Andy Graziano

Andy Graziano is a writer on Islanders Point Blank

 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I begin our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Yesterday, the NHL created a little drama when they announced, at 9:58 a.m., that protected lists for each team for the upcoming Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, set for 10 a.m., would be pushed back 30 minutes to 10:30 a.m.

The head scratching move, for which no reason was ever officially given, started the wave of social media activity that would not slow for all of Father's Day.

There was plenty of venom spewed towards Islanders general manager, Garth Snow, when the lists were finally made available to the public as New York was the only team in the entire league to protect five defenseman and only three forwards, two of whom were automatic, captain John Tavares and winger Andrew Ladd.

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 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

Reports have indicated that the Islanders are in the market for a top-six forward, and blue line mainstay Travis Hamonic could be a player New York deals to make it happen. Will the Isles trade a core piece away to improve up front? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

There have been some murmurs that the Islanders are getting ready to deal a defensemen to procure a top-six forward, and one name that has popped up is Travis Hamonic. Should the Isles trade Hamonic, under team control for another three seasons, to make that forward upgrade?

Tags: Brock Nelson, Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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The NHL Draft kicks off on June 23 at 7 p.m., and the Islanders currently hold the 15th pick? What should they do with it? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

The Isles hold the 15th pick in what experts say is a very shallow draft. So, Andy, what strategy should the Isles take? Explore a trade up? Trade down or trade the pick away? Or just stand pat?

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter:

We've been spending the early part of our summer at Islanders Point Blank taking a look around the league and playing armchair general manger, analyzing potential trade targets for Garth Snow as he looks to get his club back to the playoffs.

In part one and part two, we stressed that this is in no way indicative of what 'will' happen, only our opinion of who could be available and able to help provide the kind of help captain John Tavares needs to get the organization to the next level.

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Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk (71) shoots and scores a goal against Finland in the men's ice hockey quarterfinals during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. (Scott Rovak)
Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk (71) shoots and scores a goal against Finland in the men's ice hockey quarterfinals during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome. (Scott Rovak)

Don't check your calendar. Yes, it's 2017 and we're talking about Ilya Kovalchuk. The 34-year-old is eyeing a return to the NHL, and he reportedly has a desire to play in the New York market. Could the Islanders be a fit? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.tv

Elliotte Friedman said this week that the Islanders could make sense as a destination for Ilya Kovalchuk. What do you think, Andy? Any chance the Isles can land the former 50-goal scorer?

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The NHL will expand for the 2017-18 season, as the Vegas Golden Knights enter the league for their inaugural season. At the June 21 Expansion Draft, Golden Knights GM and former Islanders vice president George McPhee will start to assemble his club. So how will the Isles protect their players, and who will they lose? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

The expansion draft is just over a month away, and - when it comes to protecting a roster - the Islanders are one of the most intriguing teams in the league. So, Andy, what do you think Garth Snow does in preparation of the Golden Knights making their selections?

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General view of opening tip off during the first period between the New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
General view of opening tip off during the first period between the New York Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

When Howie Rose decided to shock Islanders nation and announce his retirement from broadcasting hockey in May of 2016, everyone wondered who would be the next up to take over the microphone and perform the difficult task of painting the action on the ice for an entire fanbase of rabid, loyal fans watching on their television sets.

Rumors swirled of candidates interviewing with MSG networks for the job. When 32-year old Brendan Burke was announced as the successor, many simply showed a confused expression and uttered the words, "who"? Everyone, however, would learn real quick who Burke was and come to admire and appreciate his smooth style as the Islanders pushed through a topsy-turvy 2016-17 season. National networks even paid attention, as Burke was selected to work the Western conference playoffs in San Jose and Anaheim as part of NBCSN's coverage.

