The New York Islanders’ game on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings has been postponed, the team announced on Tuesday, for what is being described as “COVID-related issues.”
Detroit had as many as 11 skaters sidelined due to the virus last week as one of the major cases that prompted the NHL to begin its holiday break early and extend it through Monday. They haven’t played a game since Dec. 18.
While they are gradually returning to full strength, the Islanders have hit another COVID snag of their own. On Monday, four skaters — Oliver Wahlstrom, Cal Clutterbuck, Zach Parise, and Anthony Beauvillier — were placed in league protocols after testing positive for the virus.
Earlier on Tuesday — before announcing Wednesday’s postponement — the team revealed that second-line center and leading scorer Brock Nelson was also put on the COVID list. Fourth-line forward Matt Martin and defenseman Robin Salo are expected to be activated off that list on Wednesday.
The Islanders are in the midst of a second major outbreak amongst their ranks with five skaters shelved due to the virus. Last month, they had as many as eight skaters in protocols at the same time — forcing the team to trot out a minor-league lineup that helped fuel an 11-game losing streak.
Their next scheduled game is set for Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres at UBS Arena, though the upstate side recently placed head coach Don Granato along with skaters Dylan Cozens and Mark Jankowski on the COVID list Monday; bringing their total up to six.
Should they take the ice on Thursday, it will end an 11-day break for the Islanders, who last played on Dec. 19.
“I’ll leave that up to everybody upstairs and the league,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said on Tuesday of his team’s ability to take the ice. “That’s really not for me to decide. The only thing we can control is our attitude and our work ethic. Other than that, it’s going to be what it is. Ideally, I’d like for every team to have a full complement of players… but that’s not reality. That’s fantasy hockey right now.”