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Islanders News: Open Facilities and Small Workouts; Sorokin... sigh...; Panther preview

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Hockey news and notes for Islanders fans.

NHL: DEC 12 Islanders at Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play plan got a little more real yesterday with the release of some important information, including the date that teams can open their training facilities and start with the (small group) workouts.

According to a memo released last night by the league, “clubs will be permitted to reopen training facilities in their home city to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice),” beginning next Monday, June 8. These activities are to be small (max six players), voluntary and don’t count as training camp. They’re basically just for conditioning and getting back on skates again.

Earlier on Thursday, the league settled a few other matters related to the possible return later this summer. The qualifying rounds will be best-of-five series, while all the rest will be best-of-seven. Most importantly, teams will be re-seeded after the round robin games, with regular season points percentage being used as a tiebreaker.

So there’s really no telling who the Islanders would play in the first round, provided they make it past the Panthers, and provided these games happen at all.

The Islanders have a handy rundown of all the new info at their site, including how “home” teams will be chosen. No hub cities have been selected yet. Newsday’s Andrew Gross, all slicked back and fresh from covering horse races and arena construction at Belmont Park, also wrote about it.

There’s still no official start date yet for these games. Beyond just the safety concerns, the NHL and NHLPA still have a lot to sort out in order get playing again. Elliotte Friedman writes about a few of the issues in a truncated 31 Thoughts (or, in this case, just three thoughts) column, including a CBA extension with the escrow and cap considerations we all know and love.

In the Meantime...

  • How does a best-of-five Islanders-Panthers qualifying round series shape up? Travis Yost takes a look (and picks the Cats in a coin toss). [TSN.ca]
  • It appears that Ilya Sorokin is talking to CSKA about a new contract. But wait! This doesn’t mean that the Islanders are shit out of luck again (we hope). Just that the PA and the league haven’t agreed to let free agents burn contracts for this season and the goalie is looking out for his future.
  • This is from Wednesday but Staple’s latest No Sleep Til Belmont podcast covers a myriad of topics from listeners including training camp locations, scouting failures and goalies, goalies, goalies.
  • Josh Ho-Sang shares some very thoughtful words about current events, love and compassion via his Instagram account.
  • A Penguin, who is not currently in Pittsburgh, has tested positive for COVID-19. The unnamed player has recovered, per the team. [Pensburgh]
  • The Honda Center parking lot has been used for a few things during the pandemic, including weddings that are surely going to be unforgettable for Ducks fans. [ESPN]