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Pulock signs new deal to stay with Islanders

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Ryan Pulock will be staying with the New York Islanders after signing a new two-year contract, last month.
Pulock was pleased to get the deal done early in the offseason. The two sides were under the gun, so to speak, with an arbitration hearing scheduled had they not come to terms.
“That would have got it done for me. But I’m pretty glad that it didn’t have to get that far. I’m pretty excited to be back there for two more years,” he said, adding this was his first year of arbitration eligibility.
“It was a little different process, a little different form the last time I signed a deal. It’s there for a reason, but it’s something I don’t think a lot of teams or players really want to get that far. So I’m just glad to get it done before.”
While more years would be beneficial, given the times the world is in right now, and where the team is at, Pulock felt this is the best situation for right now.
“And I’ll deal with it again in two years,” he said.
For the Islanders, the 2020 playoffs took place in the bubble in Toronto.
For Pulock, it was a pretty good experience, but one he hopes he never has to do again.
“It was something I’ll probably remember forever. Just hanging out with your teammates every day and just playing hockey. It was like you’re a young kid again, hanging out on your hotel floor after that game, playing ping pong, just being close to the team and then going and playing,” he said.
New York’s run at the Stanley Cup ended in the conference finals, where they lost in six games to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
The playoffs, Pulock said, were pretty special as was the team’s run to the final four.
“It kinds of get that fire in you to get back there,” he said.
“When you get there, you realize how close you are. For us, we were that close to moving on and then having a chance at the Stanley Cup. It shows you what it takes to get there and how every little detail matters. It really kind of burns that fire in you to get back there once you get that taste of it.”
The lack of fans in the arena changed the atmosphere, Pulock said, and being stuck in the bubble and not being able to see anyone other than teammates was tough at times.
“But I think it was what it was. The NHL did a great job of making it as good as it could have been and getting those playoffs in,” he said.
Playing in the bubble also helped with team bonding. Pulock said the Islanders were a close team before the season was shut down in the spring.
“But I think spending a couple of months together like that, I think we became even tighter. And I think that’s only going to help us moving forward, as well,” he said.
Just when the NHL returns is up in the air at this point, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it tough to prepare.
“When we do get the word that it’s going to get going, I think it’ll be pretty exciting. Our team is set up to be successful again. That’s the situation you want to be in and I look forward to it,” Pulock said.
Training for the upcoming season is tough. Pulock has not been able to skate or go to the gym.
“I try to get my work in at home with some of the stuff I have in my basement and try to stay in shape that way. But it’s definitely been a challenge, for sure,” he said, adding the only options he has for skating is on the lake.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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