Clutterbuck could ‘probably’ debut for Isles tonight, but won’t


For once, Cal Clutterbuck is playing it safe.

The high-energy forward, known for his relentless (or, as some suggest, reckless) style of play, won’t make his New York Islanders debut on Tuesday against Phoenix, opting to take another game of rest to repair a preseason leg laceration.

“I could probably play today,” Clutterbuck said, as per “But I think just in talking it over with the medical staff and the coaches, it’s just probably better that I be more prudent at this point. I’ve lost two games, three tonight. In the grand of scheme of things, 82 games plus playoffs, I think it’s maybe a little bit smarter to miss an extra one versus missing some more down the road.”

Clutterbuck, 25, suffered a pretty serious cut early in the third period of an exhibition game against Calgary. He immediately left the ice and appeared to be in serious discomfort, didn’t return, and was later ruled out for 4-6 weeks.

His recovery has been speedier than first estimated, though. There’s a good chance he’ll make his regular season debut on Friday in Chicago, and New York could definitely use his presence against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Clutterbuck, an energetic forward and former junior teammate of Isles captain John Tavares, was brought aboard to add physicality to New York’s forward group and inked four-year, $11 million deal in July, shortly after being acquired from Minnesota in exchange for Nino Niederreiter.

As for where he’ll play? Clutterbuck began training camp on a line with Peter Regin and Michael Grabner, but Grabner is now playing with Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey while Regin is centering Brock Nelson and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.