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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates up ice with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates up ice with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

This summer stands to be one full of franchise-defining issues for the Islanders. In a series of roundtables, SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano will discuss these topics. The guys have taken on Garth Snow's potential fate, and the chances of building a new arena at Belmont Park. In the final installment, it's the chances of signing captain John Tavares to an extension…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

The Islanders have begun to prep their pitch for an extension to John Tavares. So Andy, what do you think is the linchpin to getting this thing done this summer?

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight talks to forward Andrew Ladd (16) during the time out against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight talks to forward Andrew Ladd (16) during the time out against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv: The NHL will conclude Game 2 of all first-round playoff series tonight as the Islanders begin their summer vacations after missing out on the tournament by one single point. A point that will lead to a summer that could be the most defining in franchise history.

One last time for 2016-17, I present my thoughts via the scratchpad. After writing plenty of wrap-up material this week, including my retrospective and what's next, in addition to friend and colleague Brian Erni and I discussing the future of Garth Snow, now it's my turn to sit back on the couch and appreciate the greatest game on its biggest stage.

You, the reader, are essential to the success of SNY's Islanders Point Blank. We thank you for staying with us throughout the season - visiting, reading and commenting. This job is thankless and unforgiving. At times, downright exhausting. But to know you're reaching a large contingent of passionate Islanders fans, feeding their hunger for information, makes it all worth it, whether you agree with us or not. 

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

This summer stands to be one full of franchise-defining issues for the Islanders. In a series of roundtables, SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano will discuss these topics. First up: Garth Snow's fate and the possibility of a new team president...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. We now know Doug Weight will be back, as he'll be the main man behind the bench, but what about Garth Snow? Are the Islanders going to bring in a team president, and if so, will Snow stay on in some capacity?

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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

This spring will be the latest in a series that has tested the mettle of the Islanders from top down -- ownership, general manager, head coach and even players are not excluded from the exercise. The spring of 2017 could, however, prove to be the most challenging and defining of all.

We are officially at the end of year-one of the Jon Ledecky/Scott Malkin era of ownership, Garth Snow remains at the helm of hockey operations and Doug Weight, he of 40 games of NHL head coaching experience, was seemingly the only option in a summer that saw at least four others looking for work who had pedigree, and some even Stanley Cups, on their resume.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders named Doug Weight head coach this morning, removing the interim tag from his name and assigning him the task of making it to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017-18 with a club that missed out by a single point this season.

GM Garth Snow, who looks to have retained his job for the upcoming season, joined Weight on a conference call announcing the move. And Snow addressed the three-headed goaltending drama that might have sunk the Islanders chances at competing for the ultimate prize a third straight season.

First,n Weight began by saying he thought long and hard about this decision over the past two days. And after discussing the matter with family and friends, came to a quick decision after being told he was the man, first and foremost, that management wanted to be the new bench boss.

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Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his game winning overtime goal with his teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Islanders defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his game winning overtime goal with his teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Islanders defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders finished the 2016-17 season on a six-game winning streak, which included wins over four teams that did not advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the end, it wasn't enough to continue their modest two-season playoff streak.

An ugly first quarter, marked by questionable defensive coverage, poor transition play, a powerless play and questionable management decisions will have them watching 16 teams compete for the ultimate prize from their living rooms. The fact that their 94 points are just two shy of the NHL record for most while missing the postseason (2014-15 Bruins had 96, 2006-07 Avalanche and 2010-11 Stars had 95) is no consolation, especially to the captain.

"Overall, as a team, it's disappointing, not making the playoffs," John Tavares said. "There are so many games to look back on, the opportunities we let slip away, and that's definitely frustrating. In a sense, it's a step back. What did we have, 94 points? So, three wins off last year. But, it's such a fine line. We need to step back, reflect and prepare to get where we need to be."

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 (John E. Sokolowski (USA Today))
(John E. Sokolowski (USA Today))

Reports have started to indicate that John Tavares wants to have his mind made up about what to do about his next contract this summer. Have the Islanders given him enough reason to stay? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. Lots of John Tavares murmuring of late, with the Canadian media luminaries (like Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger) alluding to the idea that JT wants to have his mind made up on a course of action by June. Where do you think things stand at this very moment?

