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Isles Day to Day: Martin Practices in Non-Contact Jersey

Matt Martin recovering from lower-body injury, Otto Koivula practicing with Isles and waiting for opportunity

by Cory Wright WrightsWay /

Matt Martin took a step forward in his recovery from a lower-body injury, as he skated with the Islanders in Friday morning's practice. 

Martin, who sported a non-contact jersey, skated with the team for the first time since Oct. 25, when he slammed his knee into an open door at the Ottawa Senators bench. Martin returned to the game, but has been sidelined for the past seven games. 

The 30-year-old forward has three points (2G, 1A) in seven games this season. He skated with Noah Dobson as the extra d-pair during the team's line drills. Josh Bailey skated with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck - Martin's usual linemates - in his place. 

"Marty is a real good soul and brings good energy," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "Good to get him back, even though he's in a non-contact. He's getting closer."


Otto Koivula has been practicing with the Islanders for the better part of the last two weeks, as he's shuttled back and forth between Bridgeport and Long Island. 

Koivula, whose most recent recall was Tuesday, was on the ice again on Friday, alternating with Michael Dal Colle on line rushes to open practice. When Koivula took line rushes, he skated between Ross Johnston and Leo Komarov. The 21-year-old rookie doesn't know when he'll get a shot to make his NHL debut, but he has been enjoying the experience of practicing with the big club. 

"It's been an exciting time. Every time you get the phone call it's exciting," Koivula said. "I just have to stay ready and wait for the opportunity. I don't know when it's coming, but hopefully soon." 

Video: Isles Practice:Trust & Confidence

Koivula was initially brought up as insurance when the Islanders were down to 18 healthy forwards last week, but Trotz said he'd like to get Finn into some game action, though he did not specify when. 

"He's getting used to how we do things and how we practice," Trotz said. "I want to take a look at him. I want him to experience that so we can get a better handle on him... To me it's just a matter of when I decide the right time is."

Koivula had a strong rookie season in Bridgeport, racking up 46 points (21G, 25A) in 69 games, while also making the transition from wing to center. This season he's got five points (2G, 3A) in 10 games. While Koivula is soaking up the chance to learn from the Islanders, Trotz and co are using this time to better get to know their prospect. 

"What I like about Otto is that he's a learned kid," Trotz said. "He's really smart. He's very respectful. He's a big body. He's 21 and he's a big body. He's got good hockey IQ. [Now we're] just getting him to play with a little more pace."

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