The New York Islanders are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak on their team.

Actually, let me rephrase that a bit. The New York Islanders HAVE BEEN dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak on their team.

Up until this weekend, the NHL had done nothing about it, allowing the Islanders to play, and get stomped, with multiple players missing from their roster. It's become a mess, and no one is at fault but the league itself.

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The New York Islanders Were Battle-Tested Before This News

With the team's new home, the UBS Arena, nearing completion, the team was forced out onto the road, for a 13-game road trip to begin the 2021-22 season. From mid-October through the 16th of November, the Islanders played zero games on Long Island.

It wasn't until Saturday, November 20th, that New York made their debut on home ice.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Fans get ready for a game at the new UBS Arena / Getty Images
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During this stretch of games before the COVID-19 issues, the team also lost star defenseman, Ryan Pulock, and second-line wing, Brock Nelson, to injuries. Both were playing well to begin the year, but were doing little to help the Islanders achieve better than mediocrity.

Then, all hell broke loose.


The New York Islanders Have Had a Prolonged Battle with COVID-19

Slowly but surely, one positive COVID-19 test became two, two became four, and four became eight.

Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Kieffer Bellows and Ross Johnston, and defensemen Zdeno Chara, Adam Pelech and Andy Greene were joined by Casey Cizikas on the COVID-19 restricted list, and all of them watched as their team the first four games ever played at UBS Arena consecutively.

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers
Anders Lee is one of the players impacted by COVID-19 / Getty Images
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For those unfamiliar with hockey, let me illustrate briefly illustrate a line-up for you.

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Defenseman - Defenseman

Defenseman - Defenseman

Defenseman - Defenseman

Goalie

Goalie

Twelve forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders suit up for an NHL team any given night.

With the above COVID-19 positives, plus the injuries mentioned before, here are the positions the Islanders had to fill, bolded for your convenience...

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Left Wing - Center - Right Wing

Defenseman - Defenseman

Defenseman - Defenseman

Defenseman - Defenseman

Goalie

Goalie

Three of your top six forwards, and four of your defensemen. I was also generous in assuming that Johnston and Bellows wouldn't be included in their line-up every game.

Calgary Flames v New York Islanders
Brock Nelson was playing well, but was injured prior to the COVID-19 shutdown / Getty Images
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Either way, the NHL allowed the team to continue to play all of last week, and get embarrassed along the way. I am not an Islanders fan, but as a fan of the game, that is unacceptable.


The NHL Should Be Ashamed for Allowing Them to Continue to Play

Finally, in an attempt to show mercy, the NHL announced that it would postpone games for the Islanders Sunday and Tuesday (today), with the intention of getting the team back on the ice on Thursday.

Climate Pledge Arena Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Gary Bettman (right) is currently the commissioner of the NHL / Getty Images
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This was the correct move, but should have been done before Friday's game against Pittsburgh, if not Wednesday's game against the New York Rangers. Yes, it would've been disappointing to postpone games directly after opening the team's new arena.

But, if you saw the scores of those games, you'd know you didn't miss much.

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