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders lost Ryan Strome to a broken wrist, so what impact will it have on their playoff chances? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Barring a deep playoff run, Ryan Strome's 2016-17 season is over. So, Andy: What does this mean for the Islanders forward corps, and how will this impact them going down the stretch?

Tags: Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Mar 18, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center center John Tavares (91) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center center John Tavares (91) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

Down to the final 11 games of the 2016-17 regular season, through all the inconsistency of the past couple of weeks, the New York Islanders find themselves very much in the hunt for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point, having played one more game.

It's been the scoreboard, perhaps, more than the Islanders that have kept them alive, but at this point, there are no apologies for that, just further opportunities for them to right the wrongs that have been regularly occurring in their defensive zone.

  • Yesterday, New York lost a one-goal overtime game against one of the best teams in the league, a team fighting for first place overall in the entire league. They out-attempted the Blue Jackets, 56-54, despite being outshot 38-22. Not a horrible performance and a much-needed point, although the three goals they allowed were all a result of the usual defensive breakdowns that have become too frequent at this stage.
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The Islanders' Thomas Hickey, left, and center John Tavares show their frustration during Thursday's home loss to Winnipeg. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
The Islanders' Thomas Hickey, left, and center John Tavares show their frustration during Thursday's home loss to Winnipeg. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

The Isles are just one point out of the final Wild Card with 13 games to go. So what does the team need to do to reach the playoffs? Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:  Andy, with their loss to the Jets on Thursday, the Islanders suffered a major setback in their quest for the second Wild Card. So what does this team need to do to make sure they qualify for their third straight postseason?

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:  Well, I'd say the change has to begin with their defensive coverage, which has been manically up-and-down for a couple of weeks now. Travis Hamonic has not been good since his return for injury, and the forwards look too lackadaisical in their back-checking.

Tags: Shane Prince, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee watches teammate John Tavares' shot go past Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller during the first period. (AP)
New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee watches teammate John Tavares' shot go past Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller during the first period. (AP)

The New York Islanders are finally finishing their franchise record nine-game road trip with a game in St. Louis tonight.

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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV

For whatever reason, former head coach Jack Capuano was leery to pair superstar captain John Tavares with up and coming winger Anders Lee on a consistent basis. They would play together some, then be broken up after a period of ineffective play by any of the four lines that night. If the Islanders won, Capuano would stick to superstitions in almost all cases, keeping everything just as it was.

This year, after Andrew Ladd was given a week or so to work out chemistry with a player he had never played with before, the lines continued to jumble until a light finally went off, seemingly in the entire coaching staff's heads…..at once. I imagine the gist of the conversation going something like this, "We need a true, top line that can stick together for a long stretch."

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Josh Ho-Sang's NHL career is only four games old, but he has certainly turned some heads thus far. SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss:

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Josh Ho-Sang has made his presence felt in his first handful of games with the big club, and now he even has an NHL goal to show for it. So, Andy, what are your impressions of Ho-Sang thus far?

Tags: Shane Prince, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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. (Eric Hartline)
. (Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, players can relax that they have not been moved and fans have had a night's sleep to recuperate from the anxiety that the day brought.

Islanders GM Garth Snow made no moves Wednesday, choosing to not meet the exorbitant price set on number one target Matt Duchene by Colorado GM Joe Sakic, who was under no pressure to move a highly skilled, coveted player with two years remaining on his contract.

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders GM Garth Snow talked to a lot of teams, but it didn't yield any results before the NHL trade deadline passed on Wednesday. SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

Alright, Andy. Despite a lot of rumbling, the Islanders stood pat at the deadline. What are your general impressions of what transpired the last few days?

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders board a flight to Dallas on Tuesday, a day earlier than they would have left under normal circumstances, to continue their nine-game road trip.

