The New York Islanders know what it means to play away from residence for a very long time. They spent practically two months in Canada for the 2020 playoff bubble — reaching the Japanese Convention finals — after the pandemic disrupted the season.
They now face the a record-setting stretch and not using a residence recreation: The Islanders will start the season with 13 straight highway video games whereas building of their sparkling new UBS Arena is accomplished. It’s the second-longest highway journey in NHL historical past — Vancouver had 14 in a row in the course of the 2009-10 season, however that included the NHL’s Olympic break — and the longest to open a season.
New York will not play at residence till Nov. 20, greater than 5 weeks into the season.
“It’ll be a problem for certain,” heart Brock Nelson stated. “Most likely the longest journey most of us have had exterior of the bubble, which was distinctive in itself, so perhaps we’ll lean on that private expertise of what we’ve achieved up to now. We’ve a tight-knit group, guys you may get collectively on days off, do some enjoyable issues, hang around, construct some chemistry, take it one recreation, someday at a time and attempt to energy by way of this and give you a Positive file on the opposite facet.”
Enjoying a number of extra video games at Nassau Coliseum wasn’t an choice, so the NHL drew up a schedule that places 13 highway video games on the Islanders’ slate over 33 days. There are journeys to Canada, to Arizona and two to Florida because the Isles’ crisscross the nation.
Coach Barry Trotz stated he isn’t nervous about how his gamers will deal with the opening highway swing, having fostered a one-game-at-a-time strategy throughout his three seasons with the staff. Fatigue will likely be watched carefully.
“We’ve a number of belief in our group and we perceive the scenario,” Trotz stated. “This group has been actually nice at that. They’re not complainers, they perceive it. Life’s not all the time simple, and you realize happening the highway is definitely I feel it’d be an excellent factor for us we’ve been at residence for fairly some time (for coaching camp). And I feel an early highway journey is all the time good and this will likely be good for this group.”
The Islanders have a powerful residence file beneath Trotz — combining to go 65-26-13 — they usually have additionally had some success on the highway at 50-41-11. The Islanders will even play seven right away from residence in April, with the 2 stretches combining for 20 of the season’s 41 highway video games. Meaning New York will likely be residence for 2 of each three video games for many of the season.
“I feel the league, whoever does the schedule, most likely took that into consideration and gave us a few breaks to be good,” Nelson stated. “I’m certain I’ll attempt to make the most of these days at residence with household, relaxation and simply attempt to recuperate a bit and prepare for the subsequent recreation.”
The Islanders open the season at Carolina on Thursday evening, and after reaching the semifinals the final two seasons, they know there are lofty expectations for the staff this yr.
“The aim stays the identical,” ahead Anthony Beauvillier stated. “We wish to get to the Stanley Cup, we wish to get to the playoffs. These are the instances the place you make reminiscences, these are the instances you bear in mind so we positively wish to return to the place we had been final yr. It is thrilling, simply the season for us and our followers, new constructing. … Everyone seems to be wanting ahead to it and we will not wait to get it going.”
Not less than the Isles’ know they are going to have a raucous welcome subsequent month after they return residence to the world subsequent to Belmont Park, only a half-hour drive down the Jericho Turnpike from Nassau Coliseum: Season tickets for Year One at UBS Arena are sold out.