With 2012 behind us, it's time to take a look at what's ahead for the Islanders in the upcoming year. We've got seven burning questions that need to be, or are likely to be, addressed in the coming 12 months. First up though is one question about the NHL:


#7 - Will there be a 2012-13 season?The deadline for a new CBA has now been set at a little under two weeks from now on January 11th. Finally, mercifully, we'll have either a resolution one way or another.

The way it seems, with both sides inching ever closer to one another, we'll have a deal by then. Neither side is dumb enough to lose a season at this point (right? right?) and there's too much money out there to be made from a partial season for them to continue to sit on their hands. Whether the league caves or the players do is a tough question to answer -- my hunch is some sort but I think both sides know that not having a season is much worse than having a partial season, although a large amount of damage has already been done.

I think there will be hockey by the end of January. Whether or not fans come back is a whole other story.

#6 - What will the Isles do with Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky?Let's assume that we have a season that starts sometime in January; what happens to the Isles biggest pending unrestricted free agents in captain Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky? Will the team attempt to sign them or trade them?

For Visnovsky, I think it's a pretty simple answer that, if the Islanders are out of contention, they'll try and move him for whatever they can at the trade deadline. Judging by the fact that he filed a grievance over his trade to the Islanders, I think it's safe to say he's not thrilled about being here. Maybe he doesn't hate it but, you know, the grievance wasn't a great sign. Going by that logic, he'd be an awfully tough free agent to retain. If the team doesn't feel they need him on the ice, get what you can for him and move on.

With Streit, things get a bit more complicated. He's the team's captain until further notice, and I've always said it's tough to deal your captain especially when you're a team like the Islanders where the national media will take any excuse to jump on you. Streit and the Islanders have been a good fit and while it's clear that the captain has lost a couple of steps in recent years, he's still a good defender who can contribute at the NHL level on a team that has had a less than stellar blue line in recent years (or would you like Mike Mottau re-signed?).

For the Islanders, Streit is an interesting case. There are a lot of young blue liners in Bridgeport and elsewhere in the system that could be here in a year or two. A two-year deal for Streit could make a lot of sense to at the very least bridge the gap between Streit and some of those kids. Or, if the team feels those kids are banging on the door right here and now, they could move Streit during the season with the hope of having a Matt Donovan or Aaron Ness fill in the gaps. For my money, I'll take the 34-year old Streit on a new two-year deal but it's definitely a complex situation.

#5 - Will Jack Capuano be the team's coach in 2014?When the going got tough in 2011-12, the heat on coach Jack Capuano got turned up. Not only that, but when hockey returns he'll again be sharing the bench with the rumored coach in waiting in Doug Weight and Bridgeport stand-out Brent Thompson. Capuano doesn't have his predecessor's assistants on the bench with him anymore, but he also didn't get to pick his current assistants. It's an odd spot to be in and one worth watching in the new year.

#4 - Will the Islanders buyout Rick DiPietro?One of the topics on everyone's mind when it comes to the new CBA is the possibility of it containing an amnesty clause, which would allow teams to buy-out one player on their roster. Of course, due to his contract, the first name on Isles' roster that comes to mind is Rick DiPietro. But would the team actually do it?

It makes sense. DiPietro has played 47 games in the last four seasons and gets injured quite often. His cap space, if available, could be used to fund other players on the roster or grab some free agents. His contract is also immense and the Islanders could save a little bit of money paying him off now (it's assumed that these buyouts would payout less than the actual value of the contract).

But I'm not so sure it's that simple. Under the currently expired CBA, the Islanders have quite a bit of cap room and aren't desperate to get rid of his contract (maybe a new cap would be different). And if we're talking simply about the amount of dollars the team spends, well, you'll still be paying DiPietro to not play for the team. It would be a lump sum and a reduced rate of what is actually left on his contract, but this is a team that is supposedly losing $10 million per year playing at the Coliseum. Could they afford, or would they want to spend money on, a buyout on top of normal operation losses?

