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New York Islanders

Islanders Status Report: No Bailey, Varlamov in Canada & Lineup Answers

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New York Islanders, Josh Bailey

Before the New York Islanders contest with the Boston Bruins on Thursday, announcements were made regarding two players’ status and Barry Trotz’s answers regarding certain lineup decisions.

Let’s dive in.

Bailey Out, Varlamov Still in Canada

The New York Islanders announced that forward Josh Bailey is day-to-day and will miss Thursday’s contest against the Boston Bruins.

In Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Bailey played 18:01 minutes with three shots and a giveaway. He was not hit in the contest and did not record any blocks, so there is no detail to report on the extent of his injury. With the injury being considered day-to-day, it is likely that he’s just a bit banged up.

The Islanders play Thursday night in Boston and not again until Sunday at 2 PM, so if it is a minor injury, I can’t see him missing more than these two games.

Kieffer Bellows was not an extra at Thursday’s morning skate, so he will likely be in the lineup. Although there were no line rushes at morning skate, he will likely be on the second line, with Kyle Palmieri being bumped up to the top line.

But with Barry Trotz, nothing is a given.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was removed from the game against the Calgary Flames before puck drop on Saturday, Feb. 12, due to a positive COVID-19 test. Varlamov has been quarantining in Canada, with the rules in the province of Alberta that an asymptomatic person must stay isolated for five days.

The Islanders also announced that goaltender Semyon Varlamov (COVID-19) would be back on Long Island this weekend.

After a positive test result caused him to miss his scheduled start against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, Feb. 12, he remained in Canada for isolation. The rules in the province of Calgary are five days if asymptomatic, with the first day being “Day Zero.”

Pelech & Pulock Getting Back Together?

Since Ryan Pulock returned to the New York Islanders offense on Feb. 1, he has played on the third defensive pairing.

Head coach Barry Trotz said that Pulock would need to time to get re-acclimated and eventually would see his minutes trend upwards.

When asked about a reunion with Adam Pelech, Trotz made it seem like it could happen sooner than later.

“You have to understand it’s been a long time. And it is not as easy as for a player to play those big minutes against those top people and feel really comfortable doing it,” Trotz said. “So we tried to let Pully (Pulock) catch up.”

“The plan is to put Pelly (Pelech) and Pully back together. What you’ll probably see are snippets of that the next little while and then maybe some full-time stuff on the road trip here.

Scott Mayfield has been playing alongside Adam Pelech and over the last two games, Pulock has played with Sebastian Aho but had been paired with Andy Greene (scratched) previously.

More Regular Role on the Horizon For Bellows?

New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows has been passed over for playing time often. Ross Johnston had started the last few games before he took a seat for Kyle Palmieri on Tuesday.

But with Bailey out, Bellows gets a chance and Trotz was asked what has stopped Bellows from becoming an NHL regular.

“I think he’s been a better left winger than a right winger,” Trotz said. The fourth line has had either Ross or Marty on it for the most part. Zach has been a guy that I think has been pretty stable there. And then you know with Beau we’ve kept him on the left wing, for the most part, he’s starting to play some more right wing now…”

So a lack of left wing hole has been the biggest issue holding Bellows’ back from more consistent minutes.

But Bellows’s confidence should be boosted based on how Trotz finished his answer.

“He’s probably ready to transition over to a little more full-time basis as much as possible. I think he’s capable of it.” Trotz said. And in my mind, just as like everybody, it’s just a little bit of consistency.”

Kieffer Bellows had been a healthy scratch since Jan. 25 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Future Maybe, But Wahlstrom On Top Line a No Go Right Now

If you were hoping that Oliver Wahlstrom would get a chance alongside Mathew Barzal in Josh Bailey’s absence think again.

“I think everybody looks at Wally, you know he’s a shooter, Barzy is a little bit of a difficult guy to read off of where you’ve got to read offensively and defensively,” Trotz said.

“And I think what we found with Wally and is that when you when you allow him to, to have certain things on his plate where you say, ‘You’re going to have to be on back up Barzy because Barzy is going to go a little bit more here and there’ then all of a sudden he gets away from those scoring areas and what he does.”

Could Wahlstrom get a change with Barzal by season’s end?

“You’ll see snippets of it and you know who knows maybe down the road he is full time.”