Ahead of their New York showdown exhibition matchup Wednesday, Islanders coach Barry Trotz and Rangers coach David Quinn are beginning to contemplate their starting goaltender assignments.
The Rangers and Islanders are two of 11 NHL teams that brought just three goaltenders with them for the restart tournament. The other 13 teams opted to bring four goalies.
Trotz said Monday that both Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss will see time in net during Wednesday’s game, noting that he’s closer to making his final decision on which goaltender will start against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
“I’m close to making a decision. I don’t think I can make a bad decision,” he said.
Goalie Chris Gibson, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, also traveled with the team to Toronto but is likely a backup option.
Quinn said Monday he was informed that the league is allowing teams to dress just two goaltenders for the one exhibition game everybody has scheduled. That’ll mean one of the Rangers’ three goalies, Igor Shesterkin, Alexandar Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist, will not dress Wednesday.
Georgiev has skated with the extras group both Sunday and Monday, meaning it’ll likely be Shesterkin and Lundqvist who dress against the Islanders.
Teams will be allowed to dress an extra forward and an extra defenseman as well for exhibition games, Quinn said.
The Islanders kicked off their first practice in Toronto on the Olympic-sized ice.
Trotz explained that each team within the Toronto bubble is given one practice day on the Olympic-sized ice as opposed to a regular-sized rink. Being on the bigger ice forced Trotz to coordinate his practice plans accordingly.
“I was glad that we got the first day [on the Olympic-sized ice],” he said. “I didn’t work on special teams because the angles are different. We just worked on our five-on-five play, got up and down the ice. … We had the day off for travel [Sunday], today was a work day, we got up and down the ice.”
Additionally, Trotz said that every Islander was on the ice for Monday’s practice.
The Rangers opted to split their team into two groups for their first practice in Toronto like they had done throughout training camp.
“We broke it up into two today. We actually brought the extras out for the last drill which was some penalty killing, so there was a little bit of an overlap,” Quinn said. “I thought we had a good day today, it was a good pace, it was purposeful. I thought [Sunday] was sloppy, even though I thought we were trying to do the right thing. Today there was a lot more crispness to what we were trying to accomplish.”
The NHL released the 2019-20 King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominees as selected by their respective teams. The award is given to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
The Islanders nominee was Matt Martin, while the Rangers selected Lundqvist.
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