Furthermore, if the Islanders take DiPietro off the cap, they may still need to go sign someone else to reach the cap floor (or not, depending on how everything shakes out). Then things could end up sort of like the Brian Rolston situation, where Rolston's $5 million hit was necessary to help the team reach the cap floor. What's to keep the Islanders from holding onto DiPietro's $4.5 million hit to reach the cap floor then, once the team is breaking even or in the black at the Barclays Center and they don't need him to float the cap floor anymore, buying DiPietro out? Oh, and there's the whole allegedly solid relationship DiPietro has with Charles Wang. So that's a wildcard.

This one's really complicated and probably a bit easier to figure out once we know if there's an amnesty clause and, if there is one, what it looks like.

#3 - Are the Islanders going to start spending more money?So, now that the Islanders have a deal to move into the Barclays for 25 years, will they start spending like a team that is going to have more cash coming in? I don't think it will happen immediately, but think it will be a gradual push towards spending more money. The Islanders are still looking at about the same amount of money coming in until they actually get to Barclays. One thing they may want to do is spend a bit more now so that in 2015 when the team moves to Brooklyn, the team is a contender and capable of putting as many fans in as many seats as possible.

This is sort of what the Nets did leading up to their move to Brooklyn where the last couple years in New Jersey were bare-bones teams so they could make big free agent splashes right before coming to Brooklyn. The Nets created quite a buzz by signing Deron Williams and attempting to trade for Dwight Howard this past summer. I don't think the Islanders should pare down to any kind of 'bare bones' team -- they sort of are already not having made the playoffs since 2007 -- but they need to make sure that all of these prospects they've drafted recently are ready to step up and play big roles in the coming years. And yeah, signing some big free agent(s) right before the move isn't a bad idea either.

#2 - Will the Islanders make the playoffs?In a shortened season, it's going to be a crap-shoot for most teams to get into the playoffs. The NHL has had a lot of parity lately and with a shortened season, it allows for luck to play a bigger factor and gives the best and worst teams less of a chance to separate from the pack. The Islanders will certainly have a good chance to make the playoffs in a shortened season.

If we assume this season is cancelled and the team doesn't take the ice until October, it gets a bit more complicated. The team could very easily lose the services of Visnovsky, Streit and Evgeni Nabokov to free agency, creating a few gaps that will have to be filled by younger players. The key to the Islanders in this scenario and the coming years is going to hinge on how effective players like Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter, Aaron Ness, Matt Donovan, Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson, David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas, and many more are at the NHL level. If many of these draft picks turn into solid NHL players, the Islanders should have no problem competing for playoff spots year in and year out.

#1 - Are the Islanders going to buyout their lease at the Nassau Coliseum?Well, we left the most nebulous question of all for last. The Islanders should be making more money in Brooklyn at the Barclays than they are now at the Coliseum. There's no doubt about that. Whether or not the team thinks that sum is enough to off set the cost of paying off Nassau County to skip town early is a whole other question.

And yet another question is whether or not the lease can even be bought out. The cash strapped Nassau County might be interested in the proposition, but could it even be done? The Islanders' lease at the Coliseum is said to be "iron-clad" and requires that every Islander home game be played at Nassau Coliseum through 2015, part of John Pickett's 1985 re-negotiation of the lease.

Tags: Arena News, Islanders, jack capuano, lubomir visnovsky, mark streit, new year, News, Editorial Aside, questions, Rick DiPietro

 (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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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)

The Islanders have opened the season at 2-3-1 (five points) and sit in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, largely due to an offense that has struggled. 

Through the first six games, the Islanders have scored just 15 goals and sit at 24th in the league with 2.50 goals per game. Head coach Doug Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple that the top line will need to get things going. 

"Chances have been few and far between, but they've gotten their share," Weight said. "When they go in they'll go in. I think it was a rolling puck. I don't think he's fighting anything."

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Like every story, there are at least two sides to the drama surrounding John Tavares and his future with the New York Islanders. Let's start with the dark side.

Beyond only certain corners of the New York metropolitan area, the real, hard truth is that it's difficult to find anyone who believes Tavares will sign another long-term contract with the Islanders.

If you were to run into any NHL power broker, influencer, or insider who is unaffiliated with the Islanders and bought them a few shots of Jameson, they might tell you any or all of the following...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)
Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)

First Period 

Second Period 

Third Period 

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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 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)

LW Anthony Beauvillier was a late scratch from the Islanders' lineup on Saturday night against the Sharks. 16-year veteran LW Jason Chimera will take his place.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier
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 (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders (1-3-0) continue their annual swing through California after falling 3-2 to Anaheim on Wednesday.

