The New York and Bridgeport Islanders are set to face the rival New York Rangers for their first-ever meeting at UBS Arena at Belmont Park...for some reason. We all know how difficult it is to reschedule games between the NHL’s two geographically closest teams.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
Dealing with days and days of players out because of COVID protocol, the Isles pushed their pre-game media availability back to 5 p.m. so they could sort out who is available this time. There were no new positive tests to report at that time, but Lou Lamoriello said they were still awaiting results of pre-game tests.
Meanwhile, at least one report has the Islanders requesting that this and other games be postponed, though that wasn’t addressed nor confirmed by Lou Lamoriello.
Per sources, the Islanders have requested their upcoming games, including tonight vs the NYR, be postponed so they can get through this. Have heard there's also been some concern from upcoming opponents. Still, as of earlier today, the NHL's told them it's game on. https://t.co/NswOIkGKmO— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) November 24, 2021
Of note, Otto Koivula was appearing on the active roster, a sign he may be available after the loss (to injury, not COVID) of center Brock Nelson.
Update: Indeed, Koivula is there, along with Anatoli Golyshev and Thomas Hickey, all in strange numbers:
Thomas Hickey is wearing No. 42 for #Isles .— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) November 25, 2021
Anatolii Golyshev is No. 38
Otto Koivula is No. 36
To recap the lineup carnage, we have:
- COVID Protocol: Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Adam Pelech, Ross Johnston, Andy Greene, Kieffer Bellows, Zdeno Chara
- IR: Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson
- Late update: Noah Dobson is also out, ruled “day to day”
#Isles in warmups:— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) November 25, 2021
Noah Dobson (lower body) is day to day.
Adding to the complications, the Islanders moved Pulock to LTIR to make sure they are in compliance for all their Bridgeport callups. That and other responses from Lou Lamoriello in the 5 p.m. availability:
Lou Lamoriello’s Pregame Availability. pic.twitter.com/ymxxIQgI1w— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) November 24, 2021
The Rangers (11-4-3) are generally flying, 13 points ahead of the Isles (5-8-2) albeit with three more games played. They’ll start Igor Shesterkin in net.
As many have pointed out, the Isles used to field some pretty AHL rosters during the Scott Gordon and early Capuano era yet still came away with a win here or there. Maybe this group does the same.
But we know it’s a tall order. In addition to the depth hits, you just have half the lineup in completely different roles, and nearly the entire lineup dealing with new combinations. (The Identity Line never changes.)
Good luck out there.