Sean Bergenheim practiced with the team this morning and will play tonight, albeit with a banged-up nose.
Bergenheim will play without the face cage he wore yesterday in practice, but will have a visor for protection.
Since they did a pretty hasty job Saturday, Bergenheim said he only received about 8 stitches. While his nose is pretty sore, Bergenheim has not had x-rays to see if it's broken. He's had a broken nose before and there's really nothing you can do about it.
As Bergenheim said:
"I'm just glad it's not sideways."
Bergenheim also discussed the fact that NJ's Colin White did not receive a suspension for his hit on Bergenheim that resulted in a five-minute major and game misconduct.
(White drove Bergenheim into the boards face-first Saturday, leaving a bloodied Bergenheim in his wake).
"Let me put it this way, it was a really stupid play by White. It was just a stupid play. I don't believe he wanted to cut me but it was a stupid play and for stupid plays like that there should be consequences," Bergenheim said.
"I had my back turned against him for about three seconds before the play and it wasn't like I turned. When I got the puck I deflected it in and it was a second after I had the puck that the hit came. There was a lot of time that I didn't have the puck."
Given the similarity and severity of the hit compared to Andy Sutton's boarding on Pascal Dupuis on Tuesday (for which he was suspended two games), it is likely that the league took into account a couple different factors when making this decision: White's prior history and the fact that Bergenheim would not miss any additional time.
All Andy Sutton said regarding the seeming inconsistency was:
"They have a job to do and I'm sure they are trying their best.
Speaking of Andy Sutton, he'll return tonight for the Islanders after serving his two-game suspension for Tuesday's hit on Dupuis.
"I feel like I age in dog years when I'm out," Sutton joked.
Sutton said at least he won't be nursing any residual discomfort or testing his health like his last return after missing time from a groin injury earlier this season.
"Just a bruised ego and a broken heart," Sutton said. "I'm just excited to get back in there."
Sutton and the rest of the Islanders defense will have their work cut out for them tonight as they face offensive dynamo Alex Ovechkin and the streaking Washington Capitals.
"It'll be a great challenge for our team. We're a hot team too right now," Sutton said. "It's a challenge and we're up for it."
As for Ovechkin's abilities?
"He definitely, like all goal-scorers, has the ability to find those soft spots," Sutton. "It's hard to believe a player like that can hide, but he's amazing at finding those areas."
Bruce Boudreau had some nice praise for the Islanders, a team that has taken the Caps into overtime each of the previous three meetings this season.
"They work really hard," Boudreau said. "People underestimate them and they shouldn't. Any time you are going against a Scott Gordon team it's going to be a team that works hard and is going to be structured. You've got a lot of youthful excitement, exuberance. Whatever you want to call it, they never quit."
"I think they're a really good team and they scare me to death," Boudreau said.
Alex Ovechkin also weighed in on the tight games they've had with the Islanders:
"They are a team that wants to make the playoffs and they fight for it," he said.
Ovechkin also talked about Tavares' recent slump and whether he could relate to similar struggles during his rookie season.
"It's pretty hard when you've got lots of attention," Ovechkin said." If I were him I'd just go on vacation during the Olympic Break and forget about the media and the attention and just worry about the second half of the season.
Josh Bailey did not practice this morning. Scott Gordon said he is feeling under the weather and went to see the doctor. Gordon did not rule him out for tonight's game.
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