Feisty Devils winger David Clarkson said he isn't worried about any potential retaliation from the Islanders tonight.
Several of the Islanders--most notably Frans Nielsen--were upset about Clarkson "chirping" their head coach Jack Capuano from the ice during their 3-2 OT loss March 12 and told on-ice officials as much.
"I don't really care," Clarkson responded when asked if he expects any retribution. "If someone wants to, I don't worry about that stuff. I just go out there and play my game and that's the way it is."
Clarkson also said he wasn't aware that Capuano was the team's head coach when he engaged with the bench earlier this month.
"I skated by the bench and was yelling back and forth. I didn't even know it was the coach. For guys to be upset...it's kind of part of hockey, right? That stuff's going to happen."
"I didn't even know I was talking to the coach. I thought I was talking to one of their players at the beginning. That's kind of how I play, getting under guys skin, being tough to play against and trying to annoy their guys. That kind of what I like to do."
The usually mild-mannered Nielsen was the most incensed when it all went down--he was tossed from the game with a 10-min misconduct after arguing with official Stephane Auger--but said the team will not revisit the incident on the ice tonight.
Capuano also said there are no hard feelings from his end and that he has the "utmost respect" for Clarkson, who he coached against in the AHL. Capuano said he simply thought that Clarkson was goading him to make a particular line change late in the game.
If anything does escalate tonight, the Islanders will have Matt Martin and Micheal Haley available, although Trevor Gillies now appears likely to return for the first time since serving a ten-game suspension for his hit on Cal Clutterbuck.
If Gillies does return, Haley may come out of the lineup. Either way, the Islanders should have ample toughness in their lineup.