The New York Islanders are now up to three players in COVID protocol. Joining Josh Bailey on the COVID protocol are captain Anders Lee and Ross Johnston. Both were added on Friday.
These are not confirmed cases (I'll get to why that matters in a second), but it's still a worrying sign. It means the virus is seemingly spreading within the team. And just days before the big UBS opener. I know it would be best if the virus just skipped the Isles altogether but if it was inevitable it couldn't come at a worse time.
New York Islander add two players to COVID protocol
We're only a day away from the Islanders opening their new forever home; the UBS Arena. And it's quite possible that both Josh Bailey and Anders Lee won't be on the ice to mark the occassion.
Josh Bailey is the longest-tenured active Islanders with 931 games played for the franchise (only Bryan Trottier [1,123] and Denis Potvin [1,060] have more). Lee is 27th for games played in franchise history with 532 games played (Bailey, Martin, Nelson, Cizikas, Clutterbuck) have more. But he's also the captain of the team. He's the soul of the club and the possibility of not having him there for this massive occasion is a tough pill to swallow.
Bailey is a confirmed COVID case so his return to the ice is going to take longer. Lee, who isn't a confirmed case could be back.
As it stands now, Lee (and Johnston) is not COVID confirmed. Both are in the COVID protocol because they tested positive for something. They now need to confirm that it's COVID. Here's what needs to happen next:
It's possible, but slim, that Anders Lee (and Johnston) is negative for that second POC and third POC test by Saturday. Meaning he could be on the ice for the opener. We'll have to wait and see how this unrolls.
For now Lou Lamoriello has indicated that call ups from the AHL might have to happen.
My guess is Anatolii Golyshev (who I believe is waiver exempt) will be called up. Can see Otto Koivula or Thomas Hickey being the other one if they actually call one up. They could just roll 11F/7D. We'll have to wait and see.
And look, it might get orse before it gets better: