SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Yes, Calvin de Haan says, it was as innocent as it looked.
A battle in the defensive zone and a shove to a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player, late in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' third game of the 2012-13 season, left de Haan with a dislocated left shoulder and a season that ended before it began.
Surgically repaired again, de Haan, 22, is ready for his third professional season.
"I rehabbed for six months last year. I felt great," de Haan said. "Now, I've got to stay healthy. I've got to control what I can control."
Shoulder injuries cut short his second-to-last season of junior hockey, after the New York Islanders traded up to take him 12th overall in the 2009 draft, and limited him to 57 games in his rookie year, when he played on Bridgeport's top defense pair.
He was set to be one of the Sound Tigers' top defensemen again last year.
"He makes good decisions," Sound Tigers coach Scott Pellerin said.
"We want him to make decisions quicker, the good first pass. We want him to simplify his game, to be more efficient, more consistent, make those plays every shift."
When the Islanders split their training camp into two groups Tuesday, de Haan landed in Syosset while most of the NHL regulars remained in Uniondale, at Nassau Coliseum.
If that means he's headed to Bridgeport -- the Islanders haven't made anything official yet, swapped a couple of guys between the groups Wednesday, and have two preseason games in Ontario on Sunday after one at home on Friday -- he still takes some confidence from what the Islanders did last spring.
When the Sound Tigers' season ended and the Islanders called up several players from Bridgeport for their playoff series against Pittsburgh, de Haan was part of that practice squad.
"I didn't expect that after missing the full year," de Haan said. "It shows they still care."
The group practicing in Syosset includes Joe Finley, who played last year's lockout-shortened season with the Islanders after being claimed off waivers, and Radek Martinek (on a tryout), whose first NHL season was over a decade ago.
Otherwise, the most-experienced defensemen are third-year pros Aaron Ness and de Haan.
Feeling healthy, de Haan tried to train harder and focus his diet more this summer than ever before. He said it helped him add five pounds of muscle.
"He's got to continue to get those reps, that playing time," Pellerin said. "He's competing. He's playing the systems really well. For him, he just has to continue to get games in."
That's something de Haan will be glad to do.
"I'm glad to be playing hockey."
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