The NHL has the full support of Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello when it comes to their plan to restart the season.
The hockey hall-of-fame executive praised the NHL and players association during a conference call on Wednesday for their work to hammer out a plan to get the season going again. When play is able to resume, the NHL will jump into a 24-team postseason tournament with the Islanders facing the Florida Panthers in a best-of-five play-in round.
“In my opinion, the league and the union have done a tremendous job in coming up with the best possible scenario they could to satisfy all the individual situations of each team, barring none,” Lamoriello said. “Everyone had input, everyone had an opportunity to express their concerns on either side. … I’m totally supportive of what the results were and just excited we have a template to get back, certainly knowing a lot of details have to be worked out.”
Belmont construction has restarted
Construction on the Islanders’ new arena at Belmont Park started up again on Wednesday as Long Island began phase 1 of the region’s reopening. Lamoriello confirmed that construction had begun again and called it “a great sight that it is happening.”
“The most comfortable feeling is that we were ahead of schedule when this all took place,” Lamoriello said. “I do not think or believe there will be any hiccups as far as the delay of when it’s proposed to be open.”
The Belmont arena is slated to open in October of 2021.
No Sorokin update
If anyone was hoping for an update on when Ilya Sorokin would be signing an entry-level deal, they were sorely disappointed. Lamoriello remained tight-lipped on the status of talks with the goalie prospect.
The situation with Sorokin has become murkier as the NHL, for the time being, appears to be holding firm on its stance that no player can sign a contract for the 2019-20 season. And rumors popped up recently that Sorokin could be signing back with his KHL club, but that appears to be untrue,n according to The Athletic.
“I really have no comment on that until I know one way or the other,” Lamoriello responded when asked about the impact the league’s stance was having on negotiations with Sorokin.
Players returning to long island
Lamoriello wouldn’t discuss specifics about which players had stayed on Long Island and which players returned home during the pause. The Islanders general manager would only say that arrangements were being made for those players that do need to get back to the Island.
There was also no timetable for when those players that did leave would be able to return.
“There’s a lot of arrangements, a lot of travel situations, immigration that have to take place,” Lamoriello said. “I prefer not to get into who individually is on their way or who isn’t until we know everything. Certainly individual preparations as of the announcement are currently underway.”
The NHL is hoping to begin phase 2 of its restart plan sometime in June, which would see players begin small group workouts at team practice facilities.