NEW YORK — The wait is almost over for Paul Stastny.
The Golden Knights center was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice at Barclays Center, and there’s a strong possibility he could be activated for Wednesday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“He’s close, real close,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We’ll see how he gets along (Tuesday) and we’ll make a decision (Wednesday), see where it goes. … There’s a possibility he’s going to play on this trip. We’ll see when he’s ready, when he feels good. But we want to make sure.”
Stastny suffered a lower-body injury late in a loss at Buffalo on Oct. 8 when Sabres forward Jack Eichel dived to try to block a shot and crashed into Stastny’s right leg.
Stastny said he felt a “pop” and was ruled out for at least two months.
“It was almost like a chop block in football,” Stastny said. “I think the minute I got off the ice and took a couple steps, I knew. I’ve had something like this in the past, and I knew kind of the extent of where the injury was. I was just almost more worried it could be an ACL or something and be done for the season. I was fortunate it wasn’t that.”
Stastny said he’s been skating for the past two weeks and wore a non-contact jersey during the Knights’ practice Friday.
He joked that it was difficult to remember the drills after being away for so long.
“Mentally, more than anything, that’s the hardest part about being injured,” Stastny said. “Especially early on, you get over a couple hurdles and you get excited and you realize you’re still kind of in the middle of everything. When you know you’re closer, it’s a lot easier, obviously.”
Stastny, who remains on the injured reserve list, appeared in three games without a point prior to being injured.
He joined Ryan Carpenter, Oscar Lindberg and Tomas Nosek on the third line during practice.
“It doesn’t matter who I play with,” Stastny said. “I always kind of play the same way, where I play that 200-foot game, want to help support guys, try to keep it simple, especially the first couple shifts, the first couple games, and not try to overdo anything.”
The Knights play three games this week in the Tri-State Area, which makes for an easier-than-usual road trip.
The team is staying in Manhattan for the entire week rather than changing hotels, a decision that drew rave reviews from players.
“It’s going to be nice, just to go to our room for a full week,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “No planes, no time difference or flying around, so I think it’ll be good.”
Call to the Hall
Former NHL player and University of Michigan coach Red Berenson will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee.
Knights forward Max Pacioretty played one season for the Wolverines before turning pro and said Berenson had a major influence on his career.
“Definitely well deserved,” Pacioretty said. “Probably one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for and one of the most honest people I’ve met in my life, and I think that really helped me a lot.”