spring’s playoff series vs. Washington, as well as five games in the 2013-14 season. 

Boulton has played in one game for the Islanders this season. 

HAMONIC, OKPOSO MISS PRACTICE:

Travis Hamonic (maintenance day) and Kyle Okposo (sick) missed the Islanders’ practice on Friday. The team heads to Philadelphia for a Saturday matinee with the Flyers at 1 p.m.

JANUARY 7 10:51 A.M. - HALAK IN GOAL; SAME LINEUP FROM SUNDAY

Jaroslav Halak returns to the Islanders’ crease Thursday against the Capitals. Halak hasn’t played since Dec. 21 missing five games with an upper-body injury. 

“He looks pretty good,” Jack Capuano said. “We wouldn’t put anybody in that wasn’t ready. He skated in Pittsburgh, came back and skated with [Goaltending Coach Mike Dunham] for a couple days and felt really good yesterday. He went through the on ice and off-ice workouts. He’s 100 percent.”

Halak is the only change to the Islanders’ lineup, as Capuano is sticking with the same forwards and d corps. That means Adam Pelech stays in the lineup for a second straight game.   

GRUDGE MATCH: ISLANDERS VS. CAPITALS 

“We knew defensively he was solid,” Capuano said of Pelech. “He’s got a good stick and a good gap. I like the way he’s playing, he’s moving the puck, he’s jumping in the holes offensively when the opportunity presents itself. He played really well last game so it was hard for me to take him out. He’s going to get another opportunity tonight against a good hockey team.”

PROJECTED LINES: 

ANDERS LEE JOHN TAVARES JOSH BAILEY
NIKOLAY KULEMIN FRANS NIELSEN KYLE OKPOSO
BROCK NELSON MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI RYAN STROME
MATT MARTIN CASEY CIZIKAS CAL CLUTTERBUCK

GAME DAY ROUTINE: 

The Islanders switched up their gameday routine Thursday, taking an optional morning skate at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset. The switch is designed to give the players more time at home during the day. The Islanders are planning to adopt the new routine for Thursday and Tuesday’s home games (there’s no morning skate Sunday due to the 4 p.m. start) and will take it on a game-by-game basis going forward. 

QUOTE WORTHY

The Islanders stressed discipline against the Capitals’ potent power play, which is number two in the league. Travis Hamonic said prevention is the best method to killing penalties. Or as he put’s it…

“The best way to avoid a shark-bite is to stay out of the water.”

JANUARY 5 3:12 P.M. - HALAK ACTIVATED OFF IR; GIBSON LOANED TO BRIDGEPORT

Jaroslav Halak (upper body) was activated off the team's injured reserve list on Tuesday afternoon. Halak was placed on IR on Dec. 27, retroactive to Dec. 21, as he sustained his injury in the Islanders' 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Halak is 10-6-3 this season with a 2.09 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. 

To make room for Halak's activation, Christopher Gibson was returned on loan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Tuesday afternoon. Gibson was recalled on Dec. 27 after Halak was placed on injured reserve and made his NHL debut on Jan. 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopping 16-of-17 shots in relief of Thomas Greiss. 

JANUARY 4 - 3:11 P.M. – BOYCHUK OUT 4-6 WEEKS WITH UPPER-BODY INJURY

Johnny Boychuk will miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with an upper-body injury, according to a team-issued report. He will not require surgery.

Boychuk suffered the injury on Dec. 31 against the Buffalo Sabres, when he crashed into the end boards. 

JANUARY 1 - 11:07 A.M. – BOYCHUK PLACED ON IR, ADAM PELECH RECALLED

Johnny Boychuk (upper body) was placed on the Islanders’ injured reserve list on Friday morning. Boychuk crashed into the end boards in the third period of Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres and did not return. A timetable will be established next week when Boychuk sees team doctors. 

Adam Pelech was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday morning. Pelech has two goals and four assists in 26 games for Bridgeport this season. Pelech played two games for the Islanders earlier this eason, making his NHL debut against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 13.

ISLANDERS DAY-TO-DAY: DECEMBER

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