Below is my story for tomorrow's paper about Sean Bergenheim's potential return and the ensuing roster complications.

My personal take on this situation? I'd expect the Islanders to put Witt on the IR tomorrow (they have until 5 pm) to do so. Even before his doctor's appointment today to evaluate his calf, Witt was battling through some nagging injuries (he even got a day off to rest and recover before the Islanders departed on their Western Conference jaunt last week).

Regardless, here's the story:

The trio of goaltenders splitting practice time between two nets is no longer the Islanders’ only logistical obstacle. With Sean Bergenheim ready to return, the team must soon make a roster decision to accommodate his addition to the lineup.

Bergenheim, who has not played since suffering a rib injury December 8, seems healthy enough to play, and coach Scott Gordon has confirmed as much, describing Bergenheim as “close to 100% as he can be.”

In order to activate Bergenheim, however, the Islanders must exercise one of several options to free up room on their 23-man roster.

Scott Gordon has already ruled out the easiest move to make—sending defenseman Andrew MacDonald back down to Bridgeport. MacDonald’s impressive play has warranted a regular spot in the lineup and Gordon said he’d be reluctant to remove him despite the delicate roster situation.

The Islanders can also waive a player to make space for Bergenheim, but they seem unwilling to explore that route as well. While Jeff Tambellini and defenseman Freddy Meyer have both been healthy scratches for significant chunks of time throughout the season, Scott Gordon said yesterday, “We don’t want to just give a player away.”

Barring a trade, the Islanders’ only other option would be to place another player on injured reserve.

The likelihood of the latter looked promising yesterday morning, with defenseman Brendan Witt absent from practice for a medical evaluation on his calf. When asked whether he thought Witt’s injury was significant, however, Gordon seemed confident it was not.

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“No, I don’t think so,” Gordon said. “I talked to [ head trainer Garrett Timms] and he hasn’t led me to believe so. [His calf] has been tightening up on him and that’s it.”

Despite Gordon’s skepticism, Witt's designation to injured reserve remains the most likely scenario. Witt’s prognosis could return more serious than expected, neatly coinciding with Bergenheim’s return to health and enabling the energetic winger to play tonight against Detroit.

If none of these aforementioned possibilities come to fruition, Bergenheim may be given more time than anticipated to heal.

“I have no idea,” Bergenheim said when asked if he’d play Tuesday. “I can’t answer that. It’s the same situation as before. I just don’t know.
"I feel really good," Bergenheim said. "I'm just eager to play."

Notes and Quotes: Scott Gordon said goaltender Rick DiPietro will play a game this week. Gordon also said the goalie rotation is now essentially between just Dwayne Roloson and DiPietro ad he’ll have to strike some sort of balance on how to use both of them in net. “We have to get Rick going, but we also have to be smart about it.”