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Brian Strait, Evgeni Nabokov return to practice
Brian Strait and Evgeni Nabokov, two of the Isles’ injured regulars, got back on the ice Monday morning.
Nabokov has been out since injured his groin on Nov. 16. He will likely join the Islanders on their five-game road trip that begins on Thursday in St. Louis, but it’s unlikely he will play until after the team returns home.
Strait has been out since Oct. 22 with a mysterious ailment, believed to be related to his back. After seeing several specialists to rule out different possible injuries or illnesses, the defenseman has slowly worked his way back with off-ice conditioning and now a session of individual drills on Monday with skills coach Bernie Cassell.
Strait is also still in need of practices and contact before he can return to play, so he may not be in uniform until the Isles wrap up this five-game trip that takes the team to five of the elite Western Conference teams’ arenas: St. Louis, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix.
Not to mention Tuesday’s game with the Penguins at the Coliseum, Pittsburgh’s first visit to Long Island since last spring’s playoff series.
The other long-term injured regular, Lubomir Visnovsky, is seeing a concussion specialist outside of the area early this week. He may join the team on the road trip if he’s cleared to skate. If not, it’s more likely he will stay behind and do off-ice work on his own.