The following is a collection of unedited feedback we received from Islander Country following Wednesday's announcement. We weren't able to include everyone who wrote in but thank you to all who submitted your story.

***

Today is a day filled with mixed emotions.  While our loyal fan base will always remember that Nassau Coliseum was our home for over 40 years, we all know that the building has come to serve as a microcosm of Nassau County's political, provincial, and short-sighted agenda.  Beginning in the 2015-16 season, players, fans, and management will no longer be ridiculed that their arena should be called the "Mausoleum."  There will be no more cloud of uncertainty as to "Where will we play?", no more Coliseum invasions by jilted Quebec Nordiques' fans, and no more concerns that our future is in the hands of NIFA, Kate Murray, Wayne Wink, and others.  I will not miss the facilities at the Coliseum, nor should anyone.  I will, however, miss the convenience of the short car ride to Uniondale and back, the car horns honking the "Let's Go Islanders!" chant, and the passion and roar of the crowd during those fleeting moments of success over the past 20 years.  This is a new start.  It is a new opportunity.  Today, we continue to keep the Drive for Five Alive.  Here's to the future success of the Islanders.  Your resilient fans are behind you.
- Jacob R.
I have mixed opinions. On one point ill miss the 5 minute commute to a game. On the other hand I'm happy the arena situation is done with and I can go back to enjoying the Islanders knowing they will be staying in New York. There is no excuse for not bringing in free agents and spending above the floor. We have the building blocks to be succesful again and now the arena will not be an excuse anymore.

- Brett C.

As a Suffolk County resident, it will undoubtedly be a touch less convenient to attend games. Instead of a 35-40 minute car ride, it's an hour plus investment via the LIRR. But you know where it would have bee a lot more inconvenient to get to games? Quebec. Or Seattle. Or Kansas City.

I've seen some members of the media presenting this as a Nassau vs. Brooklyn thing. Sophisticated fans know that's a false choice. It was never between Nassau and Brooklyn. It was always Brooklyn or bust, and bust was an out-of-state relocation.
So to know that I will be able to raise my kids on New York Islanders hockey for at least the next 28 years? That's priceless to me. And the knowledge that this franchise will now benefit from the full exposure of the New York City market, play in a state-of-the-art facility, and become infinitely more attractive to impending free agents? Well, that's all the better.
I truly believe this will be a day we'll all remember as we watch JT hoist the Cup over his head on a float going down Atlantic Avenue.
- Brian E.
I could not be happier with this move. As an Islanders fan who has since moved from NY, it will be great to be able to get back to Brooklyn to see the Islanders in a state of the art building and I have no doubt that the residents of Brooklyn will embrace this team. I could not be happier for my father, who was lucky enough to have experienced the dynasty years. I cannot imagine what he would have done if the Islanders have left New York. Is this situation perfect? No, but it is far better than our current situation and infinately better then KC, Quebec etc…Thank you Charles Wang and GO ISLANDERS!
- Jonathan M.
Huge fan of the blog since the Botta days.  Love what you're doing over there.  I'm 24... been watching the Isles since I was 2.  I live in Suffolk.  It's a sad day that they are moving for sure, but for the first time in a long time, they finally have some clarity and direction with the future base of the franchise, and that excites me the most.  No more having to hear rumors of them leaving the area and going to Canada, or KC or Seattle.  Now they have a sticking point and a sales pitch.  They move to a great arena, and bring a whole new sector of fanbase into the equation, and they become a hugely attractive place to play for players around the league.  I think the positives of the move for the future stability of the organization out-way the negatives.  Thanks for letting me give my input, and Go Isles!
- James H.
I don't know how to feel. As a 19 year old, I have no memories from the 80s or 90s but of the 2000s. The Coliseum was old and decrepit but loud and beautiful. I could sit in 315 or 112 and enjoy the same high quality views, sometimes 315 was better for the experience. But the writing was on the wall and it's better Brooklyn than anywhere else so credit goes to Wang. I will miss the Old Barn as much as anyone but I look forward to a fresh start in the best arena in the city. 
PS Memo to Markowitz- "The Stanley Cup is not in New York. It's on Long Island"-Billy Smith
- Christian A.
I have mixed emotions about the move but at the end of the day it is really exciting. I currently live in Nassau but will be moving to Western Suffolk so the commute will not be ideal, but you can't commute at all to Kansas City, Seattle or Quebec. I think the players and us fans deserve better and now we are going to get it. While not in our backyards anymore they will still be the New York Islanders and I will continue to cheer for this team until the day I die.
- Daniel L.