"We have to get some pucks in and find a way because these are games that I feel like we should win," coach Doug Weight told the Islanders' official website.

Tags: San Jose Sharks
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Thomas Greiss will get the start in net and Jordan Eberle told reporters that he is ready to play Saturday night against the Sharks. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

From Scott Gordon to Jack Capuano and now Doug Weight, the legacy continues.

On the MSG postgame show Wednesday night -- almost always the "Happy Recap," win or lose -- Weight talked about how the Islanders "did some great things." Moments after, in speaking with the press, Weight pointed out, "We did a lot of good things on the power play."

The Islanders lost in Anaheim, 3-2. They have won one of their first four games. After going 0-5 last night, Weight's team is now 0-15 on the power play this season...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )

Brock Nelson scored his first two goals of the season, but the Islanders fell to the Ducks in Anaheim, 3-2, at the Honda Center. >> Read more

Tags: Brock Nelson
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 (Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))
(Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))

Jaroslav Halak will be in goal tonight for the Islanders against the Ducks in Anaheim.

The Isles will use the same skaters as their last game, with Cal Clutterbuck (hip) still not ready to return.

Head coach Doug Weight strongly considered putting Ryan Pulock in the game, but said he's "very happy" with Scott Mayfield's game, according to Art Staple of Newsday.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Pulock
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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

With the question lingering about where the Islanders will play in the near future, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said the organization is putting all of its efforts to build an arena at Belmont Park. 

On Tuesday, Ledecky spoke to reporters and said the Islanders plan to play next season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but beyond that, ownership hopes that the team can get their desired arena in Elmont. 

"We are locked and loaded on Belmont," Ledecky said, according to Newsday. "We have blinders on for Belmont. We are not looking at other places or other opportunities. We want to make Belmont a reality. ... The best home and the only home for the New York Islanders moving forward should be the Belmont arena." 

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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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 (Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)
(Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO, Brett Yormark, doesn't believe the Islanders stay at the Barclays Center makes any economic sense. 

Yormark recently spoke with Sports Business Daily's John Lombardo about his company, and how the Barclays Center has evolved since its inception five years ago. Everything has gone smoothly for the new arena except for the Islanders, who have not produced the numbers Yormark expected. 

"The economics just don't work," Yormark said. "It's a Long Island team trying to create a fan base in Brooklyn, and to date it has ben met with very modest success andnot at the numbers we have hoped."

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Picture ARod going on Fox in the middle of this Yankees playoff series, and saying he hears that Joe Girardi will be fired no matter what. Or Ron Duguay going on MSG Network early in this Rangers season, and declaring that Rick Nash will be traded before Christmas.

This just doesn't happen. Usually, former athletes straddle the line in their broadcast jobs when talking about their old teams.

But this is Islanders Country, where…oh, for once, can everybody just leave this franchise alone?

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Anders Lee tied the game up at two with a minute left, but the Blues earned the win in the shootout, 3-2, at the Barclays Center >> Read more

Tags: Anders Lee
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Islanders will carry the same lineup as last game against the Sabres with G Thomas Greiss starting over Jaroslav Halak in net against the Blues at 1 p.m. 

Greiss allowed five goals in the season opener against the Blue Jackets before head coach Doug Weight pulled him with Halak taking over. He gets a shot to redeem himself today. 

Tags: Thomas Greiss
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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Two teams hoping Saturday night victories were a sign of things to come will square off Monday afternoon when the New York Islanders host the St. Louis Blues in a Columbus Day matinee at Barclays Center.

The Islanders scored three second-period goals in a span of 1:47 in a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Saturday's home opener.

The host Blues, who also played their home opener Saturday, scored the game's first three goals in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

John Tavares scored the game's first two goals to help set the pace for the Islanders in a 6-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.  >> Read more

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders begin their third, most pivotal and possibly even final season of playing home games at Barclays Center on Saturday night. They hope Friday night wasn't a harbinger of things to come.

A pair of teams looking to bounce back from season-opening losses will meet when the Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres.

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 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The Islanders also are hoping to make a run at the playoffs this season. They're led by captain John Taveras, who is in the final year of his contract, and they added Jordan Eberle in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers to provide more offense.

