CHICAGO — Barry Trotz took an analytical look at Friday’s NHL schedule as the league came out of its three-day holiday break and believes things could have been done better than having the Islanders face the Blackhawks of the Western Conference.
Per collective-bargaining agreement holiday break guidelines, teams could not travel to Friday night’s games until Friday morning. Along with the Islanders, the St. Louis Blues, who played in Winnipeg, and the Minnesota Wild, who played in Colorado, had the longest flights of the 11 road teams.
“New York is home, New Jersey is at home,” the Islanders’ coach said. “You could actually put us playing in New York or Washington, not even moving the home teams, and it could’ve been a lot easier for not only us but the other teams around the NHL.”
The Islanders players, many of whom left the New York area for the holiday break, did have the option of traveling to Chicago separately. Some arrived on Thursday and the Islanders did have a full morning skate at United Center.
Left wing Andrew Ladd was sent back to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport after logging 9:53 with one shot and a game-high five hits in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. It was Ladd’s first NHL game since March 24, when he suffered his second major knee injury of last season.
“The one thing that Andrew does is he brought it the last game in terms of intensity,” Trotz said. “He brings that veteran savvy. I thought it was a tough game to gauge.”
Trotz started Anthony Beauvillier on a line centered by Derick Brassard for the first time since the fourth game of the season. Beauvillier had been on Brock Nelson’s left wing since the fifth game . . . Leo Komarov and rookie defenseman Noah Dobson were the healthy scratches.