The NHL 2019-20 season has been “paused” due to growing concerns about the coronavirus. As of Thursday, March 12, no games will be held for the indeterminable future.
The New York Islanders soon canceled practice and media availability before flying home from Western Canada.
Commissioner Gary Bettman took precautionary measures and placed the rest of the season on hold after Rudy Gobert of the NBA tested positive for COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
“Given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some members of the NHL community would test positive at some point, it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time,” Bettman said in his statement. “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup.”
Honestly, this pause could actually be great for the Islanders. Though they typically don’t play well after breaks, especially extended breaks, this unexpected time off could allow key players like Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, and Adam Pelech to return when play continues. Whether the season will continue with about 20 games left or with only a make-shift playoff situation is unknown at this time.
What about the fans? What are we supposed to do in this unexpected time of hockey withdrawals, interrupting one of the best parts of the season, the push for the playoffs
Islanders Nation is here, at your service, with a shortlist of ideas.
Watch Old Games and Highlights
Let’s face it: the current New York Islanders team isn’t very good. It began the season with a bang and still has the potential to finish strong… but only if the boys pull themselves together and find a reason to believe in themselves again.
So why don’t we all watch the good ole stuff instead? YouTube is full of wonderful videos from the Stanley Cup wins to the hall of fame-worthy fights to John Tonelli’s and Butch Goring’s jersey retirement ceremonies. You can watch the Belmont progress or even play the Isles’ goal song, if you want some motivation or rewards while (possibly/probably?) working from home during this pandemic. The Internet is your Islanders oyster.
Enjoy Some Light Reading
The best part of the NHL’s 100th anniversary in 2017 was probably all the books. So many histories and takes on the teams and legends. Stan Fischler’s book about the Islanders/Rangers rivalry might be my favorite.
Live Vicariously Through Movies
Miracle, Goon, Slap Shot, Youngblood, Mystery, Alaska, The Mighty Ducks… There’s lot of great hockey movies out there to choose from. Of course, you don’t have to stick to hockey. Consider some of the greatest sports movies ever as well: Rudy, Field of Dreams, Major League, Space Jam…
Of course, sports movies (and books) are not the only ones that exist. Maybe now that we don’t have hockey to fill our evenings hours, we can all catch up on other shows and movies we’ve been neglecting. I hear Wreck-It Ralph was pretty good.
Consider the Future
The 2020 NHL Draft is supposedly full of some of the best talent in years. Though we’re still about three months and a playoffs cycle away from it, rankings and mock drafts are out in force. Read up on the young players the Isles may or may not acquire over the summer. The team does not have any early-round picks after the J-G Pageau trade, but that might not matter to Lou Lamoriello, who chose a prospect expected for the later rounds in the first round last year anyway.
Pick up a New Sport
Like the Draft, the 2020 Summer Olympics are approaching! Will they be canceled because of the coronavirus? We certainly hope not. With every other sports league temporarily shut down, the Olympics are a torch of hope. (I had to make the pun. I’ll show myself out.)
Live Life to the Butch-est
And finally, the favorite option here at Islanders Nation: using Butchisms to inspire your everyday life. We won’t be hearing from him for a while (which is its own set of withdrawals), so here’s a few to keep in mind.
Keep your head up and your feet moving no matter what you’re facing.
Don’t be afraid of the dirty areas because that’s where the important work is done.
Always shoot for the toy department, and even if you miss, look for your own rebound.
Value your ice time with friends and family.
You are important, and don’t ever forget it!
Whatever you do in this time without sports, know you are not alone in your boredom.
Featured Image: Getty Images