With the recent depletions on D, the Islanders will be more than happy to return both Milan Jurcina and Radek Martinek tonight against Anaheim.
Jurcina has been out with a hamstring injury since October 29; Martinek has been out the past two games with an injured left arm suffered while blocking a shot by Zdeno Chara last week.
"They give us size and experience," head coach Jack Capuano said of the two returning defensemen. "With them out, we were able to let our young guys get more minutes, but having them back will help us for sure."
Martinek said he will express no hesitation in blocking shots in the future, either:
"It's my job. I'm not going to step off. I'll do it again."
When asked about the top-line minutes rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic has shouldered recently, Capuano isn't surprised at all that he's stepped up well in face of the challenge.
"I'm not , although I'm sure some people are. But from what I've seen from him in training camps and in Bridgeport this year, he's got that poise and composure. He makes a good first pass, has got that physicality. And his focus and preparation is as good as it gets, as good as any player I've ever seen."
Playing against some of the top lines in the league during his recent 8-game stint has been an opportunity Hamonic has relished.
"To be the best, you've got to play the best and beat the best," Hamonic said. "I got some good advice when I came in here--come in with your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut; I just want to get better with every day, ever game, every practice and every video session."
Former Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton, who returned for the Ducks November 21 after suffering a broken hand opening night, played 5:49 last night-- as a forward.
Coach Randy Carlyle said that's how he remembered Sutton while he was scouting him in Northern Michigan.
"He's still a work in progress on our back end," Carlyle said. "I'm sure he'll tell you that he just wants to contribute to our team any way he can.
Rick DiPietro will start in goal tonight.
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