Islanders cleared to return, host Sharks Thursday
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Islanders cleared to return from COVID-19 pause, host Sharks Thursday

The New York Islanders are back. 

This past weekend, the NHL postponed two of New York's games and paused the club's season through the end of November due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad. However, the league announced Wednesday the Islanders can resume the campaign beginning with Thursday's home matchup against the San Jose Sharks. 

New York was originally set to face the New York Rangers this past Sunday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Those games haven't yet been rescheduled. 

In total, up to eight Islanders players were unavailable due to the league's COVID-19 protocol. Josh Gold-Smith of the Score notes that head coach Barry Trotz told reporters Wednesday Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Ross Johnston have cleared the protocol ahead of Thursday's matchup. 

Zdeno Chara, Casey Cizikas and Kieffer Bellows also landed on the COVID-19 list amid the outbreak. 

New York suffered eight consecutive defeats before the pause and sits at 5-10-2 and in last place in the Metropolitan Division standings. Trotz added the Islanders "dug ourselves a huge hole" over the season's first month and a half but also said that "doesn’t mean we can’t dig ourselves out of it," per Sean Leahy of Pro Hockey Talk. 

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