What's not normal about a Tuesday in February? In case you have been living under a rock, Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET is the NHL trade deadline. And with the Islanders engaged in a back-room brawl for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot, it's their last opportunity to search for help outside the organization -- help that could get them over the hump and into the playoffs. And that's where every team, thanks to parity that now rules the day, has a chance at the big prize.

Third place in the Metropolitan division is a pipe dream at this point, with New York trailing Columbus by 15 points with 21 games to play. With the best division in hockey getting better after Washington acquired Kevin Shattenkirk Monday night, they trail the rival New York Rangers by 14 points, making the first wild card spot and a trip into the Atlantic division bracket also an extremely long shot...

Tags: Brock Nelson, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Pulock, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)
New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The climb continues, and if you believe in fairy tales and the stuff dreams are made of, the story written on the ice in Montreal Thursday evening had the perfect ending. 

Anthony Beauvillier, the Islanders 19-year old rookie forward who made the team, to some measure of surprise, out of training camp, played for the first time as a professional in his hometown in front of 50 family and friends.

The night started for Beauvillier with a 'gift' from his teammates, as they sent him out for pre-game warmups alone, without following him onto the ice. It's an old gag reserved for when the team wants to shift the attention to one singular player in hopes of showcasing him….or embarrassing him. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates a Josh Bailey (12) goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates a Josh Bailey (12) goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

The Islanders' recent turnaround could help the team keep captain John Tavares long term, Craig Custance of ESPN suggests.

"If this is the beginning of a turnaround under Weight that has staying power, one that is rooted in reality and not just a short-term bounce, you have to believe the inclination would be to find a way to make it work beyond next season," Custance writes.

The Islanders have gone 6-3-1 over their last 10 games and are in a virtual tie with the Panthers for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference...

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

In his last four starts, J-F Berube has struggled, while Jaro Halak has posted a 1.96 goals against average and a .931 save percentage since being demoted to the AHL. Should the Islanders make a change at the backup goalie position? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV

J-F Berube is fighting it of late to the tune of a .876 save percentage over his last four starts. Meanwhile, Jaro Halak is playing lights out at Bridgeport. Andy, should the Islanders consider recalling Jaro to be the backup for the stretch run?

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Ryan Strome (18) and left wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Ryan Strome (18) and left wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The roadie from hell has officially begun. Nine straight games away from Brooklyn for the New York Islanders, who entered play last night tied for fewest road wins in the entire National Hockey League at seven.

After a first period that saw them take the lead on a beauty from Josh Bailey, still their most consistent offensive player all season, they fell asleep at the wheel with the clock running down and surrendered an awful goal to Henrik Zetterberg with 0.1 seconds remaining to tie the game.

Instead of getting down, they picked themselves up, went out and executed simplicity on the road, exactly what is needed to pick up two crucial points at this juncture of the regular season, when the grind of an 82-game schedule really starts to wear down the body, no matter how conditioned or prepared you think you might be.

Tags: Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Ryan Pulock, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) takes a backhanded shot against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) takes a backhanded shot against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The New York Islanders will now take to the road, where they are 7-13-4, tied for the fewest road wins in the National Hockey League, for three weeks as Barclays Center welcomes the circus and ACC basketball tournament. New York will play their next nine games away from home, not returning until Monday, March 13 for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

"There's not a good feeling, not a good vibe on the road right now," said interim head coach Doug Weight after the Islanders 6-4 win over New Jersey. "We're built to be a good road team. We've been here (in Brooklyn) a lot and we've been great, so it's a bit of a crutch. Hopefully we get out on the road and get together as a team."

After a 3-2 loss in Newark on Saturday evening, thanks to a sleepy start and one stingy goalpost, the Islanders bounced back for the win last night against the same pesky opponents who, no matter their record, always seem to give New York fits, regardless of their lifetime record against them. It's never been easy.

