NHL News: COVID strikes Islanders again, postpones Hurricanes at Flyers, and Malkin returns

islanders last place
Aug 14, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz reacts during the third period against the Washington Capitals in game two of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Another day in the NHL and more COVID related news.

Tuesday night’s scheduled game in Philadelphia between the Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes was postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Flyers.

It is the seventh postponed game for Carolina and the fourth for Philadelphia.

Flyers vs Canes postponed due to COVID

The Flyers put Rasmus Ristolainen on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Tuesday, a day after fellow defenseman Justin Braun was added. Captain Clade Giroux now is off the list, but defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny remain in the protocol.

The Hurricanes said Tuesday that defenseman Jaccob Slavin entered the protocol.

Both teams are scheduled to return to action on Thursday — the Hurricanes at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Flyers on the road against the Boston Bruins.

Evgeni Malkin to debut tonight

evgeni malkin return
May 20, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates against the New York Islanders during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Geno is back!

Evgeni Malkin will make his season debut tonight after having knee surgery this summer.

“He’s skating really well,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s such a talented guy. I think he looks really strong.”

Malkin, 35, injured his right knee last season against the Boston Bruins and was sidelined for 23 games. He underwent surgery in early June and has yet to play.

However, the more pressing issue is his future and in particular that with the Penguins since he will be a UFA this summer.

“I want to play like maybe three, four years more. I didn’t want to be worried like every game about my knee,” he said via the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. “Now my knee is like 200% stronger.”

He is in the final year of an eight-year, $76 million extension signed in June 2013 and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Malkin has 1,104 points (424 goals, 680 assists) in 940 games, all with the Penguins. If he hits the free agent market, I’m sure several teams will be ready to give him a contract.

Islanders hit with COVID issues again

The New York Islanders placed head coach Barry Trotz and defenseman Ryan Pulock in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol Tuesday.

Trotz, 59, missed the team’s 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 1 following the death of his mother.

The Islanders have not played since then and are scheduled to return to the ice Thursday night at home against the New Jersey Devils.

Trotz is in his fourth season with the Isles and has compiled a 125-79-30 record, including 10-12-6 this season.

Pulock, 27, has two assists in 12 games this season. He has 127 points (33 goals, 94 assists) in 302 games since the Islanders drafted him with the 15th overall pick in 2013.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report