When the New York Islanders announce their opening lineup for the first-ever game at UBS Arena tonight, all the pomp and circumstance will have a weird, pandemic-softened feel: The three previously announced players in COVID-19 protocol are not alone. In addition to captain Anders Lee, longest-serving Islander Josh Bailey, and Ross Johnston, today we learned Adam Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier and Andy Greene are also on the list.
Combining those with the injury to Ryan Pulock, and the Isles limp in after a grueling 13-game road stretch with six regulars out. The Isles are also scheduled to play again tomorrow against the Maple Leafs...what if more players test positive between now and then?
For tonight, NHL vet Richard Panik has been added to the roster — a fairly expected move given the above, but now there are more to fill in on the blueline. Andy Andreoff was reportedly recalled, too.
Richard Panik and Ds Grant Hutton and Paul LaDue have been added to #Isles roster.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 20, 2021
Grant Hutton would be making his NHL debut, while Paul LaDue would make his Islanders debut after logging 69 prior NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings.
We already knew it will be Robin Salo’s NHL debut, as he was recalled after Ryan Pulock was placed on IR with what’s speculated to be a foot/ankle fracture.
With all these sudden newcomers, it’s going to take a crazy gutsy and coordinated effort to have a chance against the Flames. So we’ll try to focus on the import of the moment, which will last far, far longer than the temporary Covid and injury scourge that is shattering this weekend’s lineup:
The doors are open at the UBS, it is very emotional and loud. The fans are ready pic.twitter.com/H6y711jDoM— Butch Goring (@91Butch) November 20, 2021
Walked with #Isles owner Jon Ledecky as he made his way onto the UBS Arena premises just now, fans were screaming “Thank You, Jon!” at him.— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) November 20, 2021
Official gametime is 7 p.m. EST, but pre-game will begin well before that and likely extend past that. MSG pre-game coverage begins at 6 p.m.
Wherever you may be, enjoy! (And if you’re at the building, take lots of pictures and let us know how it went.)