The New York Islanders just cannot catch a break. With injuries to superstar center John Tavares and speedster Michael Grabner already depleting the forward reserves and youngsters all over the lineup, two more crucial players were reported injured today.
Arthur Staple of Newsday reported that Kyle Okposo, 9th in the National Hockey League in scoring with 27-42-69 in 69 games, left practice this morning after only twenty minutes. Head coach Jack Capuano announced after the skate that his talisman was suffering from a lower body injury and is officially classified as day to day.
Lubomir Visnovsky was not at practice at all and is reported to be suffering from an upper body injury, which is extremely troubling for the Islanders defenseman. After missing 46 games with a concussion suffered earlier in the year, one has to wonder if this could possibly still be the after-effects coming back to haunt him.
With the vagueness that exists in the world of injuries around the league, and overall within the Islanders front office, upper body could be classified as a number of things…nose, ears, mouth, chin, throat, hair, shoulders, collarbone, chest, arms, elbows, wrists, fingers or even worse, the dreaded nail-bed sprain.
Lower body also covers a plethora of definitions such as hip, groin, hamstring, thigh, knee, calf, ankles, feet or the ever fearsome and painful left little toe dislocation.
In any event, expect New York to field an even younger lineup on Sunday at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Matt Donovan is already a shoe-in to deservedly make his return to the lineup and Kevin Czuczman (Crossman) will take another whirl around the Coliseum ice as the season winds down to its final twelve games.
In separately announced news, related or not, maybe purely coincidental, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, New York’s American Hockey League affiliate, signed two more players today to PTOs as they attempt to fill out their roster depleted by call-ups.
Ryan Walters and Brock Montpetit (both from Nebraska of the NCHC) were added to the roster, only a couple of days after Yale forward Jesse Root was signed.
It looks to a painful final stretch for the Islanders, especially if the injuries to Okposo and Visnovsky prove to be much longer than just day-to-day as officially announced today.
But then again, did anyone really expect anything different to end the season? Already out of playoff contention, it will be learning and development time for the rookies as they get adjusted to the pro game and show management how good their chances might be come training camp in September 2014.