Pelech and Palms Return – Islanders Injury Report: 1/27/23

Good morning, Isles fans! The New York Islanders have recently dropped several spots in the race for an Eastern Conference wildcard spot. They currently have 51 pts, behind Washington (who has the final spot with 56 pts), then Buffalo (53 pts), and Florida (52 pts). With a 1-7-3 record in the last 11 games, the Islanders are in desperate need of every player’s talent right now. Some might argue that we don’t even have enough talent to pull ourselves out of the rut, and who can blame them, but injuries have certainly not played in our favor in the last month.

That is not to say the Islanders were playing stellar hockey before then, but the playoffs were still very much at play not that long ago. Several guys on the roster have experienced some sort of minor injury thus far, but the primary absences affecting the team were Adam Pelech and Kyle Palmieri.

Pelech went on the IR after an upper body injury (suspected concussion) in the game against St. Louis on December 6th. Play stopped as Pelech struggled to get up after a hit from Blues D-man Robert Bortuzzo in the third period. Until Sorokin’s breakout, there is no doubt that Adam Pelech was considered by many to be the Islanders’ most valuable player. He is a joy to watch, and any time spent on the IR is unideal for this fringe playoff team. The Islanders went 7-14 before his return and have still managed to lose the last two games with him. He looked a little rusty but has a fair excuse having been out for so long, and assuming it was actually a head injury, it was not something to be rushed.

Pelech falls as Bortuzzo makes a hit, resulting in what looks like a Mike Matheson-style play.

During that time, the Islanders were also without veteran forward, Kyle Palmieri. He had been out since November 21st with an upper body injury in a win against Toronto when he collided with Toronto D-man, Morgan Reilly. He came back briefly for one game against Arizona but rejoined the IR afterward. Both Palmieri and Pelech made their big returns on Monday against Toronto, and although we lost to them, as well as to Ottawa on Wednesday, the team did look slightly better. Palms recorded an assist in each game back, but unfortunately, slightly better is not anywhere near the output we need to see from the Islanders as a team in order to assert themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The current injury list includes a recent addition in the day-to-day Noah Dobson (lower body, last played 1/21 vs Carolina), a lower body injury for both Oliver Wahlstrom (last played 1 shift on 12/27 vs Pitt) and Hudson Fasching (1/18 vs Boston), and another upper body injury to Cal Clutterbuck (1/19 vs Buffalo). Hopefully Dobson will return shortly and restore balance to this defense again with Adam Pelech’s return. Wahlstrom was on a bit of a dry streak before being sidelined, but his offensive potential is surely wanted right now. Same goes for Fasching, who was in the midst of becoming a new fan-favorite with his high energy and constant offensive-zone pressure. Clutterbuck has had a rough go of it with injuries, not only this year but in his entire career, having shoulder surgery as recently as Spring of 2022. He had recently been paired with Barzal for a few games, using his physicality to help create more space for the young star.  Here’s to a speedy recovery for all of the guys currently out of the lineup!

The Islanders return to UBS Arena for this last weekend of January, taking on Detroit tonight @ 7pm EST, and Vegas tomorrow @ 730pm. Let’s get this back on track, fellas!

Author: Anthony DiCostanzo

Islander fan living in Boston! #Metal #Hockey #Nature @anthonymdico (Twitter) @antdico25 (IG)

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