Andy Graziano

Andy Graziano is a writer on Islanders Point Blank

Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders' 2017-18 season is speeding down an icy highway in a blizzard with no brakes, as a 15-24-8 record since Dec. 1 has all but assured another season out of the playoffs, sitting home watching other, better teams contend for the Stanley Cup.

  • Surely, big decisions are looming on the horizon for a franchise that can never seem to sustain any sort of consistency or dependability. After beating Florida in the 2016 playoffs, its first series win in two decades, and coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons, this season can only be classified as a severe regression.

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Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first 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 head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

'It ain't over 'til it's over' is one of the oldest, greatest sports quotes, muttered by Yogi Berra. It also became the lyrics to a song by Lenny Kravitz. It's a line that has become difficult for Islanders fans to say these days.

If you look at the NHL standings as of this morning, you see the Islanders sitting on the outside looking in, trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by six points with both teams even in games played at 67. That gives New York 15 games (30 points) to make up ground, which will be more difficult than it looks on the surface considering they have to pass the Carolina Hurricanes and red-hot Florida Panthers on their way to even approaching the Jackets.

New York's league worst defense (241 goals allowed) has torpedoed a once promising season that saw them sitting at 15-7-2 at the end of November. Since then, it's been a free-fall of epic proportions. The Isles have stumbled to a 14-22-7 record with nary a move to improve a roster that, to be completely honest, needed an overhaul in January.

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

"Nowhere Man," the iconic 1965 hit by the Beatles, can best summarize where the New York Islanders find themselves right now with 19 games remaining in the 2017-18 regular season and the trade deadline looming tomorrow at 3pm ET.

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Jan 4, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal with right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The NHL's annual trade deadline (Monday at 3 p.m. ET) entertains, or pains in some cases, fans around the league with rumors galore of what it would cost to improve your team heading into the home stretch of the 2017-18 season.

The reality of the situation is typically much less dramatic than the chatter leading into it, with the market flooded with more sellers than buyers, prices very expensive and the fluidity of discussions themselves that seem to change by the hour, often leading to nothing getting done at all.

In fact, it could be argued that the biggest deals involving the most stars occur before the trade deadline or way after it, at the entry draft. Since 2010, when 31 trades were executed involving 55 players, there has only been an average of 18 deals with 35 players exchanging teams in the subsequent seven years. And the names are hardly earth-shattering when looking back...

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhen you awoke Thursday morning, it might have taken an extra brushing or two to get the bad taste out of your mouth from the previous two games the Islanders 'participated' in.

A sleepy 4-1 loss to the Panthers at Barclays Center, their third straight home defeat, was followed by a no-show in Toronto, losing 5-0 to the Maple Leafs, getting outshot in the process, 50-28.

If you bothered to even check the current NHL standings after Thursday night's games, you would see that New York is still well within striking distance of a playoff spot, trailing the Flyers by one point (giving two games in hand) and Blue Jackets by three points (also giving two games) for the final two wild card spots in the Eastern conference...

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The NHL celebrates their best talent from the 2017-18 season this weekend as everyone gets together in Tampa and puts their best foot forward for the fans.

For the New York Islanders, John Tavares and Josh Bailey are enjoying themselves, with Bailey's 17-month old son joining him for this unforgettable memory that will last a lifetime. For the team, they currently sit outside of the playoff picture, one-point behind the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils for one of the two wild-card positions. Three points ahead of the next team in the chase: Carolina Hurricanes.

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Ross Johnston, Andy Graziano
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Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Italian Stallion….always the under-sized underdog. Always fighting, scratching, and crawling for whatever scraps he could muster. In the ring, all about offense. If Compubox had been around in those times, it might have broken by the sheer volume of punches he threw.

Yet, there was no defense to be found. Took a beating, ended up battered, bruised and bloody, but always got up. Does the story end the same way for the Islanders, however? That part of the script is still being written.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)
Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter: The injury-ravaged Islanders have won two and lost two coming out of their league-mandated bye week, but let's be honest with each other here. They only played one solid game -- a 7-2 victory at Madison Square Garden over the Rangers.

They're going to need to be much better than a .500 hockey team if they're to crawl out of an 8-13-2 funk that has them at 53 percent of possible points -- slightly ahead of the 2013-14 team that finished 34-37-11 and out of the playoffs. As a reference point, last year's team that finished shy of the postseason by one point finished at 57 percent of possible points.