"I think we're a little more talented than we've been," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

The Islanders' top defensive pairing is Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

C Josh Ho-Sang will be a healthy scratch (with Jason Chimera in) on Friday night when the Islanders open their season agains tthe Blue Jackets in Columbus at 7 p.m.

Thomas Greiss will start in net over Jaroslav Halak.

On defense, Scott Mayfield is in with Ryan Pulock out.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss
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 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The players are no longer getting coffee in the locker room and whispering to each other, "Cappy still here?"

A third goalie isn't being stashed on the roster, and limiting the reps of the excellent No. 1 and 1As, because of the long-shot notion he's the next Patrick Roy.

As a result, and because of the simple fact that they have the player personnel to get it done in a conference that is not steeped in quality, the Islanders will qualify for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Chris Botta
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 (Paul Sancya/AP)
(Paul Sancya/AP)

Former Islander Mike Bossy thinks the team willl deal pending free agent and captain John Tavares if the team isn't in the mix around Christmas.

"If the Islanders are no longer in the run-up to Christmas," Bossy said, according to 91.9 Sports, "it's sure that Tavares is gone!" 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bossy, who no longer works in the Islanders organization, doing only spot-duty on behalf of Barclays Center, has pulled no punches over the course of the past year when discussing Tavares' potential departure from the only team he has ever known...

 

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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight not only has high hopes for Nick Leddy this year, but he also believes the defenseman can become one of the elite players in the entire league. 

Leddy, who finished last season with 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists), is entering his fourth season with the Islanders and eighth in the league. Weight believes he can only get better this year. 

"He should be in the conversation for those [All-Star] teams and Norris Trophies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "He can skate, he can shoot, he's a savvy player as well. Maybe he doesn't have the deception of a [Brent] Burns or a [Erik] Karlsson, but there's probably three people in the world that do so I wouldn't hold that against him. He's right there in that upper echelon of D and he's going to be big for us this year for sure."

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (Brad Penner)
Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (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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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders Point Blank founder and former SNY contributor Chris Botta will be back with us this season, posting multiple columns each week.


When we last left off about five years ago, the New York Islanders were a franchise without a long-term home -- a team entering each season merely yearning to grab one of the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

While many faces - including the latest batch of intriguing young players - have changed, in the big picture, not a lot else has.

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New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony Beauvillier scored twice in New York's preseason finale as the Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:21 PHI Michael Raffl; Assists: Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier
  • 13:10 NYI Dennis Seidenberg; Assists: Cal Clutterbuck, Stephen Gionta

Second period:

  • 2:22 NYI Anders Lee (power play); Assists: Devon Toews, Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 3:07 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Casey Cizikas, Adam Pelech

Third period

  • 0:32 NYI Beauviller (power play); Assists: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock
  • 6:32 PHI Wayne Simmonds (power play); Assists: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek
  • 19:36 NYI Steve Bernier (ENG)
Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Josh Ho-Sang, Philadelphia Flyers, Stephen Gionta
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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)

Anders Lee had two points, Mathew Barzal had three points and Jordan Eberle added the go-ahead goal in the second period to lead the Islanders to a 3-1 win over Sabres on Friday evening at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. >> Read more

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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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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders have submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park, NY, reports Jim Baumbach of Newsday. Bidders had until today to submit a proposal.

The Islanders can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January. Barclays Center is reportedly unhappy with the Islanders as tenants, and the team has been seeking other options.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhat was the worst kept secret in the NHL and all across New York and its surrounding suburbs became reality today.

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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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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders RW Josh Ho-Sang supports the NFL and NBA players who took action following President Trump's comments about kneeling during the national anthem. 

Being a Canadian, Ho-Sang can't relate to the athletes personally. But he does support their protest because they are standing up for what they believe in. 

"I think what the NFL players are doing is amazing. It's good that they're all sticking together," Ho-Sang told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "I mean, I'm Canadian, so I don't have too much input on the matter itself. It will affect me living in the States, but the biggest thing is it's unfortunate that the message may have gotten lost a little. Now it's becoming a battle between the NFL and the president and originally [the protests] started because of police brutality and the mistreatment of different races."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

If training camp ended right now, Mat Barzal would break the team with the big club.

