NY Islanders Cal Clutterbuck returns to practice

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

We've all been counting the days for the return of J.G. Pageau who has been seen practicing with the NY Islanders recently, as well as Mathew Barzal, however, he has yet to resume skating. What many weren't anticipating was seeing Cal Clutterbuck return who was ruled out indefinitely on Jan. 21st following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres after leaving in the second period due to injury. Although unconfirmed, it was suspected that Clutterbuck would miss the remainder of the season as it wasn't his first time on injured reserve this year and he's been dealing with a plethora of injuries for the past few seasons now. On Thursday morning, Clutterbuck surprisingly hit the ice with the Islanders for the first time since being injured.

Clutterbucks upper-body injury has kept him off the ice for almost seven weeks. In his absence, the Islanders have filled his role with a rotation of Hudson Fasching, Ross Johnston, and (recently) Josh Bailey. Although he returned to practice on Thursday, Islanders head coach Lane Lambert confirmed neither he or Pageau are ready to return to game action although the latter appears closer. Pageau and Clutterbuck took line rushes with Johnston as the extra's during practice, and Pageau and Clutterbuck even rotated in and out of penalty killing drills.

“They’re getting close,” Lambert said. “It’s a boost for sure, they’re two very good players.”

Before he was sidelined with injury, Clutterbuck had eight points (4G, 4A) in 34 games this season and is second on the team with 130 hits.

As for Barzal, he's been spotted around the arena while the Islanders are practicing, but he has not been cleared to resume practicing. There's no clear time table for his return following his week-to-week diagnosis on Feb. 20th.