So, while the team licks its wounds, whether it be Johnny Boychuk, Casey Cizikas, Calvin de Haan, Nikolay Kulemin, Andrew Ladd, or Shane Prince, they need to figure out, once and for all, what they are doing, or attempting to do, in the defensive zone to even realistically start thinking about having a shot at Lord Stanley in April...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin Pryor, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders returned from their league-mandated bye week and captured their second consecutive win, this one in convincing fashion, trouncing the rival New York Rangers, 7-2 at Madison Square Garden.

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Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight looks on from behind the players bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders limp into the final game before the league-mandated five-day bye with questions being asked of them by head coach Doug Weight and the entire fanbase about their heart, grit, and battle level. 

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 (James Carey Lauder)
(James Carey Lauder)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterAs the new year is right around the corner and calendars turn from 2017 to 2018, I want to, first and foremost, take this opportunity to thank you, the reader! Thank you for reading, interacting and following me and the entire crew here at SNY this past year. We truly appreciate the support and we look forward to continuing our coverage as the Islanders battle in the hotly contested Metropolitan division.

With that said, I received many questions via Facebook yesterday and will take the opportunity over the next two scratchpads to answer them to the best of my knowledge. Without further ado, here we go….

Tags: Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and goalie Jaroslav Halak defend against Anaheim Ducks left wing Kevin Roy during first period at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey and goalie Jaroslav Halak defend against Anaheim Ducks left wing Kevin Roy during first period at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders rank second in the NHL in goals (123), trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have two of the top five point-getters in the league in John Tavares (21-24-45) and Josh Bailey (10-35-45). Tavares and Anders Lee's 21 goals are two off the league lead (Nikita Kucherov, Alex Ovechkin). Dynamic rookie Mathew Barzal is second in rookie scoring behind Vancouver's Brock Boeser (9-23-32). Jordan Eberle has been a terrific addition with 13 goals in 35 games.

The gaudy offensive numbers that propelled the Islanders to a 16-8-2 start as of Dec. 4 are all nice to look at. That brand of play indicates a team high on confidence in its goaltending, assuming the big save will come when it's needed most to ocmpensate for all their pressing in the offensive zone.

Problem is, New York's goaltenders have not held up their end of the bargain, which threatens to derail a season that has seen the team begin its ascent, from emerging stars in Barzal and Eberle to getting approval on securing a new home in Belmont, all while waiting for a contract extension with the franchise cornerstone Tavares.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)
New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

What we're seeing lately with regard to the New York Islanders is not unprecedented. The team is suffering from what I warned of, in print and on the Secondary Assist podcast: A regression. All teams go through it. The larger question is, how soon until they get out of it?

The answer to that will ultimately decide their 2017-18 fate, not the sole fact that they suffered one...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders lost their first game in regulation at Barclays Center this season Friday night to the Ottawa Senators, a wild 6-5 affair, and the reaction on social media from some was….well, sadly, expected.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterBad, choppy, slushy ice. Off-center scoreboard. Obstructed view seats. Not enough Islanders branding around the concourses. The LIRR. John Tavares' contract extension.

We've all heard the many complaints lodged over the course of the two-plus seasons the Islanders have called Barclays Center in Brooklyn home. However, the fact remains that the deal struck between former owner Charles Wang and BSE CEO Brett Yormark saved the team from relocating after the township of Hempstead decided it wasn't worth much of a fight to properly refurbish the Nassau Coliseum and keep the team where it played since their inception in 1972.

The relationship hasn't been perfect -- it's now known to be downright rocky at present -- but both sides have found a way to co-exist until a permanent solution is found. With the Jon Ledecky-Scott Malkin RFP for Belmont submitted last month, it's the Islanders' only known hope for getting a modern building of their own and remaining in the area...

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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

23 games in and it's clear to see these are not your 2016-17 New York Islanders, who stumbled out of the gate, leading to a one-point deficit in their chase to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

It's been a complete 180 for the New York Islanders since the 2016-17 season under the early season leadership of Jack Capuano, as the team is 12-7-2 for 26 points -- an eight point improvement -- and the start that the coaching staff and players said they were searching for in training camp. 

How they have done it has been unconventional, however, in the current times of the National Hockey League, and its strict adherence to defensive structure and keeping the puck out of your own net. It brings some of us older folk back to a time of the run-and-gun NHL when teams seemingly averaged four goals each per night, and a 3.00 goals against average was considered good.

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

I know, I know….21 games is the 'official' quarter mark of the 82-game NHL season. Actually, 20.5 to be exact, but hey, let's keep it simple here, okay?