As a resident of Nassau County, I am upset about the hole this will blow in the Nassau County's tax revenue. I wonder what fees County Executive Mangano will raise (if he is still in office) so he can continue to say that he did not raise property taxes?

As an Islanders fan, I am sad that they are leaving their historical home. I have had half or full season tickets for the last 5 years. There is no way I will continue to do that when they are in Brooklyn. It will be a weekend plan at best starting in 2015-2016. Though, it will be nice to go to a building that is not as old as I am.

- Brian from Massapequa
As a former resident of Nassau County who grew up 15 minutes from the Coliseum during the glory years I admit there there is a part of me that is sorry to see the Isles leave.  For my generation they helped to forge an identity for Long Island when they won the cups.  However given the franchise's trajectory and the inept/corrupt political scene on Long Island (and Hempstead in particular), the move to Brooklyn is the best thing that could happen to the Isles.  The team moves into first class facilities, the potential fanbase goes up astronomically, and they become a magnet for free agents with their solid core of young talent.  I no longer live in the area so I won't comment on getting to the arena, but it's always more exciting to watch a game with people actually in the seats.  
Thanks to Charles Wang for putting up with the mess he bought into, and for keeping the team in the area.  Now its time to build a team that contends for the cup on an annual basis, and makes the Rag$ look like the pathetic franchise that they truly are.
- Tim from St. Paul, MN
I'm thrilled! As a longtime season ticketholder who has been schlepping from Brooklyn on the LIRR for years, This is great pwrsonally. But more importantly, it's a great move for the team.  It keeps the team on Long Island - remember that Brooklyn and Queens are part of Long Island.
- Faye from Brooklyn

As a lifelong fan who grew up in Bethpage off of Hemp. Tpke, played travel hockey and even got to play a few HS games at the Coliseum and who currently lives in Manhattan I could not be happier about this move.

It is sad that it is now official that Nassau will never be home to the Isles again but we knew that the dream was dead when the referendum failed. This is the only way the Isles would stay in the area and hey we still get to say we're on Long Island.

Living and working in Manhattan I only got to 3-5 games a year, now I plan on buying season tickets so this is nothing but the best outcome for me personally.Big Picture this is will make the Isles relevant again, with the cache that comes from playing in Brooklyn, the prospects of young talented Isles team in a sparkling new arena, I mean the sky is the limit to how far this will take them in terms of new fans an being recognized as a true NY team.

I am sad the coliseum will be torn down and Kate Murray will look to build a Target and maybe the Source II and the loss this will all have on the local economy, but Nassau has no one else to blame than themselves.

Wang is no angel but I thank him for keeping the NY ISLANDERS alive and well!!

- Mike C.
Had season tix personally over a decade, old man had them before me since the mid '70's.  Ecstatic the team is staying in NY, hate losing the island/suburb identity.  Hate becoming the big money corporate sports entity even though we all know its the only way the team survives.  Hate even more that I must give up my tix, moreso for my kids who have become big fans over the last 5 or so years.  I hate that when I was 12 I was celebrating a cup win on Hempstead tpke., and my son at 12 will be watching as the old barn is falling apart, knowing that there are only 3 yrs left til "our" team becomes less personal.  What was a 4 1/2 hour night coming from suffolk just turned into a 7 hour night, and we all know prices are going up, let alone the train costs.  Good for team, crappy for those of us who have stuck with it for so long will no longer be able to attend.
- J.C.

As a former season ticket holder (from New Jersey) and Islander fan since 1975, this is a great move.  But I'm being selfish.  The presence of mass transit makes this a great buy, especially during the week and most especially if you work in Manhattan. 

