The New York Islanders announced that they lost three more members to COVID protocols, Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, and Andy Greene, just hours before their home opener at UBS Arena on Saturday evening.
They join veteran winger and Beauvillier’s linemate, Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston, and team captain Anders Lee as members who have entered the league’s COVID protocol while they also recently lost top-pairing defenseman Ryan Pulock — often Pelech’s partner — to a lower-body injury for four-to-six weeks.
In corresponding moves, the Islanders recalled defensemen Paul LaDue and Grant Hutton along with forward Andy Andreoff from their minor-league affiliate in Bridgeport to fill the suddenly-vacant roster spots as a majorly shorthanded roster takes on one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames, on Saturday night.
Not nearly the kind of issues the team wanted as they finally open the doors to UBS Arena.
“The morale has been exceptional,” Islanders president Lou Lamoriello said on Saturday. “This group is an exceptional group, adversity hits all of us. Most times, it makes us stronger. Their focus right now is on this game.
“With young players coming in, there’s some enthusiasm coming in… I’m sure they’re excited to play. They played well in Bridgeport and we’re excited to see them on this platform.”
The Islanders were also forced to call up their top defensive prospect, Robin Salo, from Bridgeport after Pulock was placed on injured reserve, leaving Noah Dobson, Scott Mayfield, and Zdeno Chara as the only opening-night blue liners still available for the team.