VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Nick Leddy doesn’t fault Connor McDavid for the illegal check to the head that earned the Oilers captain a two-game suspension.
“It was just an unfortunate event in the game,” Leddy said on Saturday. “Things happen fast. The league made a decision. I respect him and how good a player he is. I’ve heard how good a person he is.”
Leddy cleared concussion protocol after McDavid’s two-minute minor at 17:38 of the first period. McDavid, who scored the overtime winner in the Oilers’ 4-3 victory, expressed surprise and disappointment with the suspension.
Still, Leddy said McDavid reached out to former teammate Jordan Eberle to apologize for the hit and to make sure Leddy was OK.
“I think the league gets it right,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.
Rookie D Devon Toews, who grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia, played his first hometown game in the NHL while C Mathew Barzal, from Coquitlam, British Columbia, played his second.
“It’s exciting for me,” said Barzal, who had two assists in a 4-3 overtime loss on March 5, 2018. “The first one is pretty special. Last year was more about the game itself. Now, it’s about getting the win.”
“Playing out east for so long, a lot of my friends and family haven’t been able to see me in person,” added Toews, who joined the Islanders’ organization in 2016 after three seasons at Quinnipiac (Connecticut). “To see me as a legitimate figure, not just on TV, is pretty cool.”
LW Andrew Ladd and D Thomas Hickey, both still on long-term injured reserve, continued to practice with their teammates. Ladd took turns working in line rushes with Barzal and RW Leo Komarov during the morning skate…D Luca Sbisa and F Ross Johnston remained the healthy scratches…The Islanders do not have a practice scheduled on Sunday.