SUNRISE, Fla. - Tyler Kennedy went from just about ready to make his Islanders debut on Tuesday night in Dallas to a flight to Long Island the next day for an examination of an upper-body injury that he reported to the coaching and training staff.
Not exactly the way to impress your new team.
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"It's definitely something I didn't want to happen. It's probably the worst thing that could've happened," Kennedy said of his brief trip to New York for an exam that revealed no serious concerns. He hopped a flight down here on Friday night, along with Kyle Okposo, and both joined the Islanders' morning skate.
Kennedy did not make it into the lineup, and with Thursday's return of Casey Cizikas, Kennedy might have to wait a bit longer to get going with the Isles.
He was acquired from the Sharks on Monday for a seventh-round pick that could turn into a 2016 third-rounder under a very lofty set of circumstances -- the Islanders must win a Stanley Cup and Kennedy must play half of the games in the final round.
So this was not a big setback for the Islanders, especially with Cizikas returning. But it was one last indignity for Kennedy, whose unhappy time in San Jose officially ended after a little less than two seasons. The Sharks traded a second-round pick to the Penguins for Kennedy on draft day in 2013, but the Cup-winner in Pittsburgh never found a groove in San Jose.
Kennedy missed a month with a shoulder injury earlier this season, returning in January but playing only sparingly. He wouldn't say whether this injury is related to that shoulder problem.
"I don't know if was the travel, the stress of that, just a couple different things," Kennedy said. "Just an unfortunate thing, all I can really say about it."
Now he'll have to wait his turn for an injury or a decision by Jack Capuano. Okposo might be ready by the end of next week; his conditioning has remained extremely good despite the long layoff because of Jan. 21 surgery to repair a detached retina. That would further push back Kennedy's chances of contributing right away.
"I'm here to play hockey, play the best I can," Kennedy said. "It doesn't matter if I start two games ago or the next one, you just make sure you're ready to play."