The New York Islanders will be aided greatly by Casey Cizikas’ return from injured reserve, as the center is back for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 30, 2018
Cizikas missed the last six games with an upper-body injury but will be in the lineup against Florida on Tuesday night. The 26-year-old was told to return to action when he found it suitable, and unlike with previous injuries, he chose not to rush back this time.
“Excited to get him back,” head coach Doug Weight told Newsday’s Neil Best. “He does a lot, plays in a lot of different areas. Certainly the reliability and the responsibility he has defensively, forechecking, he has a big engine and brings a lot of energy. He’s a heck of a hockey player and has been a part of the core for a long time … He’s been skating quite a bit and feeling confident in his body.”
Cizikas, a Toronto, Ontario native with five goals and six assists in 40 games this season, will be playing the wing on Tuesday night for the first time since the 2011-12 season — his rookie campaign. He “got in some good skates on the road trip [last week] and I felt good,” he told Newsday.
Ross Johnston, who was recalled from Bridgeport in Cizikas’ absence, will be relegated to the bench. Johnston has provided a characteristically soft squad with some invaluable aggression. “The Islanders needed to send a message to the rest of the league that they’re not to be messed with.