Well, things certainly have changed.
Pelech, who was later diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome — the same ailment that recently sidelined Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos — has since undergone successful vascular surgery and, somewhat amazingly, is ready to get back into action, as he’ll soon join the Islanders’ AHL affiliate.
More, from Newsday:
Following surgery in California to remove part of the uppermost rib and some muscle on Pelech’s right side, he’s ready to resume his season. He’ll play for Bridgeport this weekend and, incredibly, could be a real option for Jack Capuano and the Islanders in the playoffs, which start next week.
“That would be amazing,” he said. “If you’d told me when it happened I might have a chance to play in the playoffs this year, it’d be hard to believe.”
Pelech credits the Islanders’ medical training staff, which reached out immediately to its counterparts with the Bruins and Lightning — Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid and Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy both had TOS and returned to play.
Pelech, New York’s third-round pick at the ’12 draft, was diagnosed with his ailment just weeks after getting recalled from Bridgeport. He averaged 16:42 TOI in seven games at the NHL level, recording two points.
His return could be a real boon for the Isles, who are currently without an important blueline piece in Travis Hamonic. Another d-man, Calvin de Haan, was hurt blocking a shot in Monday’s game against Tampa Bay, but did return for the second period.