Lubomir Visnovsky Inches Closer To Islanders Lineup Return

Oct 19, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman

Lubomir Visnovsky

(11) is led off the ice after sustaining an apparent injury as Islanders defenseman

Travis Hamonic

(3) looks on during the first period of a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by Newsday’s Arthur Staple this morning, New York Islanders veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky—he of the much needed puck-moving and power-play-quarterbacking ability—is slowly making progress as he returns from the concussion he sustained on Oct. 19 against the Carolina Hurricanes:

Traveling with the team and riding a stationary bike are important first steps toward getting back on the ice and logging crucial minutes for the Islanders, but Visnovsky won’t be rushed back into the lineup despite the team’s well-documented defensive struggles.

Assuming he shows no signs of regression during baseline testing following this morning’s workout, Visnovsky is still a minimum of one week away from playing in a game. The next steps are for him to skate by himself, participate in a non-contact practice, participate in a contact practice, and regain his conditioning.

I’m speculating here, but it’s not likely that the Islanders will have Visnovsky in the lineup until Dec. 5 (against St. Louis) or Dec. 7 (against Los Angeles). And those are best-case scenarios.

Concussion protocol dictates that Visnovsky will be evaluated by the training staff after each step in the process. Any regression on a baseline test will prevent him from moving forward with the next part of his rehab effort.

In the 14 games since Visnovsky was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 19, the Islanders have gone 5-8-1 and have fallen into last place in the Metropolitan Division. The power play has been abysmal, with the team converting less than 15 percent (7-for-48) of man-advantage situations.

There’s no doubting Visnovsky’s importance to the club, both from an on-ice and off-ice standpoint.

Visnovsky brings veteran leadership to the Islanders locker room, something that’s been sorely lacking in the wake of his concussion and now Evgeni Nabokov’s groin injury. The Isles are still a young team in search of consistency, and will likely have to find it without two of their most respected leaders.

Combine the loss of Visnovsky in the room with his calming presence on the power play and his concussion has impacted the Isles more than even the coaching staff would like to admit.

It’s not all doom-and-gloom for the Islanders, however. True, preseason expectations have not been met to this point, and the team is slogging through yet another November to forget, but at least the Visnovsky news gave us this:

Sometimes laughter the best medicine. Or in this case, the only medicine.

-MW (@MichaelWillhoft)

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Follow me on the Twitter so we can talk about the defensive corps or discuss the powerless play or trade Lubo photoshops or whatever.