The NY Islanders appear to be one step closer to full health, as Casey Cizikas was a full participant in yesterday's practice after wearing a non-contact jersey since Sunday.
Out of the lineup since Jan. 9 with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot with his right ankle against the Vancouver Canucks, Cizikas rejoined practice in his usual spot, centering the fourth line.
Cizikas was moved to LTIR on Saturday to make way for Ryan Pulock, who was ready to return to action for the first time in nearly two months. Despite his full participation in yesterday's practice, head coach Patrick Roy didn't reveal whether Cizikas would be in the lineup tonight when the Islanders host the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We'll see after [tonight's'] warmup," Roy said. "We thought that he looked good today, but he'll be a game-time decision in this case."
In order to activate Cizikas, the Isles have sent Kyle MacLean back to the Bridgeport Islanders.
MacLean has been in the Islanders lineup the last six games in Cizikas' absence, recording his first career NHL goal on Monday in a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's filled in well during his short stint, averaging close to eight minutes of ice time per game and playing a solid two-way game.
Roy has been impressed with MacLean's game, but it was the only logical move to make, as MacLean is waivers exempt. His play was certainly not a factor in his demotion, as he fell victim to the roster limit.
Cizikas is yet to play under Roy, and his high energy, two-way style of play should quickly make him a fan favorite of his new head coach.
Robert Bortuzzo is now the only Islander on IR, as he recently began skating on his own.