Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury isn't the only player returning to the lineup after dealing with head-related issues.
Defenseman Ian Cole will play tonight after missing the last two periods of Thursday's game against the Red Wings. He revealed he was pulled from that game due to concerns for a head injury after being hit during the first period. After today's morning skate, he talked about the past 48 hours and his new defensive partner, Trevor Daley:
How do you feel?
"As far as symptoms and stuff, everything seemed to clear up pretty much right when it happened the day of the game. Obviously, everyone is very cautious. I think that was probably the main reason. I obviously wanted to get back in there and keep going. I thought I felt good but with the whole head injury landscape as it is, everyone is very cautious. They said no, our doctors and stuff. Every since then, haven't had any issues. No headaches, no symptoms or anything."
When did the symptoms go away?
"I skated hard yesterday. Just with the amount of skating that I was doing, getting the heart rate up pretty much up to what the max should be and also yesterday and today, doing a lot of spins and cutbacks and wraps and all these kind of things which usually throws off your [equilibrium] and no symptoms or headaches or anything. And that's usually one of the last things to go when you're recovering, headaches from that type of stuff because everything is spinning. But no problems and everything feels good."
What symptoms did you feel?
"It really wasn't much. I obviously don't want to get into any specific things but there were a couple yellow flags, not even red flags. But everyone is very cautious, especially with the history around here with some guys on the team. [Defenseman Kris Letang] and guys like that. I guess it's better to be cautious, you know? It was tough to not be playing."
You've played with Trevor Daley the last few games. What have you noticed about him?
“It's quite obvious he's a great skater, right? He's a great skater. Just so smooth out there. His balance on his skates is really something to watch. Obviously, we have another great skater in [Letang]. To have of those world class caliber skaters on our team [on defense] is unique. He's really smart with the puck too. Everyone just thinks he's an offensive guy. [Letang] too. Its one of those those things when you play with him, you're not surprised but certainly you notice how good they are defensively, how smart they are with the puck. I think way more than people give them credit for. … Playing with [Letang] and playing with [Daley], it's not something where I'm like, 'wow.' It's never been like that at all. Two really smart players and two guys that are really good defensively."
The Islanders are expected to start former Penguins goaltender Thomas Greiss tonight. He has been having a strong rebound season after a spotty 2014-15 campaign with the Penguins. With starter Jaroslav Halak in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Greiss has played in 18 games and has an 11-5-2 record with a 2.03 goals against average and .936 save percentage.
After today's morning skate, he was asked what has led to his strong season:
“Playing time always helps. It's easier when you're in a groove, in every game than once a month. Have the timing and being comfortable. You have to be comfortable around the team too. We have a really good group of guys and it's fun to play here.”
-This is Greiss' first game in Pittsburgh since he left as a free agent last offseason. In October, he said the fans in Consol Energy Center were "pretty dead." He didn't really say much when asked today if he expects to get some grief during tonight's game:
"We'll see. I don't know. I'm not too worried about it. Whatever happens, happens."
-We can't say we disagree with Greiss. This building resembles a library many nights.
-Also, Greiss has size 12 skates. We figured you'd like to know that useless information.
(Photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images)