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano
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Feb 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (50) and goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) hit the puck away from Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (29) during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Feb 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (50) and goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) hit the puck away from Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (29) during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

The March 1 trade deadline is just two weeks away, and the Islanders have a decision to make. Should Garth Snow be buying or selling? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV

The Islanders have made up a ton of ground, and entering play on Wednesday, are just three points out of a playoff spot. So, Andy, with the trade deadline just two weeks away, should they be buyers or sellers?

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

By Doug Weight's and his own players' admission, not much has changed systematically for the Islanders since Jack Capuano was fired on January 17 and replaced on an interim basis by the NHL veteran of 1,238 games -- including 107 with the Islanders.

A 'tweak' to defensive zone coverage has been all that's been mentioned to the media ever since the switch, and the results have been strangely similar under both coaches. The Islanders have not lost consecutive games in regulation since December 13-15, when they were defeated by the Capitals and Blackhawks -- a run that has spanned 25 games: 13 under Capuano and 12 under Weight.

After Sunday night's victory over the offensively challenged Avalanche, the league's worst team, New York is now 8-2-2 under Weight, only two games better than the 6-4-2 they went in the previous 12 games under Capuano's leadership. Diving into more team-based statistics from the same time period, the results once again come out very similar.

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal left wing Andrew Ladd (16) against the Philadelphia Flyers with during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)
New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal left wing Andrew Ladd (16) against the Philadelphia Flyers with during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

After allowing five goals in three consecutive games against the Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, you would not have been alone in not liking the Islanders chances too much heading into their own 'house of horrors' against a team they do not seem to match up well against, the Philadelphia Flyers.

In dropping the first two games of the season series and allowing over 80 shot attempts both times, New York fell to 33-77-11-6 lifetime in Philadelphia with one regulation win over their last 24 games in the city of brotherly love. But this is a team riding high in the confidence department lately with a remarkable turnaround from the first half of the season, and they put a halt on all the bad mojo in capturing a huge 3-1 victory.

Although they did allow another 80 shot attempts, 36 came in the opening twenty minutes of Flyers domination, where the Islanders were fortunate to come out of tied at one thanks to a power play goal by Anders Lee, as he deflected John Tavares' bullet snapper from the right wing faceoff circle to collect his 19th goal, pushing him to within one of his second 20-goal season and just six off his career high, set in 2014-15 over 76 games.

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

On Tuesday morning, the Boston Bruins fired Claude Julien, who helped lead the franchise to the 2011 Stanley Cup. Could he end up at the helm of the Islanders? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

It didn't take long after Claude Julien was dismissed on Tuesday before Islanders fans began to wonder if he could be a solution to the team's coaching search. What do you think, Andy. Is Julien a good fit?

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

After a weekend that saw the Islanders collect only one of four possible points in losses to the Red Wings and Hurricanes, thoughts of a late-season playoff push were temporarily put on hold, especially with results around the league teaming up to go against them.

Then a welcome sight to Brooklyn entered the picture on Monday evening. The Maple Leafs came into the borough with a stable of talented, young, dynamic forwards in Zach Hyman, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and, of course, Auston Matthews. But this year, while the team rebuilds its core, defense is the sacrifice. Only Tampa Bay and Philadelphia have allowed more goals in the Eastern conference and to make matters worse for head coach Mike Babcock, Frederick Andersen didn't bring his A or B games, either.

The Islanders, who allowed 10 goals in the back-to-back 5-4 losses to Detroit and Carolina, continued their own inept play in the defensive zone, so what happened on the ice at Barclays Center was completely expected. An offensive explosion with defense worthy of an all-star game led to an exciting, but sloppy, 6-5 overtime win for New York, who have now allowed a whopping 15 goals over their past three games.