Let me take this opportunity to address how and why (in my opinion) the Islanders' attendance has eroded over the last 25 years. It's not just the mediocre or bad teams. It's the move from 8:00pm weeknight starts to 7:00.  Commentators forget how many Islanders' fans work in "the city" and must contend with the LIE going eastbound at rush hour.  I remember seeing fans routinely arrive at weeknight games during the second period!  Prior management played to its "fan base" and I guess that works...if you work in Jericho and live in Merrick. Many other longtime fans felt the inconvenience, and guess what? Over the years, they stayed away. They've had no shortage of reasons.

The move to Brooklyn will immediately make the Islanders "major league" in the eyes of the overall metropolitan area media, in the exact same way the Nets' move to Brooklyn and even the Devils' move to Newark changed how they were perceived almost from the date their moves were announced.  The Islanders are not covered by any of the big three city dailies, and in a move reminiscent of minor-league teams, rely on a college radio station for their game broadcasts. They will get more fans, more advertisers, more sponsors, and they will sign up quickly in advance of the actual move.  It's a win-win for the franchise, the NHL and for fans living west of the Queens/Nassau border.

On the other hand, Suffolk County fans will essentially lose their team.  This is a 30-to-45-minute move west, even in the best of circumstances.  For them, this will be almost as bad as the Jets moving from Shea Stadium to Giants Stadium.

Now, if we can only get a real coach...

- Eric D.
It's a bittersweet feeling; 20% bitter, 80% sweet. The Islanders I know are Long Island's team. They play, not necessarily at the Coliseum, but in the heart of Long Island. As a fan since 1992, when I was 7-years-old, their woes have helped ingrain the Islanders, in my mind, as our little secret. Hockey fans, as a whole, are a bit of a secret society in the States. The Islanders, due in part to their storied history, their arena, their woes, and their geography gave Long Islanders an underdog status the face of bigger, more popular destinations and teams in the area. It's an underdog status that helps build an identity, and our identity as Long Islanders included the New York Islanders. It remains to be seen how much of that will be lost. Still it is bitter to hear Mayor Bloomberg speak of a celebration down the Canyon of Heroes and not Hempstead Turnpike. It's bitter to hear Marty Markowitz speak of the Islanders as if they are Brooklyn's own  as if it were an expansion team. Brooklyn may be only twenty or so miles away geographically, but our New York Islanders are now lightyears closer to the heartbeat of the world. Our secret... it's out.
 
Yet it's sweet, so sweet, to hear of talk of a celebration in New York at all. And it's wonderful to hear about how the impact of more fans, more corporate sponsorships and above all, certainty will positively impact this franchise. It is sweet to know that positive impact will be effected close to its original home. It's easy for people to get bogged down in fantasy, such as plight to keep the team in Nassau County or relocate to a barren Suffolk. As Islander fans, as Long Islanders, reality has become all too real a spectre in the last 10 years, a negative reality.  This new reality, one of a propsperous and certain future for our beloved team, and for it to remain ours, is the best news we could have hoped for.
- Josh J.
Good for Wang and the organization, the Nassau County is a mismanaged entity and has zero business sense. Glad I left that hole 13 years ago. Great people, disgusting politicians. Hope the taxpayers enjoy their Molly Hatchett and Zebra concerts.
- Tom
 

I have some conflicting feelings about the Islanders move to Brooklyn.

On the one hand, I'm thrilled/relieved that the team has finally extricated itself from "The Old Barn", an arena everyone loathed and the owner couldn't make any money from.  Charles Wang has (presumably) moved himself into a situation where he can actually turn a profit from hockey operation, a propsect that should encourage him to invest more money into his team.  That's the Islanders fans' hope: with a new home, Charles Wang opens his wallet once again and lets Garth Snow sign some premier free agents.  From a competitive standpoint, the Islanders' future appears brighter than it's been in years (maybe even decades).

At the same time, though, I must confess to being dejected over the fact that Long Island is losing its only professional sports team.  I grew up on Long Island.  I have spent nearly all of my 43 years living on Long Island.  I plan on dying on Long Island.  The fact that the Islanders' address will soon have a New York City zip code depresses me.  So much more so because I won't be able to remain a full season ticket holder.  I live east of Port Jefferson.  Getting to the Nassau Coliseum was enough of a hike as it is.  To get to Brooklyn from where I live, I need to spend two hours on the Long Island Rail Road.  That makes remaining a full season ticket holder is out of the question for me.  I'll have to look into buying a weekend game package.  It's not the same thing as being a full season ticket holder though.  Other subscribers will know what I'm talking about when I say it's a point of pride to have tickets to an ENTIRE season worth of games.  (And let's not forget that Islanders season tickets are VERY affordable.  I fear how expensive they might become in Brooklyn.)