After the Islanders' 3-0 preseason victory over the Devils on Monday night, head coach Doug Weight was asked, based on what he's seen so far, if Barzal would make the team. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think we all wanted to see more of what Barzal could do when he got his look with the Isles early last year. But he seemed tentative in the mere two games he cracked the lineup, and with the team struggling, Jack Capuano didn't exhibit much patience before Barzal was ultimately sent back to Juniors.

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal recorded first period goals for the Islanders and they held serve the rest of the way to topple the Devils in a split squad game, 3-0. >> Read more

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

As the regular draws closer, the Islanders announced they have slimmed their training camp roster to 31 players. 

Michael Dal Colle was among the players cut from pro camp, as he was assigned to the AHL squad. The fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft tallied 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games with the Sound Tigers last year. He has yet to play in a regular-season NHL game. 

The team sent 11 others to the AHL, placed four players on waivers and cut six players on professional tryout contracts. 

Below is a full breakdown of the moves:

Tags: Michael dal Colle
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows has agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

The 19-year-old, who is the son of former NHL All-Star Brian Bellows, was the Isles' first-round selection (19th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

He had seven goals and seven assists in 34 games last year during his freshman season at Boston University.

Bellows also scored two goals on eight shots in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships against Canada this past January, which the Americans won in a shootout, 5-4.

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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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 (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

In split squad games against the Flyers, the Islanders earned a 3-2 win at home while dropping an overtime decision of the same score on the road. >> Read more


Islanders-Flyers Game 1 (PPL Center)

First Period: 

  • 2:24 NYI: Matthew Barzal (Power Play); Assists: Joshua Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers
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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Barclays Center has been criticized for having poor ice by certain players since the Islanders became tenants two years ago, but captain John Tavares, is trying not to analyze it too much. 

"I don't try to think about it a whole lot, I think the more you worry about it the more kind of gets in your head,'' Tavares told Newsday on Tuesday afternoon. "It's obvious we're not playing in a traditional rink that was built for hockey. "They've done a lot of work just to make it playable for us over the last couple of years, just trying to make the conditions as best as possible with what you can do." 

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Corey Pronman is the NHL prospects writer at The Athletic. I recently had a chance to sit down with him and get his impressions on the Islanders' system, including some of the players who are soon expected to graduate to the big club. Here's what he had to say on some of the team's top youngsters...

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Michael dal Colle, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield skates by New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield skates by New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Islanders lost to the New York Rangers 1-0 on Neal Pionk's overtime goal on Monday at Madison Square Garden. >> Read more

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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano: SNY.TV: 

The New York Islanders missed the Stanley Cup playoffs last season by one point, in large part due to starting the season 6-10-4. The points that teams bank earlier in the season come home to roost when the hockey season hits games Nos. 50, 60, 70 and beyond.

Although the Islanders recorded 58 points over their final 45 games last year, their slow start cost them. Whether the fault belongs to the players, former head coach Jack Capuano, the special teams or another factor, the result -- a spring and summer spent watching other teams battle for perhaps the most prestigious trophy in sports -- is done.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: There's this moment when you get off the Meadowbrook Parkway and merge onto Charles Lindbergh Boulevard that you catch your first glimpse of the Nassau Coliseum on the horizon. At this point in my life, I have seen it so many times that it had become old hat. But on Sunday, as it appeared in the distance, the modern new steel slats created such a stark contrast against a bright September sky that it caught me off guard.

I hadn't been to the Nassau Coliseum since Game 6 of the first round of the 2015 playoffs, when I left it in my rearview mirror, tears in my eyes, after the Islanders' 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. I hadn't even seen it since. So when the gussied up exterior initially shocked my system, I wasn't sure what to expect.

But as I'd learn throughout the day, this was the same Old Barn I left 27 months earlier. No amount of steel or paint could change that...

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Philadelphia Flyers right wing Philippe Myers (61) 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 Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Philadelphia Flyers right wing Philippe Myers (61) 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)

Recap

John Tavares scored the Islanders' first and final goal of the game to lead the Islanders to a 3-2 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the first preseason game of the season. >> Read more 

Tags: John Tavares
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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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