Brock Nelson Should Be Given the Night Off

The New York Islanders made a roster move today, assigning forward Harry Zolnierczyk to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

This move was prompted by the return of Cal Clutterbuck to the lineup, as was reported earlier in the day.

Harry Z, as he will be referred to from here on out for obvious reasons, proved himself a hard working, capable fill in player in his brief two game stint on the Isles, but when push comes to shove he was always going to be the first man to be demoted to make room for the return of one of the team’s injured regulars, especially given Colin McDonald‘s goal scoring contributions in both games. However, that does not mean that I think today should have been the day that the team sent the 27 year old back to the AHL.

That day should have been tomorrow, regardless of his performance tonight. Brock Nelson needs a night off, and with tonight’s game beinng played against a lesser opponent in the Toronto Maple Leafs, now seems like a perfect opportunity to do just that. Brock has not scored since he netted a garbage time power play goal on January 4th, a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. A stretch of 15 scoreless games for a player that began the season as hot as any player in the NHL. Jack Capuano has shown in the past that he is not afraid to sit a player if he feels they aren’t performing up to expectations, as he did so with Lubomir Visnovsky recently.

Nelson’s moratorium to the press box would be brief, as the team returns to action on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Nelson is without question one of the Isles 12 best forwards. but that doesn’t mean that the 23 year old couldn’t use a night off. The goal scoring drought aside, Nelson has not even resembled the player that he was earlier in the year during this recent cold stretch. He played only 13:12 in Tuesday’s win over the Oilers, only his linemates, Harry Z and Nikolay Kulemin and fourth line center Casey Cizikas played less.

With the return of Clutterbuck, the Isles would have been required to make a roster move to keep Harry Z up with the big club, but there is an obvious move to be made with Calvin de Haan being scratched again tonight. A retroactive placement of de Haan on the injured reserve would have him eligible for a return to action against the New York Rangers on Monday night at the Coliseum, arguably the biggest game on the schedule this month.

Watch for Nelson to bury two goals tonight and make me look like a fool, as I am sure some of you will remind me in the comments section if that is the case.