Carkner waits for his chance on the Island

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Matt Carkner knows all about playing the role of good soldier, so he’s not about to rock the boat on Long Island.

Matt Carkner won't rock the boat to get back into the lineup while the Islanders are playing well. Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Matt Carkner knows all about playing the role of good soldier, so he’s not about to rock the boat on Long Island.
While Carkner is healthy enough to return from his hip flexor injury and return to the New York Islanders’ lineup, the former Ottawa Senators tough guy defenceman knows a good thing when he sees it. The Islanders went into Tuesday’s game against the Senators with a 5-1-1 record in their previous seven games, pushing hard to rejoin the race to the playoffs.
“The team is on a little bit of a positive winning streak here,” Carkner said after putting in extra time on the ice following the Islanders’ morning skate Tuesday. “So, for me, the timing of the comeback is tough. I just have to be ready for when the coach wants to put me back in here. Right now, it’s a coach’s decision.”
Carkner has been through it all before. He was a healthy scratch for 28 games with the Senators last season. That coupled with the 25 games he missed due to a knee injury meant he only played in 29 games. Just the same, the Senators wanted him back as a physical presence — he shifted momentum by punching out Brian Boyle in the club’s first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers last spring — but they weren’t willing to offer anything more than a one-year deal.
When the Islanders stepped up with a three-year, $4.5-million U.S. contract, Carkner couldn’t turn it down. The toughness void went unfilled until the Senators traded for Matt Kassian last week.
By not playing Tuesday, it means Carkner won’t play against his former teammates this season.
“I would love to take some liberties on some guys out there, but it’s just going to have to wait,” he said, with a laugh.
Carkner did meet up with some of the Senators when they were here two weeks ago. He’s especially proud of Kyle Turris, who stepped in to replace him as the Senators’ ambassador for the Capital City Condors, a special needs hockey team.
FORGET ABOUT PERRY
Anyone dreaming of seeing the Ottawa Senators trade for Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry — a former Hart Trophy winner — can move on to the next name on the list of possible trade deadline additions. The stunning eight-year, $69-million contract Perry signed secures his future in California, along with centre Ryan Getzlaf who signed an eight-year, $66-million extension earlier this season.
“I understand the connection that (Senators general manager Bryan Murray) drafted him and that he’s a good player,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said in addressing speculation that Perry might have had a connection to the Senators. “I’m sure Getzlaf and him will be happy staying together. Obviously, they have some good chemistry, a good foundation to build off of.”
kwarren@ottawacitizen.com
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