Chara enters NHL COVID-19 protocol, Nelson out 2-4 weeks for Islanders


EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Zdeno Chara became the seventh player on the New York Islanders roster to enter NHL COVID-19 protocol when he tested positive for the virus Monday. 

The defenseman joins forwards Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Kieffer Bellows and Ross Johnston, and defensemen Adam Pelech and Andy Greene in protocol. Forward Anthony Beauvillier had a false positive test and missed a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday. He returned for a 3-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. 

The Islanders will also be without center Brock Nelson for 2-4 weeks because of a lower-body injury sustained in the first period Sunday. Nelson leads them in goals (nine) and points (11) this season. 

“We’ll continue to do what we have control of,” Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said before practice Tuesday. “You can’t deal with things that are out of your hands. Certainly, these are difficult times, but we will stay focused on the players we have, what our abilities are to replace players if necessary and just stay as positive as we possibly can. 

“I don’t think there’s any way you could approach this or handle this any differently.” 

The Islanders (5-8-2) are on a six-game losing streak (0-6-0) and scheduled to play the New York Rangers at UBS Arena on Wednesday. They delayed practice Tuesday until the afternoon to allow time for more testing. 

Lamoriello said none of the players in protocol would be available for the game Wednesday. He said he had dialogue with the NHL on Monday about a possible postponement. 

“There is no decision, to my knowledge,” Lamoriello said. “We’re preparing to play unless we hear otherwise.” 

Ryan Pulock (lower body) is out 4-6 weeks. The defenseman was injured in the second period of a 4-1 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 15 after blocking a shot from forward Mathieu Joseph and appearing to limp off the ice.

Forward Anatoli Golyshev and defenseman Thomas Hickey were recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Lamoriello said the Islanders are also willing to make a trade for reinforcements, but there is nothing imminent. 

“Whatever can do to get better, we would,” Lamoriello said. “But we will be getting our players back, and I can assure you that I’ve gotten calls. Many teams want to help us in different ways but not that could really help us.”

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