Josh Bailey (upper-body), Jack Hillen (jaw), Tim Jackman (eye) are all back in the lineup tonight against Chicago.
Scott Gordon talked about the return of both Bailey and Hillen in terms of their importance to the team before they went down with injury.
"Jack was playing some key minutes for us. He won't be playing that right away but we're glad he's back."
"Offensively Josh was playing really well. I really liked the way he was playing and I hope he can build on that this last part."
After missing six games and having the Olympic break as some extra built-in time for recovery, Bailey said he feels great and up to speed conditioning-wise.
"We had five or six good days of practice so it won't be hard to get back into it."
Speaking of getting back into it, I asked Bailey if he anticipates any difficulty in picking up where he left off, playing some of his best hockey.
"No I don't think so. I'm just going in with the same mindset as before. Even though it's been a month since I haven't played, I've only missed 6 games."
That trio will try to inject some life into the Islanders lineup as the team takes on the Blackhawks for the first and only time this season.
Among Chicago's biggest threats? US Olympic team member Patrick Kane, who Gordon became more familiar with while coaching in Vancouver.
"His skill level, his poise with the puck," Gordon said about what struck him about the diminuitive dynamo. "He has such a low-panic element to his game. He's so deceptive; when you see him getting pressured from the other team he always finds a way to shield the puck."
Gordon was also asked about the impending trade deadline and its effects on players involved (Sutton, Biron, Roloson).
"I don't think there's anything you can really do about it. If you're going to be traded, there is nothing you can do to stop it. The reality is, you can be traded anytime, not just at the deadline."
When asked whether he's looking forward to potentially being on the other side of things when next year's trade deadline, rolls around, Gordon responded:
"If you're buying, it means you're confident that you're situation is good enough to be a playoff contender. That's a position every team wants to be in."