“We don’t have any update on him at this point,” Capuano responded to the first of several questions about the injured defenseman. “We’ll just take it day by day.”
Not the response Islander fans were hoping for just two days before the puck drops in Washington D.C. for Game 1 between the Isles and Washington Capitals. Hamonic was injured during the first period of Friday’s win in Pittsburgh and missed the rest of the game. He also missed Saturday’s season finale at Nassau Coliseum.
Hamonic’s status for Wednesday’s playoff opener is very much up in the air. Capuano was repeatedly asked if the Islander defenseman would be able to play on Wednesday and each time he responded, “I don’t know.”
“I’m just being honest with you,” Capuano said. “I don’t have any update as far as where we’re at with him. Hopefully as we move forward here we will.”
The absence of Hamonic would be a big blow to the Islanders. Hamonic is one of the Islanders best defenseman and played a crucial role in the team's last playoff appearance in 2013 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He matched up against some of the Pens top players, like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.
"It's hard to replace those minutes, the physicality and the all around game Hammer brings. He's really elevated his game this year," John Tavares said. "He's such a big part of our backend, so whether he plays or he doesnt, whoever is there I don't think has to play the way Hammer does. But they have to play to their strengths, execute the way we need to and take advantage of the opportunity."
Likely tapped to fill that role will be the Islanders top pair defensemen and the two veterans on the blue line with championships under their belt. Both Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy have won Stanley Cups and have been through the treacherous journey that is the playoffs, and Boychuk plays the physical style that the Isles will lack if Hamonic is out.
"He's a right handed shot, a physical guy. He'd be right there and he's a playoff tested guy," Thomas Hickey said. "I think we're all going to step up."
The Islanders will also have several options to chose from for a sixth defenseman if Hamonic does not play. That includes Griffin Reinhart, who was called up on Monday and practiced at Nassau Coliseum.