The New York Islanders’ games at Nassau Coliseum against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and Thursday have been postponed due to COVID protocols, the Islanders confirmed.
Due to inclement weather, the Sabres pushed back their flight to Long Island from Monday night to Tuesday morning, which did not provide the necessary time for contact tracing and testing protocols to be completed appropriately. The game — which was supposed to be the first of a two-game series this week between the two teams — will be re-scheduled for a later date.
On Tuesday evening, the league announced that all Sabres games have been postponed through Feb. 8.
There had been concerns about the Sabres’ ability to take the ice not only on Tuesday but this week before the NHL’s confirmation. They recently completed a two-game series up in Buffalo against the New Jersey Devils, who are dealing with a COVID outbreak of their own. In total, 14 of their players have are on the COVID protocols list and their next three games have been postponed. Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen of the Sabres are now on the COVID list as well.
Jon Vogl of The Athletic reported that the Sabres were “furious” with the NHL after not relaying the necessary information on Devils forwards Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. The latter played on Saturday against the Sabres before he was added to the COVID list.
The Islanders held an optional team skate on Tuesday as they return home following a five-game road trip that featured losses in each tilt. Some extra time now at least provides an extended opportunity to regroup.
“At some point, you’ll pay a price for it because you’ll have to add these games in,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “When we get back we better be ready to go.”
They also get some more time to get second-line winger Anthony Beauvillier back as he recovers from a lower-body injury that held him out the last four games. Trotz revealed that the 23-year-old was skating with the team on Tuesday, but he’s not quite ready to get back.
It remains to be seen if the Islanders and Sabres will be able to play the originally-scheduled second leg of the two-game slate on Thursday.
“We haven’t been told anything,” Trotz said. “To me, we’re going to see where the NHL tells us where we’re going to be.”