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NHL Source: ‘Unless COVID Makes It Impossible’ There Will Be A Season | NYHN+

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman

As NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly fight a multi-front battle with NHL owners, the players, and COVID, a sudden wave of optimism for the 2020-21 NHL season to be played permeated around the league as the first weekend in December arrived.

The relationship between the NHL and NHLPA is souring once again, multiple NHL owners would prefer not to play a truncated 2020-21 NHL season, but as of Friday morning, there was a strong enough push from within the PA and more importantly from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly to soldier through and make sure we have NHL hockey back at some point next month.

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New York Islanders

BROADWAY BLUES! New York Islanders Fall Flat in Loss to Rival New York Rangers

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New York Islanders lose to New York Rangers

The lights went down on broadway for the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

The Islanders were down 2-0 before the end of the first and the New York Rangers added two more in the second in what would become a 5-0 loss at Madison Square Garden. Rookie Ilya Sorokin was thrust into the game at the last minute after Semyon Varlamov was injured during warmups.

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The young netminder saw 32 shots, while the Islanders only mustered 23 through the 60-minute affair. Sorokin made 27 saves in the loss.

“I think that’s just a really bad outing,” Anders Lee said about the effort on Saturday night. “It’s not representative of how we want to play. Turned a few too many pucks over. Took too many penalties and they played a much better game than we did.”

Alexander Georgiev recorded his fifth career shutout on Saturday.

The Islanders never seemed to be able to establish their game as they had done on Thursday night against the same team.

“There were some tough bounces early and we didn’t find a way to respond, and fight our way out of it,” Josh Bailey said. “I think we were staying positive and knew that we just needed to get things going in the right direction. it just never really came together for us tonight. It’s tough you’re going to have those bounces go against you sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you have to lose the game.

“Try to respond on Monday with a much better effort.”

Semyon Varlamov Injured During Warmups; Ilya Sorokin Makes NHL Debut

Mika Zibanejad forced a turnover and was able to set up Pavel Buchnevich for the Rangers first goal of the night 2:12 into the game. The Islanders turnover occurred when Noah Dobson tried to play the puck near the bench in neutral ice.

The Rangers made it 2-0 when Brendan Smith blocked an Islanders shot and was able to spring Artemi Panarin for a breakaway goal at 13:46 of the first period. They added to their lead in the second period after Buchnevich scored his second of the game 5:57 into the middle frame.

Kaapo Kakko made it a 4-0 game with a one-timer from the side of the net that beat Sorokin. Panarin found the back of the net for the second time on Saturday with a power-play goal late in the third period.

“One of the worst managed games by our group in terms of our whole game,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said.

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New York Islanders

5 Questions Facing the New York Islanders Heading into 2020-21 | NYHN+

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New York Islanders

Call it a Christmas miracle or call it common sense prevailing. Whatever it was, the New York Islanders and the rest of the NHL are a mere 24 days from the start of the 2020-21 season and just 14 days away from the start of training camp.

Things are going to move pretty fast from here on out and there are plenty of questions that will be facing the Islanders as they open camp and the regular season. The most glaring one at the moment is the contract status of star forward Mathew Barzal.

Here are five questions facing the Islanders as they return to play for the 2020-21 season.

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New York Islanders

HOCKEY IS BACK! NHL, NHLPA Announce Agreement to Play 2020-21 Season

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NHL Arena

Hockey is officially back.

The NHL and NHLPA announced that they had come to an agreement on Sunday to play a 56-game regular season that will begin on Jan. 13 and end on May 8. The announcement caps a push over the past few weeks by the league and players to come to an agreement and play a 2020-21 season.

Under the agreed-upon plan, teams will play exclusively against opponents in their own division with the playoffs concluding around mid-July. The New York Islanders, along with the rest of the league, will open training camp on Jan 3. and there will be no preseason games.

“The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.”

The NHL is planning to host games in teams’ home arenas, but they said they are prepared to “play games in one or more “neutral site” venues per division should it become necessary.” There is also an understanding that most markets will begin the season without fans in the stands, the league said in a press release.

To mitigate travel for teams, the NHL will realign divisions this season, which will include an all-Canadian division. While not the most creative names, the Islanders will play in the East Division with the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadephia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins.

“The Players are pleased to have finalized agreements for the upcoming season, which will be unique but also very exciting for the fans and Players alike,” NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr said in a statement. “During these troubled times, we hope that NHL games will provide fans with some much-needed entertainment as the players return to the ice.”

Health and Safety Protocols, transition rules and critical dates will be announced in the coming days, the NHL said.

However, TSN’s NHL insiders reported that the trade deadline would be April 8 and the Seattle Kraken expansion draft would take place July 21. They also reported that the NHL Draft would take place July 23-24 and free agency would begin on July 28.

Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman also reported that teams would be allowed to bring 36 players to training camp and an unlimited number of goaltenders.

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