LOS ANGELES — The day has finally come? The New York Islanders will likely welcome Jean-Gabriel Pageau back into the lineup tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
Although the New York Islanders have survived in his absence, going 7-3-2, his return is critical to the Islanders holding on to a wild-card spot with 14 games to go.
Pageau wears many hats for the Islanders, usually taking on the best the opponent has to offer at five-on-five while also playing on the power play and penalty.
In Pageau’s absence, Bo Horvat has served as a savior.
He’s played the most minutes of anyone on the Islanders with 267:34 minutes.
He’s won 50.92 percent of his draws over his last 12 games at five-on-five and 60.08 percent at all strengths. He’s played on the top power-play unit and on the penalty kill.
Now, with Pageau returning, Horvat does not need to be doing everything, which will allow him to be more effective–even though he has been.
“He’ll do whatever he’s asked to do,” Lambert said about Horvat. I think that he does take a lot of face-offs, and he’s out there maybe a little bit more than we’d want him to be, just based on his time on ice.
“But it’s been a necessity, and he’s done a really good job of it.”
Pulock’s Pregame Prep
When Ryan Pulock didn’t come out for morning skate, the likely reason was that he took his option. And that’s what it was, as he was in the hallway doing some drills before taking a seat at his stall in the locker room.
NYI Hockey Now asked Pulock about what goes into his decision and what his routine is like.
“It’s mostly just when I wake up,” Pulock said about deciding when to skate or not when it’s optional. “I think, depending on our schedule, sometimes I feel better when I don’t skate, I find.
“If I feel good in the morning, I don’t skate. Obviously, there’s a back-to-back coming up, so everyone’s different, and everyone feels different. And sometimes, just the way you feel can dictate what you want to do.”
As for Pulock’s routine:
“I mean, my routine is very similar every day, similar meals, nap, wake up at the same time, go to the rink at the same time, so my game day is routine. It’s nothing too crazy,” Pulock said. “I follow it pretty much every day, and I think it can help you get your mind in the right place and be ready to play.”
Pulock doesn’t love his pregame meal but understands that it’s got the goods.
“It’s not that it’s my favorite, but just something that is just pretty basic for our sport anyway, usually, just like pasta and chicken,” Pulock said. “It’s nothing too exciting. Some days it gets a little old, but you just got to do it.”
Pulock is not a music guy, like maybe some of his teammates.
“I don’t really listen to a ton of music outside of when I’m driving or whatnot,” Pulock said. “So whatever D.J. is playing in here is what gets me going.”
Locker Room D.J.
New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck brings the hits when he’s on the ice, but apparently, he also brings the hits in the locker room.
NYI Hockey Now spoke with Matt Martin after Tuesday’s practice and got some insider information.
“Clutterbuck usually plays a mix. It’s the same over and over again. And then, like anything, it’s rituals, so if you’re not winning games, sometimes you make changes, win games, and then we stick with that,” Martin told NYI Hockey Now. “But he’s always on top of it with the music.
“And that’s not an easy job because you can’t make 23 guys happy all at once. So it’s a little bit of a blend.”
Martin shared that it’s mostly Electronic Dance music, otherwise known as EDM. The soft, sad music is for the mornings.