The NHL has lifted its COVID hold on their teams. All 32 NHL teams are allowed to return to practice facilities effectively today. For the New York Islanders, they're scheduled to return to practice today at 4:30 PM local time.
That start time is a bit later than usual and there's a good reason for that. The NHL wants to, try, and control the spread of the virus so players have to go through a PCR test before they can get into the team facility.
New York Islanders can return to training
Players can begin arriving at training facilities as early as 2 PM local time. From there, players get a test, sit in their car to wait to get the result, and then, if negative, they can enter the practice rink and actually start practicing.
So today, we'll find out if the virus is spreading within the Islanders team or if they can shake this virus for the second time. Remember, before the break, the Isles had three players on the COVID protocol list.
Mathew Barzal was placed in COVID protocol on December 14. Typically ten days out is all it takes for players to get back into the squad following a positive diagnosis. With that in mind, Barzal should be able to return to training today.
Robin Salo and Matt Martin both entered the NHL's COVID protocol on December 19. Again, using the ten-day rule it's possible that neither of them will be cleared to practice today. Unless they are symptom-free and have a negative test.
The Islanders will have a little bit of a longer break after Christmas. They were scheduled to take on Buffalo on the 27th but the NHL has postponed all games on the 27th, Meaning the Isles won't be in action until they take on the Red Wings at the UBS Arena on Wednesday.
That break would give Salo and Matt Martin (and perhaps anyone else) a few more days to recover and maybe get back into the squad.