The San Jose Sharks are two games into a long Eastern road trip, so they must feel awful lucky to be the first team to face the New York Islanders as they return to action...with several players coming out of COVID protocol.
I’m sure the Sharks trust the NHL and it will be fine, it always is. Two nights ago the Sharks used a big second period to win in Jersey, 5-2. Prior to that, they shut out the Blackhawks in Chicago, 2-0. They’ll be in Manhattan tomorrow. They will not — and hope to never again — have Evander Kane, who has come off suspension and been assigned to their AHL team.
For the Islanders, this is a chance to regroup and restart after a terrible start that was worsened by injuries and COVID issues. They have a tall order in front of them, and there’s no telling what kind of game shape a bunch of these guys will be in tonight, though they’ve assured Barr Trotz that they got to do stuff (ride the Peleton? Play Call of Duty?) to stay in shape while they were in quarantine.
At least the team got to practice Wednesday, but Trotz said it will be a feeling out process to see who can handle what load tonight. Lots more from him on the fix they find themselves in:
Barry Trotz Practice Availability pic.twitter.com/6wIsBSvXSN— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 1, 2021
For your records, as of yesterday Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Ross Johnston were out of protocol, with Trotz expecting four of those five to play (can you guess which four?). That leaves Casey Cizikas, Zdeno Chara and Kieffer Bellows still out for protocol, and of course Ryan Pulock remains out with a lower body injury.
Gametime is 7:30 p.m. EST at Belmont, MSG+ coverage. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.
- Relief!(?): The Isles have been cleared to resume their schedule. [Isles | Newsday | AM NY]
- Among Trotz’s comments, contextualized here: With the hole they’ve dug, the Islanders’ “playoffs start now.” [Post]
- Lots of podcasts in yesterday’s bits. Here’s one more, as Andrew Gross says don’t jump ship just yet. [Island Ice @ Newsday]
- Due to COVID affecting various opponents, several Bridgeport games have been rescheduled. [BP Islanders]
- The Avalanche were in Toronto, where they were absolutely torched by the Leafs, but did not turn to their University of Toronto EBUG, who had an interesting day. [Athletic]
- Tyler Bertuzzi will miss at least five games in COVID protocol but could be eligible to return when the Red Wings face the Isles. [NHL]
- Evander Kane has reported to the minors, ready to try to earn a chance with some other team. [THN] Meanwhile, he continues to face court battles with his ex, who has violated court orders according to his attorney. [Kane’s agent tweet]
- Tom Fitzgerald discusses why it was important to lock Jack Hughes in for a max eight years. [Athletic]
- Always fun: It’s possible Hughes’ contract portends cap nightmares for the Rangers, Larry Brooks says. [Post]
- Before losing last night, Sidney Crosby shared awe at how Connor McDavid has reached another level. [NHL]
- Nazem Kadri says upon reflection, his trade from the Leafs to the Avalanche was a blessing in disguise (and also he’s going to try really hard not to do suspension-worthy things in the playoffs). [Sportsnet]
- Here are a collection of tweets about Jake DeBrusk requesting a trade, which Sportsnet uses to do a “hey will the trade market heat up?” hope story. [Sportsnet]
- That has journeyman goalie Mike McKenna reflecting the various reasons that can go into a trade request — including, in his near-case, wanting to stay put. [Daily Faceoff]
- Stan Fischler remembers more about the NHL than 25 NHL Guide & Record Books could tell you, and he also remembers the first-ever issue of The Hockey News. I know my house was a subscriber for a good 20 years or so. [THN]
- ...which is why Fischler has agreed to write for THN, kind of sharing old tales like he does on the Isles site. This one is about a trade of old ironside Max Bentley. [THN]