One thing Islanders’ general manager Lou Lamoriello has ingrained in the organization since he arrived three years ago is TEAM over everything.
All aspects of what the Isles do on and off the ice — and from a management standpoint — all have the best interests of the team in mind. It’s why they’ve become a beacon of stability, not only among their NHL counterparts but in the entire sports landscape. Yesterday’s announcement from Lamoriello was just another example of this.
“We will not allow any player in our organization to participate unless they are vaccinated,” the Isles’ boss said to the media for his pre-training camp presser.
Hats off to Lamoriello for making such a statement, and I’m not just saying that too because I am fully vaccinated. It shows again the mindset of a whole group of people, not just one person.
The league made its rules clear earlier this month that unvaccinated players can be suspended by their respective clubs and lose wages per day that they aren’t fully treated. That’s something Lamoriello and the Islanders won’t tolerate.
We saw last year how much COVID could wreak havoc on teams. Just ask the Devils, Sabres and Canucks; their seasons were massively halted because of the outbreaks that took place among players and staff. The Islanders were lucky to not have any players contract the virus last season, albeit a few scares.
It was noted too that there was one minor leaguer in the organization who wouldn’t get vaccinated and the plan being for him to play for a different club in 2021-22. That call from him to do that sends a strong message that the organization is not willing to take any chances.
“We’re very conscious of what’s going on in the world,” said Lamoriello. “The Delta Variant now and where that’s at and we will be taking every possible precaution that we can to protect, to keep our players, our staff, our coaches as healthy as we possibly can and their families.”
The NHL is reportedly nearing 100% of having its players fully vaccinated, which they should be commended for. The Islanders will be one of those teams with everyone in that category because thats how the mentality is now around here — team above everything else.
There won’t be any Zac Rinaldo type situation. The Blue Jackets yesterday said they told Rinaldo to not report to camp because he has yet to get vaxxed.
Instead, the Islanders can keep their focus on more important things at hand, like preparing for an 82-game — hopefully longer than that — journey.