Islanders Top Shelf: Deep Dish Edition: 12/13/14

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A stern test this will be for the New York Islanders this evening as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at the Nassau Coliseum. 9-1-0 in their last 10 games and 20-8-1 on the season, Chicago comes in as one of the hottest teams at the present moment and can present matchup nightmares for even the best of squads.

The good news for head coach Jack Capuano as he tries to command his team out of a three game losing streak is the return to health of Johnny Boychuk, Travis Hamonic and Casey Cizikas, who all skated at yesterday’s practice with no restrictions. Cizikas seems the most likely bet to return tonight with Cory Conacher being placed on waivers yesterday. It is hard to imagine Boychuk and Hamonic being inserted into the lineup after only one practice but with this team, you just never know. I wouldn’t say impossible.

Of course that also will bring up the question of who gets waived. New York will need two roster spots when the D-pair is ready to come off the injured reserve list and everyone is wondering just who will draw the short straw. Any combination of Brian Strait, Matt Donovan, Eric Boulton and Griffin Reinhart seem the most likely to be on the bubble for a roster spot.

Jonathan Toews, the Chicago captain who suffered a hit from behind at the hands of the Boston Bruins Dennis Seidenberg on Thursday, made the trip but we will see how he is at the 11:30 morning skate to determine if he will be playing tonight.

Islanders legend Clark Gillies will take the ice with the blue and orange when they begin preparations at 10:30. Tonight is the latest in a series of theme nights honoring Islander legends from the past and it’s Gillies turn for the accolades and applause.

Keep it tuned in to Islanders Insight throughout the day as I head out to Nassau Coliseum for all the morning activities and tonight’s game.

 

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Islanders Top Shelf: Deep Dish Edition: 12/13/14
Andy Graziano