has been skating and working out on his own after he suffered an injury to his hamstring on Oct. 29, causing him to be out of the lineup for the better part of six weeks. But as the zamboni driver cut a new sheet of ice at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday morning, the defenseman was one of the first players to step out onto it for practice.
Thursday morning, Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano gave the good news that Jurcina would be playing in that night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
|Milan Jurcina #27 of the New York Islanders skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Nassau Coliseum on October 29, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) |
“He has been skating right along here for the last week and a half or two, so his conditioning level is pretty good,” Capuano said on Wednesday morning. “He has been going with the team the last couple of days, so hopefully he will be ready to go.”
After making the announcement that Jurcina and Radek Martinek would be back in the Islanders lineup for Thursday night’s game, Capuano said, “They give us size and they give us some experience. It’s a situation where the last few games we’ve let the guys from Bridgeport and some of the other guys get some more minutes, but now having those guys back in the lineup will help us for sure, not only on the ice, but in the room as leaders.”
In the last six weeks, Jurcina has been watching games from the press box or in front of his television set, just itching to be out there with his teammates.
“(Watching your team play is) painful,” Jurcina said. “Sometimes, you are just laying on the couch watching hockey and then you start thinking about how I should be on the bench with the guys, cheering them on.”
But watching them hasn’t always been easy.
“It’s tough to watch the team lose and not be able to help or do anything about it. But it’s good to be back, good to have a little laugh with them and talk.”