Shane Prince made his first appearance on Thursday since April 2, a much longer road back to action than the 25-year-old would have anticipated when he was shut down late last season with an ankle injury.
That injury nagged Prince all summer, resulting in August surgery that kept him off the ice all through training camp. He had been skating and then practicing with the Islanders for several weeks before he was activated off injured reserve on Dec. 10 and sent to Bridgeport for conditioning, coming back up on Wednesday and finally getting a taste on Thursday.
“It’s been a long road back both mentally and physically, but I feel good now and am excited to be back,” Prince said on Thursday morning. “I thought I had a couple of good games and a couple games where I was still adjusting. Overall, it was a good time there (in Bridgeport), I feel good now and am happy to be back here and am excited for tonight.”
Doug Weight had Prince skating with Casey Cizikas and Steve Bernier to start Thursday’s game, with Anthony Beauvillier sitting out as a scratch among the forwards.
“He’s a fast hockey player, he has a good shot, and he’s played some good games for us in the past,” Weight said. “We need a little energy right now and talking to (Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson) his last four games he’s generated a lot, he’s played feisty, played fast and he’ll need to do that tonight, bring us some life. I’m excited to see him play.”
No news yet on de Haan
Calvin de Haan’s shoulder injury still does not have a set timeline and no determination has yet been made on whether he needs surgery. De Haan was injured late in Saturday’s overtime win over the Kings, an injury to the same left shoulder that de Haan had surgically repaired in 2012.
Thomas Hickey returned to the lineup Thursday after missing the prior five games with an upper-body injury. Dennis Seidenberg was the healthy scratch on defense.