The NY Islanders' defensive corps have struggled to stay healthy this season, starting from opening night when Scott Mayfield went down to history. Coming out of the All-Star break, it appears the Islanders are nearing full strength as they begin their push for the playoffs.
Ryan Pulock was activated off LTIR, appearing in practice yesterday. Pulock was paired with his partner in crime, Adam Pelech, while the young pairing of Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov remained intact, and Mayfeild skated alongside Mike Reilly. It appears this would be the Isles' strongest defensive unit, but it's still unknown if Pulock will be ready to go tonight in Toronto.
"I think he's going to need a little bit of time," said Patrick Roy following yesterday's practice. "I apologize, I don't know how many games he played, but he's been out of the lineup for a long period of time. So I think he's going to need time. But seriously, these are vets. We've been playing Dobson and Romanov like 30 minutes a night. So, I do believe if we drop the ice time to 20-25 minutes and we increase those (other defensemen), they're just going to be better."
It's been nearly two months since Pulock suited up for the Islanders, but he'll be a welcomed addition to an Islanders defense that has been playing much better in the four games since Roy took over.
I feel good," Pulcok said after his first practice with the team in nearly two months. " I think it'll be a discussion with the coaches [if he'll suit up tonight.] I feel good and I've been trying to get ready for this and get myself ready to be back. Try to help the team win and go on a bit of a playoff push here. Try to get ourselves in."
Similar to Pelech, who has taken a bit of time to get his feet under him since returning from injury, Pulock will need a few games to reacclimate himself into the lineup. But a familiarity within the defense should certainly help the Isles in their push.