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Morning Skate Updates: 12/13/14

by Jacob Betzner / New York Islanders


Clark Gillies Takes Morning Skate: Former Islander Clark Gillies skated with the team at today's morning skate. Only nine current players participated in the optional skate, Eric Boulton, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Donovan, Thomas Hickey, Chad Johnson, Nick Leddy, Anders Lee and Griffin Reinhart. Head Coach Jack Capuano joked that Gillies was disappointed to be a healthy scratch tonight.

Gillies: To go out on the ice like that and skate – as limited as I was – was fun. It was fun to be on the ice again and look around. My hands stink from the gloves I had, which is the way it used to be.

Halak Starts:
Jaroslav Halak will start tonight for Islanders, looking to rebound from consecutive losses after his 11-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday against his former team, the St. Louis Blues. In 11 career games against Chicago, Halak boasts a 6-1-3 record with a .931 save percentage and a 2.07 save percentage.

Reinhart In, Strait Out: Griffin Reinhart draws in for Brian Strait tonight vs. the Blackhawks. Reinhart recorded his first career NHL point – an assist – Tuesday night against the Wild. Reinhart likely will skate beside former Chicago Blackhawk Nick Leddy.

Reinhart: I thought I played well in my first three games. I’m just trying to do simple things. I thought I played well defensively, and I need to do that against Chicago. They're an offensive powerhouse, so it will be a good test for me.

Bailey In, Boulton Out: Josh Bailey replaces Eric Boulton in the lineup after sitting out one game with a lower-body injury. Bailey scored on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild and now has four goals and four assists in 18 games played this season.

Projected Lines:  
86 Nikolay Kulemin 91 John Tavares 21 Kyle Okposo
84 Mikhail grabovski 51 Frans Nielsen 12 Josh Bailey
27 Anders Lee 29 Brock Nelson 40 Michael grabner
17 Matt Martin 18 ryan strome 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Where and When:
The Islanders are at Nassau Coliseum tonight and the game can be seen on MSG. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. Click here for channel listings.

Leddy vs. Blackhawks:
Nick Leddy will play his first game against his former team after coming to the Islanders via trade before the start of the 2014–15 season.

Leddy: It’ll be weird. It’s the first time I’ve ever played [the Blackhawks]. Most of those guys I became really close to. It will be very weird, but it will be very fun.

Injury Updates: Capuano said forward Casey Cizikas and defenseman Travis Hamonic are still day-to-day and will be further evaluated next week. Cizikas participated in today's morning skate while Hamonic did not.

Conacher Clears:
Cory Conacher cleared waivers and was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).

Toews Healthy:
Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville said captain Jonathan Toews will play tonight after leaving Thursday’s game with an apparent injury in a collision with Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.

Oh My Darling:
Scott Darling will start his fourth consecutive game for the team as goaltender Corey Crawford remains out with an injury. The rookie and former University of Maine Black Bear is on a four-game winning streak and has allowed two goals or fewer in five of his six starts this season.

They Said It:
Joel Quenneville on the Coliseum:
“It’s a special place. These guys carved out a special niche in history in here. The teams that were here that won championships created like an aura that was legendary…it was one of those teams that when you came in here, you played against those guys, that was the memory I get. Playing against [Mike] Bossy, [Bryan] Trottier, [Denis] Potvin, Billy [Smith] in the net, a lot of options you had to worry about.”

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