But in the end, I have to understand that Jay Jacobs and Kate Murray made it impossible for the Islanders to remain in Nassau County, and I am comforted by the fact that Charles Wang kept the team in the vicinity.  He didn't move them to Seattle or Quebec City or Hamilton.  He kept them within a two hour train ride from my house.  I'll manage it.  The commute will be tolerable for a winning team.

Let's Go Islanders!

- Keith D.
I'm thrilled!  Nassau County, and Hempstead in particular no longer deserve a major league franchise. They have tried to drive the Islanders away and now they have succeeded. Kate Murray can enjoy her weed-filled lot in Uniondale while I watch the Isles on TV Like so many other things in Nassau County, I grew up there, but I left for better living and opportunities in Nevada.

I think I'm a Nets fan now!  (I'm in the Kings DMA).

- John K.
I've been an Islander fan all my life, and am ecstatic to learn that my nightmares of this team moving to Kansas City or Quebec City will never be realized. At the same time, I'll be leaving for college next year, and am not effected by the team moving from a few minute drive to a marginally more expensive and lengthy time-wise train ride. I'm sadden that younger friends and family of mine won't be able to as easily take advantage of student seating that was more than affordable to me and several friends for more than half of home games. What troubles me is the ever fleeting reasons to remain in Nassau County. Aside from my family residing here and my favorite team playing only a few minutes away, there is little reason for me to return to the Town of Hempstead. Why should I stay here when I could live in Brooklyn or even Manhattan and have quicker access to the city and just as fast (if not faster) transportation to the Barclay's Center? I'm more than sure my parents will move out of their overly-priced neighborhood with the Islanders gone once I venture off into life. I also worry for local businesses around the Uniondale area, and how much they will suffer without generating revenue that surrounds the team. A small part of me does feel satisfied that this should lead to a slight decrease in tax revenue for the town; a last little "FU" to Kate Murray as Charles and Garth hop onto the LIRR and get as far away from her and Mangano as possible. 
- Ethan T.
For me, today can only be described as bittersweet.

Bitter because the Isles will no longer truly be Long Island's team; bitter because it illustrates in stark relief the truly dysfunctional nature of Nassau politics; bitter because in just a few more years, the old barn where I saw my first hockey game, fell in love with the team, and got to know like the back of my hand, will see hockey no more; bitter because all of the memories made there can never truly be relocated to a new arena...

But, it is also very sweet.  Sweet because we know our beloved team will stay (somewhat) local; sweet because we will finally have a new arena; sweet because now our owner and general manager have no excuses when it comes to signing free agents (other than a general unwillingness to spend); and sweet because the years full of "what ifs?" and "what will happen?" are finally over.

But when all is said and done, all I--all anyone--should really say is this:  LET'S GO ISLANDERS!

- Chris M.

Tags: Arena News, Islanders

Oct 13, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save on a shot attempt by New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 13, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save on a shot attempt by New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Brock Nelson scored his 100th career goal on Saturday night in the Islanders' 5-2 loss to the Predators.

Nelson's goal came in the third quarter to put his team on the board after falling behind 3-0. The goal was Brock's first of the season after he was forced to wait the entire offseason to reach the 1,000-goal milestone.

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Oct 13, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (3) has his shot blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 13, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (3) has his shot blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

The Islanders fell into an early 3-0 hole and couldn't recover in a 5-2 loss to the Predators on Saturday night in Nashville. << Box score 

First period

  • 15:25 NV Calle Jarnkrok; Assists: Nick Bonino, Ryan Hartman
  • 16:37 NV Filip Forsberg; Assists: Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson
  • 19:50 NV Viktor Arvidsson; Assists: Ryan Johansen, Dan Hamhuis
Tags: Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson
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Oct 8, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders celebrate the goal by New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Oct 8, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders celebrate the goal by New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

It was just the fourth game in an 82-game regular season, but the Nashville Predators had a little extra incentive for Thursday night's visit from the Winnipeg Jets.

