#Islanders, Rangers gearing up for Phase 2 of NHL’s restart plan

Islanders, Rangers gearing up for Phase 2 of NHL’s restart plan

June 5, 2020 | 1:23pm

The Islanders will be ready to go on Monday while it may take the Rangers an extra day to open their practice facility to its players for the NHL’s voluntary, small group, Phase 2 workouts.

“We have satisfied all protocols,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said on a Friday conference call, referring to the extensive list of requirements established last week by the NHL/NHLPA. “We’ve checked all the boxes.”

The Rangers may need more time to conform with the testing regimen. If so, and that’s the way it appears, they would open their building on Tuesday.

Teams across the league do not expect a sudden influx of athletes to their respective facilities. That is because there are a number of areas of the US, Canada and Europe where rinks are open and players are able to skate with larger groups and without conforming to all of the regulations that would encumber them at NHL facilities.

Lamoriello, who stressed these Phase 2 workouts are “very voluntary,” said he thought about one-third of the team is currently in the area but wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how many players would skate at the practice rink. The GM said he will touch base with every player over the weekend.

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Only a handful of Rangers — Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Adam Fox and Brendan Lemieux, who just recently returned — are currently in the area.

“I think players will watch to see progress [with talks between the NHL and NHLPA] and a definite date for official camp and adjust accordingly,” Lamoriello said. “Every situation is unique depending on what’s available to each individual.”

The league and union need to reach an accord on health and safety protocols for training camp and the tournament as well as on CBA-related issues before a schedule can be adopted. The sides have targeted the second week of July for the opening of training camp that would be expected to last up to three weeks. That would lead to an early August start of the competition.

The Blueshirts will meet Carolina while the Islanders will face Florida in the best-of-five qualifying round leading into the playoffs. When the season stopped on March 11, the Islanders had 80 points in 68 games while the Rangers had 79 points in 70 contests. The winners of the eight qualifying series will advance to the main 16-team draw that will include the top four seeds in each conference.

“I think it’s great to have the ability to get back playing,” Lamoriello said. “I’m totally supportive of the decisions that have been made.”


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