With another scratchpad not due until next Sunday and the Islanders just completing their 19th game last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they will reach that mark in between columns. The Islanders will face the Flyers in back-to-back games -- in Brooklyn on Wednesday and in Philadelphia on Friday. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Andy Graziano
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Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter: How fitting that, on a night when the Islanders chose to honor all former and current members of the military, even those who wear collars and run on four legs, veteran Johnny Boychuk -- one of the team's most visible supporters of the armed forces -- stood out once again.

The 33-year old defenseman from Edmonton, now in his ninth NHL season and fourth with the Islanders, was a bit of a late-bloomer, not breaking into the league in a full-time capacity until he was 26, playing 51 games with the Bruins.

Before the start of the 2014-15 season, then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli needed to dump some cash to help out an inflating salary cap situation. Enter Islanders GM Garth Snow, who acquired the veteran defenseman at a time when his team needed one in the worst way, for two second-round picks and a conditional third rounder...

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 (Billy Hurst)
(Billy Hurst)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

In the world of professional sports, there isn't a player that will tell you mental preparation isn't important. In fact, it's almost as important as having more skill than your opponent which leads to victories. Sometimes, the sheer will to win outlasts a more talented foe.

Tags: Anders Lee, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) celebrates with teammates (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhen GM Garth Snow decided to call his 'go-to' in Peter Chiarelli back in June, it was to finalize a lopsided trade that would send Ryan Strome to Edmonton for what was deemed to be an Oilers salary dump in Jordan Eberle.

The 27-year-old forward from Regina had been on the Islanders radar for quite some time and Snow pounced at the opportunity to land the scoring winger who had averaged 27 goals and 62 points in seven previous seasons playing in Alberta while carrying a cap hit of $6 million over the next two seasons.

Eberle then proceeded to marry long-time girlfriend Lauren Rodych before coming to Brooklyn in a ceremony that featured one last hurrah with former and current members of the organization he called home since he was 20-years old...

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

A relatively quiet week since we last met, with the Islanders playing only two games, a 6-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights and a tough 4-3 loss on the road in Washington.

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New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)
New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Islanders fans have been desiring a 'true' first line for some time now. To be more specific, a true 'first-line winger' to play with captain John Tavares.

Last season, it wasn't quite good enough that Josh Bailey combined with Tavares and rapidly improving Anders Lee to forge a line that combined for 75 goals -- 31 percent of the team's overall production -- and 174 points. This year, through 13 games, it's even higher at 48 percent.

'He'll regress,' they said. 'He will come back down to earth and be the player he's always been offensively,' they added. 'He doesn't shoot enough' was screamed from the rooftops. And my personal favorite of all, 'How many of his assists are secondary assists, though?'

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

I know... I know. Joking about power being restored when there is a possibility for some of us to lose it this evening with a powerful nor'Easter approaching is a lame attempt at being clever. Just know, I'm terrible at titles, always have been and sometimes this is all you're going to get, unfortunately. Stay safe people.

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Ho-Sang, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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 (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis-born Scott Mayfield, a 6-foot-4, 227-pound defenseman, made an early career in the minor leagues, playing for the Islanders' AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Since 2013-14, when he was 21 years old, it was an early exit from training camp with the main squad to return to Connecticut for another year of riding the buses of the feeder league.

At the beginning of last season, Mayfield had racked up 194 games for the Tigers and only 11 at the NHL level, filling in when injuries called for an extra body to be recalled and made part of the 20-man roster. After being sent back once again, he was recalled and appeared in a career-high 25 games with New York, putting up very respectable numbers with nine points on two goals while averaging 14 minutes of ice time. This year, after paying his dues, the time has come.

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 (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After six games in which the Islanders have collected five of a possible 12 points, partially due to a struggling power play which has now reached 0-for-20, Newsday's Arthur Staple reported today after practice that Ryan Pulock will indeed make his season debut tomorrow night against the rival New York Rangers in Manhattan.

The 23-year old defenseman from Dauphin, Manitoba has played only 16 career games over two seasons despite being one of the most highly regarded prospects in the organization, due to injury and defensive deficiencies that reared their ugly head in Bridgeport under Brent Thompson and stuck around for training camp.

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

As Islanders Scratchpad returns for another season, the New York Islanders are five games into the 2017-18 campaign and sit with 50 percent of possible points (2-2-1). The team will wrap up their west coast swing on Sunday night in Los Angeles. 

