Islanders coach Barry Trotz finally went from saying “day to day, but not today” to “tonight’s the night” for left wing Andrew Ladd and defenseman Thomas Hickey.
Ladd, out since Nov. 15 with a suspected ankle injury, logged 12:52 with an assist in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Flames at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum as he started on a line with center Mathew Barzal and Leo Komarov then got bumped around as Trotz tinkered.
The lefthanded-shooting Hickey, out since Dec. 18 with a suspected head injury, played 14:48 on a pair with rookie Devon Toews, who shifted to his off-side on the right. Hickey was on the ice for Rasmus Andersson’s dagger goal that made it 3-1 at 5:12 of the third period.
“I thought both of them did pretty well,” Trotz said. “You could tell there was a little bit of rust.”
It marked Ladd’s second return this season after he missed all of the preseason and the first three regular-season games with what was believed to be a back issue. He has three goals and five assists in 15 games.
“It’s frustrating but, at the same time, you just deal with it as it comes,” said Ladd, in the third season of a seven-year, $38.5-million deal. “There are a lot of guys throughout the league who have been through a lot worse.”
Defenseman Travis Hamonic, with the Islanders from 2010-17, logged 21:25 for the Flames in his first game back at the Coliseum. “It was cool to go back to Barclays and play that first game,” Hamonic said. “But to be back in this building, somewhere we called home for so many years, so many special moments both in my career and my personal life…” The Islanders are 6-2-2 at the Coliseum …The attendance was a non-sellout 13,097.