Even Calvin de Haan knew that his second career NHL game Saturday night wasn't necessarily in the Islanders' long-range plans. With de Haan coming off a 2012-13 season cut short by a second major shoulder surgery in four years, the plan was for the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft to spend a full season in Bridgeport and work his way back into the speed of the pro game.
But the Islanders needed de Haan sooner rather than later, so there he was, playing his first NHL game since Dec. 15, 2011. Unlike that one-and-done call-up two seasons ago, de Haan has a chance to stick around because of injuries and the struggles of fellow defenseman Matt Donovan, who went down to Bridgeport on Wednesday to make room for de Haan.
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"I like to think I'm a realist, so I think [staying in Bridgeport this season] was the plan," de Haan said Saturday morning. "But I'm here and I want to make the most of it."
The 22-year-old defenseman was paired with Thomas Hickey. He got 20 minutes of ice time, put two shots on goal, had four hits and wasn't on for any of the Capitals' goals. De Haan was with the Islanders on Friday but sat out against the Red Wings; he took Radek Martinek's spot Saturday night.
Josh Bailey took his one-game benching in stride as he returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Friday.
"You have to try and take the positive out of it," he said. "I watched the game, watched some video of me when I felt like I was playing well. I need to get that confidence back. You can't just sit and mope about it."
Rookie Brock Nelson was a healthy scratch among the forwards, along with Eric Boulton.