There was panic right before the New York Islanders took to the ice against the Edmonton Oilers. There were only two coaches standing on the bench for the Isles, meaning a few of them were missing.
The Islanders tweeted out just as the puck dropped, that Barry Trotz was not behind the bench due to personal reasons. They made sure to let us all know that it was not COVID-related. Of course, we all wish Trotz the best with whatever he's dealing with.
New York Islanders coaching staff is shot staffed
You can understand the panic from fans with Trotz gone. Since he arrived on the Island, he's been able to lead this team to some previously unthinkable heights with playoff appearances every year of his tenure and most recently back-to-back conference finals. Not having him on the bench is a big loss.
As you saw with that tweet from the Isles, Barry Trotz, wasn't the only member of the coaching staff that was missing today. Assistant Coach John Gruden and Goalie Coach Piero Greco were both out due to COVID.
Which meant that the Isles bench was quite short. Associate Coach Lane Lambert was running the show while Assistant Coach Jim Hiller was out there helping him run the rest of the game.
Now, all three coaches could very well be back for the Islanders next game. With the Isles four-game Western Canada + Seattle road trip postponed, the blue and orange aren't scheduled to be back in action until January 13th when the New Jersey Devils return to UBS Arena.
That's an eleven-day break. For Gruden and Greco, they'll likely be able to leave their isolation as early as five days from now after the NHL's implementation of the CDC's new recommendations. Barry Trotz, depending on the exact nature of his personal matter, is likely to be back as well for the New Jersey game.