Senators coach D.J. Smith told Barry Trotz what he could expect as the Islanders emerged from their COVID-19 outbreak.
"D.J. was fantastic," Trotz said before the Islanders’ 5-3 win on Tuesday night at Ottawa. "I called him during our shutdown. As coaches, you want to know as much about the situations that the athletes are in. He was really good at reaching out and expressing some of that and I’m seeing some of that."
The Islanders had two games postponed from Nov. 28-30 after eight players tested positive. The Senators had three games postponed from Nov. 16-20 with 10 players and associate coach Jack Capuano, the former Islanders coach, testing positive. They are the only two NHL teams thus far this season to have games postponed because of their COVID-19 outbreak.
Trotz said he’s still seeing some post-COVID-19 sluggishness in some of his affected players.
"They just don’t have that extra pop," Trotz said. "Or their focus is a little foggy on the sharpness of decision making. Their hands are a little slow, because that’s part of the decision-making process."
The NHL rescheduled the Islanders’ postponed game against the Rangers for March 17 at Madison Square Garden. It was originally set for Nov. 28.
Captain Anders Lee notched his 28th career two-goal game. He has yet to record a hat trick… Austin Czarnik had his second career two-assist game, his first coming March 19, 2019, with the Flames…Defenseman Noah Dobson nearly was credited for the first fight of his NHL career. He dropped the gloves with Senators rookie Tim Stutzle at 18:36 of the second period, after Stutzle’s hard check on Anthony Beauvillier. But the initial fighting major was changed to a double-minor for roughing… Brock Nelson (injured reserve/lower body), expected to miss two-to-four weeks after being hurt on Nov. 21, has resumed skating on his own.