The Islanders suffered more than a few bumps and bruises on Thursday in Winnipeg, but it was a regular who seemingly came through that game unscathed who will be out when the Islanders head to Madison Square Garden on Sunday for the first time this season.
Calvin de Haan, who returned on Tuesday in Vancouver after missing five games with a lower-body injury, apparently aggravated the injury with a long flight home and a day off on Friday and is now day-to-day.
“A guy that doesn’t practice day before a game,” Jack Capuano said of de Haan, who scored his second goal of the season in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win in Winnipeg. “There’s a good chance he won’t play.”
The three Islanders who had noticeable injuries on Thursday all skated on Saturday and are in line to play on Sunday. The worst-looking was Matt Martin’s apparent shoulder injury, suffered when he dove to break up a play at the Islanders line as the regulation horn sounded.
Martin went straight to the locker room before OT began but won’t miss any time. Nick Leddy went down awkwardly in the third period and was on the bench holding his shoulder, but he only missed one shift and his one-timer was deflected in by Anders Lee with 28.3 seconds to go to tie the game.
Shane Prince got a whack on the wrist from Dustin Byfuglien just as Prince scored his first goal as an Islander on Thursday, but he too finished the game and practiced fully on Saturday.
The new addition to practice on Saturday was Mikhail Grabovski, who missed the five-game Western Conference swing with an upper-body injury. He practiced fully but doesn’t appear ready to return.
“He’s still some time away,” Capuano said. “The fact he’s out there is a good thing. We’ll see how he progresses.”
De Haan’s absence will prompt yet another change among the six defensemen, something the Islanders should be used to.
The Islanders have used 11 different six-man defense combinations through 62 games this season and the longest the team has gone playing the same six is nine straight games, a stretch in early November when Thomas Hickey was out for the second time.
Leddy is the only defenseman to play all 62 games. De Haan will miss his sixth game on Sunday; Travis Hamonic (four), Johnny Boychuk (11) and Hickey (19) have all been injured. Brian Strait and Marek Zidlicky have missed 22 and 14 games, but those were all healthy scratches.
Capuano became the 72nd coach to win 200 NHL games on Thursday, handling the milestone with his typical lack of fanfare.
“Just means you’ve got good players,” he said.
In this golden age of NHL coaches — 18 of the current 30 coaches have at least 200 wins and Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau will become the 14th active coach to reach 400 wins with his next victory — Capuano’s number may seem small, but considering the Islanders’ coaching history since Al Arbour, it’s noteworthy.
Mike Milbury is third on the Isles list of games coached with 191, so Capuano is far removed from the unsuccessful pack of coaches since Arbour. According to Isles stat man Eric Hornick, Capuano needed only six more games than Arbour (421 vs. 415) to reach 200 wins, though there were no shootouts and no overtime in Arbour’s day.