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
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
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.