Islanders: NHL and NHLPA formally agree to begin 2021 season
New York Islanders hockey is back after the NHL and NHLPA formally agree to begin the 2021 season effective January 13.
It’s perhaps the best Christmas gift a New York Islanders fan could ask for; Islanders hockey is back. There were a few bumps along the road, but on Sunday the NHL and the NHLPA both formally agreed to begin the 2021 NHL on January 13.
Its been three long months since the Islanders were last on the ice in the Eastern Conference Finals. With a framework agreed to by both the NHL’s board of governors and the players union we can begin.
Prove Them Wrong, Again…Again
Along with a framework to restart the season, the divisions have been tentatively realigned with all seven Canadian teams huddling together on their own up north.
(That could change if provincial health authorities can’t agree on teams traveling to their provinces to play.)
As it stands the Islanders are in the Eastern Division alongside familiar divisional rivals the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Washington Capitals. New commers Boston and Buffalo round out the division to eight teams.
To some outside of Long Island that run to the Eastern Confernce Finals was yet another fluke of the Barry Trotz system. Analyst repetedly see the Islanders as a bubble team within their own division (only the top four teams in each division will advance to the playoffs).
But while the Isles still haven’t – and likely won’t – add a known 20-30 goal scorer they are still a formidable foe in the league. When healthy they have proven to be a capable offensive unit and elite defensive squad. Even considering last season’s tailoff in the second half, the Islanders still boast the seventh best record in the league since Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz have been running the show.
Meaning this year is still going to be about “proving them wrong”. A narrative the Islanders are becoming quite familiar with.
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Training camp will open on January 3 for the Islanders and the regular season will begin on Janaury 13. As it stands now, all game will be in every teams respective arena’s so the Isles will play their home games for the 2021 season at the Nassau Coliseum before moving to UBS Arena next year.
The schedule has not yet been released so who the Islanders play when, and how frequently is still unknown. What is known is that teams will play stricly within division for the 56 game regualr season. Meaning, the Islanders will likely play each team in the East (like the New York Rangers) eight times during the year. Get ready for some rivalry hockey.