It's been a while since the New York Islanders had to deal with the NHL's COVID protocol list. For a stretch early in the season, the Islanders were totally decimated because of COVID. At one point there were eight players on the COVID protocol at the same time.
As COVID ripped through the Islanders roster the team dropped eleven straight games. A stretch of games that the Islanders just couldn't recover from.
Well, it's been a while since the Islanders had to deal with the virus but it's back.
New York Islanders say hello to the NHL's COVID protocol again
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, associate coach Lane Lambert, as well as assistant coach Jim Hiller are all on the COVID protocol list. That essentially means that COVID has hit just about everyone on the Islanders roster throughout the season.
NY Posts Ethan Sears tried to get an accurate count of every Islander player and coaching staff member to contract the virus and by his count, it was 20 players and five coaches.
I don't know about you but I thought COVID was a thing of the past for this team. I know that was naive. The pandemic is not over yet. That's on me.
So now as the Islanders take on the Rangers and with one of their centers out, the Islanders called up Otto Koivula to play down the middle. Surrounding him were Bellows and Wahlstrom funnily enough.
How much ice time that line gets remains to be seen. Wahlstrom has been out of the lineup as a healthy scratch the last two games, Bellows has been in the team for a few games now but has seen his minutes managed, and well Otto Koivula has been at the AHL all year.
This might be a silver lining for these young players looking to show they deserve a longer look. If they can take this opportunity and show Barry Trotz they can play some solid defensive hockey, they can manage the puck responsibly, and add some offense, they'll do just that.
For now, Pageau and two coaches are out. Hopefully that list doesn't grow. Again.