Tags: Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano
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Feb 3, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52) battle for the puck in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 3, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52) battle for the puck in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

The New York Islanders lost in regulation for the first time in seven games under interim head coach Doug Weight (5-1-1) on Friday night in Detroit, falling to the Red Wings, 5-4, in a game that featured some lackadaisical defense and critical mental errors that cost New York one of its games in hand on the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • New York is still five points back of the Flyers for the second and final wild card spot in the Eastern conference, with three games in hand. Sportsclubstats took 10 percent off the Islanders' playoff chances with the loss, dropping them to 35 percent, as Carolina, Florida and New Jersey all picked up points last night. Needless to say, a win tonight in Brooklyn over the Canes and it's not the end of the world.
  • Hard to fault Thomas Greiss, and nobody should, for last night. Left on an island and a couple of fluky deflection goals was more than enough to put a statistical blemish on what has been an outstanding run for the newly signed goaltender.
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New York Islanders right wing Ryan Strome (18) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin)
New York Islanders right wing Ryan Strome (18) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Fans and media alike had written the Islanders off after a poor start had them hovering at NHL .500 and put the team into a tailspin that threatened their playoff hopes. After three consecutive losses to open 2017, which included dropping points in Colorado, Arizona and Florida, those cries became louder, with myself very much at the forefront.

Since then, the team has set out on a personal mission to prove us all wrong. A 7-1-1 run, which included the firing of head coach Jack Capuano, has New York three points out of the second wild card spot, holding three games in hand on the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, don't get me wrong, they still might not make the postseason, as sportsclubstats currently has them at 45%, but at least we can safely talk about the prospect instead of focusing on the 2017 NHL Draft.

Tags: Alain Quine, Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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 (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
(Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Rumors are swirling about the Islanders' relationship with Barclays Center, and it's led to a new round of arena speculation. Where will the Isles end up? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

I know you're tired of hearing it, Andy, but it's time to talk arena news again. Give me your take on the situation that is playing out in Brooklyn between Barclays Center and the Islanders. It seems to be clear that the relationship between the franchise and Barclays Center is extremely frayed. Does that jive with what you've heard?

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New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

The Islanders have points in four straight and are within striking distance of the second Wild Card in the Eastern Conference. Can they pull off this comeback? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.tv

Alright, Andy. The Isles are four points out of the final playoff spot, and have two and three games in hand on the two teams directly above them in the standings, the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers, respectively. The rest of the Eastern Conference has come back down to Earth. Are you a believer that this team can somehow, someway find their way into the playoffs?

Tags: Jason Chimera, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Strome, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The New York Islanders are now three games into the head coaching career of interim bench boss Doug Weight, who took over for the terminated Jack Capuano last week. 

Some of the changes we have seen have trended positive for New York, others neutral and some have slipped. The 'newness' of a coaching change has now worn off, and three games remain on a six-game home-stand that will either position the team better for a late playoff run or potentially knock them further behind.

Tags: Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) reacts after scoring a short handed goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) reacts after scoring a short handed goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

As if life being a fan of or covering the New York Islanders could ever be simple. Some adapt to change expertly, with the fluidity of water flowing out of a faucet. Others simply resist it, choosing instead to be the unmovable object - the rock, if you will, that if left in one spot too long, falls behind, growing moss while everything around it moves forward.

I have found that the simplest path is simply being adaptable. Adaptable to a changing environment, a changing world, family structure, work status or financial status. The more adaptable you are, the less prone you are to the stresses of change itself.

It's only been one game, a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars, but the Islanders resolve will be tested more this weekend as they play their second and third games under new interim head coach Doug Weight. With the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers invading Barclays Center, another test in a challenging 2016-17 season awaits the team. How adaptable will they truly be?

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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

It didn't take long for the puns to start via social media regarding Doug Weight and his head coaching debut for the New York Islanders as they prepared to take on the Stars in Brooklyn on Thursday night. 

Admittedly, I joined in leading up to faceoff and at select times throughout the game. After all, why should you have all the fun?

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano coaches against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano coaches against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Jack Capuano is out, and Doug Weight is in for the interim. But who will be the next permanent man behind the bench in Brooklyn? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.tv

Alright, Andy. After 483 regular season games and three trips to the playoffs, the Jack Capuano era is over. It begs the question: Who will be the next permanent head coach of the New York Islanders? Is it safe to assume that it won't be Doug Weight.

