Isles Lose Parrish To Ankle Sprain
By Alan Hahn
January 3, 2004
Boston - Mark Parrish became the latest Islander to fall casualty to
what is developing into a concerning and costly injury plague. The
right wing, who had been the team's hottest scorers with six goals
and eight points in a six-game stretch, will miss eight weeks with a
severe left ankle sprain. He suffered the injury during an aggressive
tussle with defenseman Chris Phillips in the opening minutes of
Thursday's 1-0 loss in Ottawa, which ended a six-game winning streak.
The Islanders, who were already missing Alexei Yashin (lacerated
forearm), have good organizational depth and scoring parity in the
lineup. That strength certainly will now be put to the test, starting
Saturday here against the Bruins.
"I think we'll learn a lot about ourselves in the next little stretch
here," said captain Michael Peca, who remains questionable for the
Bruins game with a groin strain.
Peca originally felt the pain in Monday's win over the Devils at
Nassau Coliseum and aggravated it during Wednesday's win in
Pittsburgh. He sat out the latter half of that game and didn't dress
for Thursday's game in Ottawa. On Friday, he skated before the team's
practice at Northeastern University and said the groin "felt a lot
better." He will test it out again Saturday morning, then make a
decision about playing against the Bruins.
"I think the last thing that we need is for this to be an ongoing
nagging thing," Peca said. "With these guys already out long term,
for me to possibly push this and hurt it even worse long term, it
just puts us in a greater deficit. So I think we'll make a wise
The loss of Parrish means coach Steve Stirling will look again for a
young player to step up. In practice, Arron Asham was moved into
Parrish's spot with Dave Scatchard and Jason Blake. Rookie Justin
Papineau, who skated well and had a few scoring chances against
Ottawa, was moved to the line with Oleg Kvasha and Mariusz
Czerkawski. The versatile wild card is right wing Mattias Weinhandl,
who will see more time on special teams and in offensive situations.
"It's an opportunity for any guy who doesn't play too much,"
Weinhandl said. "But I'm not happy that injuries happened to good
players. It's not good for the team."
Notes & Quotes: The NHL suspended Senators forward Martin Havlat on
Friday for two games for kicking Eric Cairns in the groin during
Thursday's game ... Rick DiPietro, who lost both starts with
Bridgeport earlier this week, though he allowed only three goals,
arrived in Boston on Thursday night along with a notable travel
partner, general manager Mike Milbury.
Radio: ESPN (1050)
ISLES LOOK FOR REINFORCEMENTS
By EVAN GROSSMAN
January 3, 2004 -- BOSTON - It just never gets any easier for the
Islanders. After watching Alexei Yashin go down for three months with
a very deep cut on his right arm, the Isles this week saw their
captain, Michael Peca, and their hottest scorer, Mark Parrish, leave
games early with injuries that are expected to keep the both of them
out of the lineup for tonight's game here against the Bruins (7:00,
FSN, ESPN radio).
A six-game winning streak was snapped Thursday in a hard-fought 1-0
loss in Ottawa, but the Islanders have bigger concerns now than
continuing to play an entertaining and passionate brand of hockey.
They have to once again pick up the slack as they are now missing
three of their most talented forwards.
Peca (groin) is doubtful tonight, while Parrish is out up to eight
weeks with a sprained left ankle. He left Thursday's game early on an
awkward spill along the back wall, in which he collapsed on his left
leg and had to leave the rink on crutches. Peca, who was playing his
best hockey of the season, skated by himself before the Isles took
the ice here at Fleet Center for practice yesterday to test out the
tender groin he pulled in the win at Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon.
The Islanders were filling the void left by Yashin wonderfully,
thanks in part to a scoring binge from Parrish that produced five
goals in three games to close out the calendar year and a resurgent
Peca that was a force in all three zones. But now without the two of
them in the lineup, it's going to have to come from somewhere else