 

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New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang controls the puck against New York Rangers left wing Andrew Desjardins during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang controls the puck against New York Rangers left wing Andrew Desjardins during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

"I believe they are learning. We have a nice five and a half hour plane trip ahead of us and I got about 15 minutes with each of them that will probably end up being 30. They're good kids, good players and have earned their spots. This is big boy hockey and that's a great defensive core over there (St.Louis). They'll figure those things out. They got better as the game went, but had some guys who played pretty well and demanded more ice time. I feel like I can rely on them, put them out in almost any situation. Barzie (Mathew Barzal) has been good, Josh (Ho-Sang) is fine."

Those comments made by Islanders head coach Doug Weight after yesterday's 3-2 come-from-behind shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn tell you something about how he might manage his rookies as the 2017-18 season moves along.

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers with right wing Jordan Eberle (7) during the second period of a preseason game at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers with right wing Jordan Eberle (7) during the second period of a preseason game at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders open up their 2017-18 season on Friday night in Columbus. How will the season shake out? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…


Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. We're on the precipice of a new season, and everyone is curious how this campaign will go for the Islanders. Is it me, or are the outlooks that are rolling in for this team all over the map?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After years of veterans seemingly playing without fear of repercussions -- even over younger players who might have been out-performing their elder counterparts -- the Islanders find themselves entering the 2017-18 season under new leadership and counting on an infusion of young talent more than ever.

Doug Weight, speaking to the media on Wednesday after practice, said Mathew Barzal has done enough to make the team coming out of training camp. Weight is also happy with Ryan Pulock's preseason, even though he did add the caveat, "there's a pretty darn good battle going on back there for starting jobs" (via Brian Compton, NHL.com on Twitter).

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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

The Islanders are just 10 days away from Opening Night, and the roster is beginning to take shape. What will the 23-man squad look like? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...


Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Welcome back to another season of Shooting from Point Blank Range, my man. We had lots of fun with this last year, so let's kick this season off by taking a look at the 'almost' final 23-man roster, which needs to be finalized by 5:00 p.m. on October 3. With some cuts already made, and Bridgeport camp underway, you can make some strong assertions of who will make the team and who won't. Any thoughts on how it's shaping up?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Doug Weight
Doug Weight

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders are preparing to open their first full season under head coach Doug Weight in 2017-18, looking to return to the playoffs after coming within a point of making a third straight appearance last year.

What we have seen out of Weight during his 40-game run in 2016-17 and so far this summer has been a drastic change from his predecessor, Jack Capuano.

Practices are harder and more up-tempo with a clear focus on physicality and cardiovascular work. He doesn't seem shy about giving his young players responsibility and an avenue to succeed. He has brought a relaxed, casual yet business like feel to the dressing room, with the ability to reach and communicate with his players on a more personal level...

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 (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The summer is over. Fall has arrived and with it, the return of the NHL. Training camps around the league will all be open for business soon, with the first on-ice sessions slated to begin Friday morning.

For the Islanders, it seems every year lately has been 'make or break,' for a variety of reasons. This year, however, the term might never be more accurate as the team looks to re-sign their franchise captain, finally bring some closure to a long, drawn out arena drama and return to the playoffs. The results of those three factors, each under their own cloud of uncertainty, could also decide the future fate of long-tenured general manager Garth Snow, who seems to be running out of time to turn this team into a true contender.

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Michael dal Colle, Nick Leddy, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates with the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

It's now full steam ahead to the beginning of training camp, as rookies are first on ice September 8, followed by veterans September 15.

Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Andy Graziano
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 (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down 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 to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.

Tags: Nikolay Kulemin, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down 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 to 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: Calvin De Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

 

Tags: Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders have not had an arbitration case that actually went to the independent decision maker in some time. I'm not sure many can even remember the last time it happened.

The one that sticks out in my head, and maybe the only one, is Mike Milbury and Tommy Salo in 1997. The Lubomir Visnovsky case does not qualify, as that decided the status of the defenseman's contract clause, rather than salary.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Andy Graziano
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down 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 to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Tags: Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)
New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down 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 to 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: Jason Chimera, Andy Graziano
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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

One of the most fluid and insanely unpredictable weeks in recent NHL memory is now over with the conclusion of the 2017 NHL entry draft. Prior to that, we had the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, awkwardly held in the middle of an awards gala, and some good old fashioned wheeling-and-dealing.

General managers have now returned home to celebrate their victories, or size up their losses, with five days before unrestricted free agency, which begins this Saturday, July 1.

Tags: John Tavares, Mikhail Grabovski, Ryan Strome, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (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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