Tags: Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) skates during the second period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) skates during the second period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

My SNY colleague, Brian Erni, and I once breached this topic in our Wednesday 'Shooting from Point Blank range' column about wanting your team to lose in a lost season. Wanting them to lose to get a better draft pick. Wanting them to lose to force a coaching change. For whatever reason, I had said then and still believe now that to be a crazy overreaction and even though one is obviously entitled to have it, I will never agree with it nor understand it. Well, same can be said of a player on such a team with a diverse and divided fanbase.

Of course, we're talking about none other than Josh Bailey, who has been the whipping boy of Islanders social media for almost as long as he has been a member of this organization, stretching way back to 2008-09, when Josh was a first round draft selection, 9th overall, and rushed into the NHL at 19 years of age for a team desperate for….well, anything.

Bailey has been the victim of severe over-expectations of what he brings to the rink from the fanbase and a victim of sub-par development after being thrust into the spotlight way too soon by the organization. But that hasn't deterred the Islanders winger from going out and just continuing to play his game, silencing what's being screamed from the stands or being 'written' on Twitter. 

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

The Islanders, coming off a 4-0 win over the Bruins, fired head coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday.

While the timing seems strange, it's a move that had been widely discussed in hockey circles and clamored for by an upset and disappointed fanbase, compounded by the team's 17-17-8 record after 42 games.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV

Snap your fingers…go ahead, just do it.

Just like that, the Islanders went from a team that won four of five and looked to be righting their wobbly, patchwork ship to set sail toward at least getting back in the playoff conversation, to a team that has now lost four of their last five, including back-to-back loser point 'efforts' in Colorado and Arizona -- the two easiest buildings of 2016-17 to win in.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

The Colorado Avalanche are shopping their top offensive stars, but they have a steep asking price. Should the Islanders engage? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss… 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

The Avalanche are seeking a "top-level" defenseman, a first round pick, and more in a deal for Gabriel Landeskog, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Andy, have you heard if the Isles have had any talks with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic on Landsekog?

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The New York Islanders believe a turnaround to their season has to "start now" as they sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

Speaking to News 12 Long Island on Monday, via Newsday, the Islanders believe there is a lot of hockey to be played, however as they rank 28th in the league, it is likely too late. That said, the players' expected "never-say-die" attitude is admirable.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

And on the fifth day, let there be practice. … The New York Islanders returned from their league-mandated bye week a day early by approving a practice in Denver on Thursday, a day before they were defeated by the Avalanche, 2-1, in overtime. Tonight, it's on to Arizona to take on another of the league's bottom dwellers, the Coyotes.

The time immediately after the holidays is always the toughest to get through. Family, some you don't get an opportunity to see much, have gone. Decorations come down, leaving a vast expanse of emptiness, the air gets noticeably colder and yes, it's back to work. No wonder why there is such a thing as "seasonal depression." I get it, I get it.

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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Entering play Friday night, the Islanders trail the Metro's third place (and last guaranteed playoff spot) Rangers by 19 points with five games in hand. In other words, not happening. Look elsewhere for your entry.

They are nine points behind the second Wild Card team in the Eastern conference, the Flyers, with four games in hand. Not too shabby, you think, especially when you peek at their next five games and see Colorado, Arizona, Florida (twice) and Carolina.

But wait…to even get to the Flyers, New York has to jump seven other teams. Yes, I said seven...

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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Islanders can start talking about an extension with John Tavares on July 1, but that hasn't stopped everyone from weighing in on the matter. SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.tv:

Andy, John Tavares and his eventual contract extension seem to be popping up in every story written about the Islanders lately. ESPN said the Isles should force the issue with their star player to find out where he stands. What's your take on Tavares? Do the Isles need to extend him this summer, no matter the cost?

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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