New York Islanders fans received the news no one was hoping for yesterday, as Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported that newly acquired winger Cal Clutterbuck suffered a laceration to his leg during Tuesday night’s preseason game and will miss extended time.
Clutterbuck appeared to be in immediate pain after throwing a check on Calgary Flames player Paul Byron, but left the ice under his own power. It was later reported that he would not return to the game.
Although keeping Clutterbuck from returning to a preseason game was initially seen as the Isles’ training staff being cautious with a key player, it’s apparent that Clutterbuck’s injury is more serious than originally thought.
It’s a blow to the team for sure, but GM Garth Snow has stockpiled young talent in the club’s farm system for scenarios like this; the type of prospect depth in the organization may help alleviate some of the strain felt by head coach Jack Capuano as he’s forced to shuffle his lineup.
Players like Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome are all ready and eager to showcase their abilities at the NHL level, which means Capuano will have options when it comes to replacing Clutterbuck for the foreseeable future.
With no exact return date for Clutterbuck having been announced, the team will need to adjust to his absence on the fly over the course of their next few preseason games, including tilts against the New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, and Ottawa Senators.
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If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s a shot of the patch the Isles will wear on their jerseys Saturday night to commemorate the first NHL game played in Brooklyn.
The concept of “next man up” will be one heard throughout the organization over the next few weeks as Clutterbuck recovers from Tuesday’s injury. Luckily for Isles fans, there are plenty of players capable of filling his roster spot in the interim.
Keeping the Clutterbuck injury in perspective is an important task for Islanders fans as the team heads into the regular season. Although his absence will be noticeable, the club’s young talent now has a chance to shine.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. No one can predict injuries, so to blame Snow for the Nino Niederreiter-for-Clutterbuck deal is ridiculous to the point of embarrassment.
Even though ESPN.com ranked Tavares no. 6 among forwards in the NHL, John Tavares still holds the title of best player in the league, at least according to the Isles’ fan base.
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