And so, following two days where their heads were somewhere else, the Islanders have a game to play on Saturday. A relatively important one, too, this Game 3 of this second-round series against the Flyers that is knotted at a game apiece.
“The games are going to be just as intense,” Scott Mayfield said via a Zoom call that followed the team’s practice. “We’re professional athletes, we go out there to win.”
The schedule has changed. Instead of a pair of potential back-to-backs (Games 2 and 3, and then an if-necessary Games 6 and 7), there is only one set — Saturday’s Game 3, followed by Sunday’s Game 4.
The Islanders and Flyers had both held their morning skates before Thursday’s game was postponed and they both had ice time on Friday. Play should not be impacted. Neither should the Islanders’ preparation.
“There’s a lot of trust that goes into that,” said Barry Trotz, whose team lost a 4-3 overtime Game 2 after having taken the opener 4-0. “That’s dialogue. That’s dialogue with the group, that’s dialogue with your leadership.
“As I’ve said, I have a lot of faith and trust in this group that they understand that you have to park certain things. Obviously the social issues are up front but we are in the bubble to try and win a Stanley Cup.
“So [it’s about] getting the players to understand [they’ve] got to park it for the three, four or five hours, or whatever it is, get the job done, and then get back on task on the issues at hand,” he said. “It’s learning to be in the moment and the moment calls you to play hockey, you play hockey. [When] the moment calls you to stand strong for a social issue, that moment they stand strong.”
Islanders have loaned Simon Holmstrom, their 2019 first-round, 23rd overall selection, to Vita Hasten HC of the SHL’s second division. The 6-foot-1 winger, who had an impressive September training camp, spent the season with AHL Bridgeport, recording 15 points (8-7) in 46 games. The Islanders have the right to recall Holmstrom when North American pro leagues are ready to go for 2020-21.
Remainder of the revised schedule: Game 3, Saturday at 7 p.m.; Game 4, Sunday at 8 p.m.; Game 5, Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Game 6 (if necessary), Thursday, TBD; Game 7 (if necessary), Saturday, Sept. 5, TBD.