Monday, December 20th brought some good news and bad news for the New York Islanders.
The bad news is that the NHL suspended Matthew Martin for two games for a hit he delivered on Phoenix Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler during the first period of Saturday’s game. It’s not a huge loss for the Isles, though, as he’s a borderline NHL player to begin with. He only has two points (on two goals) in 22 games so far this season, with a -11 rating.
The good news could be a lot bigger than two losing a marginal player for two games. The team reports that Kyle Okposo practiced in full gear for the first time this season.
Of course, practicing and actually playing are two very different things in the NHL. Upon his late September injury, it was estimated that his return would take six months, so even a January or February return would be way ahead of schedule.
You could say that the Okposo and Mark Streit injuries doomed what was already a far from promising 2010-11 season for the Islanders, so surely the team would love to get their budding power forward back sometime this season. He already has 18 and 19 goal seasons to his credit, making him one of the few Islanders players with big-picture promise outside of John Tavares.
It may be a while before Okposo returns, but we’ll pass along updates once they become available.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?