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Mark Eaton headed back to Long Island with hip injury

 -Veteran defenseman Mark Eaton is headed back to Long Island with a hip injury. Depending on what time he arrives, he'll hopefully be evaluated by team doctors back in New York Thursday.

"We definitely need guys to step up," head coach Jack Capuano said. "Any time you lose a guy like Mark, that's a huge loss for our team."

-Rick DiPietro, who suffered a groin atrain in Monday's game against Calgary, did not skate in Calgary this morning although Capuano said he's feeling "much better"

. Capuano wanted him to get in another day to rest and didn't rule out the possibility of him playing tomorrow. If DiPietro cannot play, however, Capuano said he's confident giving the nod to either Nathan Lawson or Kevin Poulin

--Poulin arrived in time to practice with the team this morning. Of the 20-year-old goaltending prospect, Capuano said:

"He's a confident kid that realizes when given the opportunity, he can play at a high level. That's what you need when you're the last line of defense."

When asked if he worried about Poulin's call-up impeding his development, Capuano said he's seen other players--namely Travis Hamonic--thrive in similar situations.

"It's happening to Travis right now," Capuano said. "Whether Kevin stays, plays or goes back, it's a situation where he would get a taste of it, and you can always learn from that."

--Frans Nielsen, who also suffered a groin strain Monday night, did not practice. He skated beforehand without full gear.
--Blake Comeau, who sat out Monday with neck spasms, did practice and is likely to play tomorrow.

New York Sports