COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cal Clutterbuck made the trip with the Islanders, but Jack Capuano decided to be cautious and keep him out of Saturday’s game. Eric Boulton made his season debut in Clutterbuck’s spot over Steve Bernier.
“Cal’s real close,” Capuano said. “If this was Game 7, I have to think he’d be in there. But we’ve got a lot of hockey coming up and we don’t want to rush anyone.”
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Clutterbuck left Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia after the second period with an upper-body injury. After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, he skated as an extra on Friday and then skated again Saturday morning with a handful of teammates for the optional morning skate.
Saturday’s game kicked off a stretch of six games in nine nights, including a back-to-back this weekend, with the Isles returning home to face the Devils in a 5 p.m. Sunday start.
That could mean Bernier, the former Devil, will get into the lineup Sunday for his first action since Nov. 25.
Capuano also gave Marek Zidlicky the night off, likely due to the heavy upcoming schedule. Brian Strait played for the first time since Nov. 27.
Tavares working off ice as well
He’s not just the captain, he’s your union man — John Tavares (along with fellow veteran Kyle Okposo) is the Isles’ NHL Players Association team representative, a role he’s long been interested in.
The Islanders had one of their regular meetings with Steve Webb, the former Isles enforcer who is the NHLPA’s Metro Division liaison. Topics such as the All-Star Game format, next fall’s World Cup and escrow were discussed on Friday.
“We have a lot of young guys here and it’s good to keep them up to date and involved on issues that affect all of us,” Tavares said.