The injury bug has stung the NY Islanders once again, this time with Bo Horvat playing the victim. Horvat, who blocked a shot off the ankle in Saturday’s defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes, was absent from practice this morning.
Getting in the path of a Brady Skjei slap shot from the point, Horvat struggled to the bench but remained in the game. Lane Lambert has stated that his status is day-to-day.
In Horvat’s absence, Mat Barzal slid over to center during today's practice, a position he’s played his entire career. Inserted into Barzal’s slot on the wing was Oliver Wahlstrom. If Horvat is to miss any time, it’s a massive opportunity for Wahlstrom to reclaim his role in the lineup and will be playing alongside Barzal, with whom he’s had his most success in the past.
"The same thing I want to see when Wally's out there with anybody - get his hot off," said Lambert regarding Wahlstrom potentially playing with Barzal. "We need some production and, you know, be solid defensively."
Missing Horvat for any length of time would be a significant blow for the Islanders on the offensive and defensive sides of the ice. He leads all Islanders forwards in points with nine, and his four goals are second to only Brock Nelson (5). In what has been a mostly anemic power play, Horvat remains the only player to score multiple goals while on the man advantage.
Scott Mayfield, who’s missed seven games due to a similar injury, was not present at today's practice as it was deemed a maintenance day. He was visibly in pain at times in Saturday's game, favoring his injured ankle.
Adam Pelech returned to practice today after missing the last game after a collision with Aliaksei Protas of the Washington Capitals left the Islanders defenseman favoring his hip. There’s no word on whether he’ll be able to go tomorrow night against the Minnesota Wild, but it is a step in the right direction.
Through ten games this season, the Isles have played with their full complement of players in only the season opener.