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New York Islanders games postponed amid COVID-19 outbreak

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The New York Islanders’ next two upcoming games, and possibly more, have been postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19, the NHL announced Saturday. The league said that “the team’s games will be postponed at least through Tuesday, November 30.”

Eight players on the team are currently under the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

“You can say it’s unfortunate, but I don’t want to say frustrations can get in the way,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said Saturday, according to NHL.com. “Certainly everyone is human, but right now all we can do is take a step back and use these three days and get prepared for our next practice and our next game.”

Forward Casey Cizikas entered the league’s COVID protocol on Saturday, joining seven other players on the team, the NHL said. Three other non-players in the organization have also tested positive for the virus.

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On Friday, six Islanders players were in the league’s COVID protocol for the team’s 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Anders Lee, Kieffer Bellows, Ross Johnston, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara all had to sit out for the game, the NHL said. Although Josh Bailer was no longer in protocol by that point, he did not play in Friday’s game. 

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Barry Trotz, the team’s coach, said Friday that the cases range in severity.

“We’ve got a mixed bag in there,” Trotz said. “Some guys got hit with it hard, some guys really not a lot of symptoms but they can’t get the negative test. It’s all on an individual basis, really.”

The Islanders were originally slated to play the New York Rangers on Sunday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. No makeup dates have been set for these games yet. The team’s practice facility will also be closed through at least November 30, according to NHL.com.

“Hopefully in the next couple of days we’ll get a few more out, at least back skating,” Trotz said. “I don’t know if they’ll be prepared to skate or not because they’ve all had different degrees of it. We’ll see.”

The announcement of the postponed games comes a day after New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a disaster emergency order for COVID amid rising cases and hospitalizations in the state. According to the order, the transmission rate in the state is higher than it has been since April of last year.  

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