Berard, key member of Isles' power play unit, out 2-4 weeks
NEW YORK -- Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard will be sidelined two to four weeks because of a groin injury that forced him out of New York's victory against New Jersey last weekend.
Berard, who earned a roster spot three games into the season after coming to the Islanders' training camp on a tryout basis, has made an immediate impact. He posted two goals, both winners, and two assists in five games while quarterbacking the Islanders' power play that ranks first in the NHL.
Berard was injured early in the Islanders' 4-3 overtime victory against the Devils on Saturday night and was limited to nine shifts, covering just over eight minutes of ice time.
"Bryan has been a big part of our success this season, especially on the power play," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said Tuesday in a statement. "I'm confident Bryan will do everything in his power to get healthy and back in the lineup soon. The good news is our blue line has a lot of depth, so this is an opportunity for other players to step up."
The Islanders have been dressing seven defensemen, and Berard's injury should clear space for hard-shooter Marc-Andre Bergeron to get back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past three games.
New York is in the midst of a week off and will return to the ice Saturday against Carolina. Berard might not miss too many games as the Islanders play just five times, all at home, in a three-week span.
Coming back from injury is nothing new for Berard, who is in his second stint with the Islanders -- the team with which he won the NHL's rookie of the year award in 1997.
Berard was limited to 11 games last season with Columbus following back surgery, and a severe eye injury in 2000 forced him to miss a full season. He earned a one-year deal with the Islanders after defenseman Freddy Meyer was claimed off waivers by Phoenix.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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