Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY
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Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Islanders will get some help on their back end Saturday night as Travis Hamonic will return to the Islander lineup for the first time since January 12. He has been out with an upper body injury since the game in Dallas and has been itching to return to action.
“It’s never easy,” Hamonic said about having to sit out. “To be quite honest with you I wish I could play 60 minutes a night. Having to sit on the bench I’d rather be on the ice… It pissed me off every night, whether we were winning or losing. When we’re winning you wanna be out there with the team doing it and if you’re losing you wanna be out there trying to help.
“It really gets me going when I have to sit out and watch a game, so I’ve been looking forward to this moment.”
Hamonic has missed the last 12 games and over that span the Islanders have gone 4-7-1 without him in the lineup. The Islanders did catch a break earlier in the week with the return of Lubomir Visnovsky.
However, there is a question of necessity as to why play Hamonic with just one game to go before the NHL pauses for the lengthy Olympic break. Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano told reporters that it was the defenseman who wanted to hit the ice tonight.
“He wanted to play the last game and he could have played the last game,” Capuano said. “He wants to get in there. He wanted to get in the last game. We would never put anyone in a situation that wasn’t 100 percent. The same thing with Nabby in the stadium game, so he’s ready to go.”
Hamonic will be paired up with Calvin de Haan during Saturday’s contest agains the Colorado Avalanche and the team will not monitor Hamonic too much during the game. “He’s ready to go,” Capuano reiterated.
Isles Healthy for a Change
The Islanders will enter Saturday’s game against the Avalanche fully healthy for the first time since the beginning of the season. The return of Travis hamonic, and Lubomir Visnovsky earlier this week, the Isles have no players on the injured reserve.
“Like every other team now you have some bumps and bruises, but guys are battling through it,” Capuano said after the morning skate. “In the back end now we’ve got our guys and both goaltenders are healthy now. We’ve gone through some tough stretches.”
Hamonic Added: “I’m not gunna lie it’s nice to see everyone healthy. It’s nice to see a full roster, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse for whats gone on here. There’s teams that have had more injuries than we have and that’s just part of the process. As a teammate you never wanna see guys sitting out injured.”
Matt Donovan Sent to Bridgeport
The Islanders loaned defenseman Matt Donovan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday morning.
Donovan was the odd man out with the return of Travis Hamonic and he will get to time to continue to work on his game down in Bridgeport. In a 17 game stint earlier in the year he recored 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) for the Sound Tigers.