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Visnovsky (concussion) returns after 46-game absence

Jan 27, 2014, 6:32 PM EDT

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Lubomir Visnovsky Getty Images

The New York Islanders’ efforts to claw their way back into the playoff race look a little bit more practical now that defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is ready to return from a concussion. He will play against the Boston Bruins tonight after spending 46 contests on the sidelines, according to Newsday.

Under better circumstances, Visnovsky is one of the league’s top offensive defensemen and a reliable minutes eater. For now though, the Islanders are expected to err on the side of caution by having him skate alongside Matt Carkner on the team’s third defensive pairing. That should change once he shakes off some of the rust.

Visnovsky was chosen to be a member of Team Slovakia and obviously he’s been able to return with a bit of time to spare before the Olympics. However, the Islanders previously said that they wouldn’t want the 37-year-old blueliner to play in the Winter Games even if he managed to return before the break.

The Islanders also got Evgeni Nabokov (quad strain) back, but he will serve as Kevin Poulin‘s understudy tonight.

Update: Visnovsky is paired up with Thomas Hickey rather than Carkner during the Islanders’ pregame warmups.

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