Boychuk day to day after returning to practice with Islanders
Defenseman hasn't played since receiving 90 stitches for cut to eyelidNHL.com @NHLdotcom
Johnny Boychuk practiced with the New York Islanders on Monday for the first time since receiving 90 stitches to close a cut to his eyelid March 3, and coach Barry Trotz said it's up to the defenseman to say when he's ready to play.
Boychuk was cut when Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen was tripped, causing his skate to fly into the air and catch Boychuk under his visor during the third period of a 6-2 loss for the Islanders.
Boychuk didn't sustain any damage to his eye. Trotz said he's day to day, but there is no timetable for his return.
"It really is going to come to Johnny's decision," Trotz said Tuesday after the morning skate before the Islanders played the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNP, MSG+, NHL.TV). "You look at the job that the plastic surgeon did on his eye, it's absolutely fantastic. When he feels that he has full sight and he's ready to play and confident to play, he'll make that decision.
"It won't be myself or the training staff; it will be Johnny Boychuk's decision. He's got to be able to function normally and feel comfortable or he will not go in, but that will be his decision."
Boychuk is the third member of the Islanders to be injured by a cut from a skate blade this season. Forward Cal Clutterbuck missed 30 games before returning to the lineup Feb. 29 after sustaining a lacerated right arm when he was cut by the skate Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron on Dec. 19. Center Casey Cizikas hasn't played since his left leg was cut by the skate of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov during a game Feb. 11.
The Islanders (35-23-9), who are 0-3-3 in their previous six games, entered Tuesday tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.