In their first meeting since Winnipeg knocked them out of the Western Conference semifinals last spring with a 5-1 Game 7 decision, Nashville pieced together its best game of the young season, getting Pekka Rinne's 52nd career shutout in a 3-0 decision.

"It's Winnipeg, you know, we just lost against them in the playoffs and you could sense that," Rinne said. "There was a lot of emotion on the ice. I thought the first period was the fastest hockey so far this year." >> Read more

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Jan Kovar (43) Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)
Jan Kovar (43) Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)

The Islanders placed F Jan Kovar on unconditional waivers on Wednesday, the team announced.

The former KHL star, who signed a reported one-year, $2 million deal with the Isles over the summer, failed to make the final cut out of training camp and never showed up to AHL Bridgeport.

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Oct 8, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) attempts to cover up the puck as San Jose Sharks center Melker Karlsson (68) and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) battle for the rebound during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Oct 8, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40) attempts to cover up the puck as San Jose Sharks center Melker Karlsson (68) and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) battle for the rebound during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK (AP) Robin Lehner stopped 35 shots for his ninth career shutout in his New York debut, leading the Islanders to a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.

Anders LeeScott MayfieldMatt Martin and Casey Cizikas scored to help New York get new coach Barry Trotz his first win at home. The Islanders, who opened the season with an overtime win at Carolina last Thursday, then lost their home opener to Nashville two nights later.

Lehner, who signed with the Islanders in July, played for the first time since last March 29 for Buffalo. He left that game against Detroit because of a panic attack and was subsequently treated for alcohol and drug addiction and also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD and PTSD...

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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

NEW YORK -- The season is just two games old, but it has already been a transitional one for the New York Islanders and their new head coach, Barry Trotz.

The adaptation process will continue Monday afternoon, when Robin Lehner makes his first start for the Islanders in a Columbus Day matinee against the San Jose Sharks at Barclays Center.

It will be the third game of the season for both teams. The Islanders dropped their home opener Saturday, when they fell to the Nashville Predators, 4-3.

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Oct 6, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) celebrates his goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 6, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) celebrates his goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Isles fought, but couldn't comeback against the Predators in a 4-3 loss in their home opener at Barclays Center on Saturday night. << Box score 

First period

  • 3:42 NSH Viktor Arvidsson; Assists: Filip Forsberg, P.K. Subban
  • 12:01 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Josh Bailey
  • 16:56 NSH Mattias Ekholm; Assists: P.K. Subban, Colton Sissons
Tags: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey
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Oct 4, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) is congratulated by his teammates after his second period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Oct 4, 2018; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders center Valtteri Filppula (51) is congratulated by his teammates after his second period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

NEW YORK -- The season opener Thursday night marked the official start of a new era for the New York Islanders. But Saturday night will truly reinforce the uncertainty upon which the Islanders have embarked.

The overhauled Islanders will begin their vagabond home existence Saturday night, when New York hosts the Nashville Predators at Barclays Center.

Both teams earned wins in their openers Thursday night, when the visiting Islanders edged the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime, while the Predators beat the host New York Rangers 3-2. >> Read more

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Jan Kovar (43) Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)
Jan Kovar (43) Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)

The Islanders decided to send F Jan Kovar to AHL Bridgeport when making their final roster cuts. Well, Kovar hasn't showed up to the Sound Tigers. 

According to The Athletic's Arthur Staple, Kovar is taking some time to figure out what he wants to do next. 

Kovar played the past five seasons in the KHL, and joined the Islanders on a reported one-year, $2 million deal. However, he didn't impressed the Islanders enough in camp to keep him for the start of the season. 

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Valtteri Filppula (51) Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Valtteri Filppula (51) Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Josh Bailey scored the game-winning overtime goal against the Hurricanes to start the Islanders' season on the right foot. << Box score 

First period

  • No Goals

Second period

Tags: Josh Bailey
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Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Anders Lee (27) Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Carolina Hurricanes have undergone considerable change in the offseason, with the makeover creating heightened expectations going into the season.

That description perhaps relates to perhaps an even larger degree for the New York Islanders.

After all, fresh off coaching the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup championship, Barry Trotz is on board directing the Islanders.

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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

The Islanders announced Thursday that Anders Lee has been named team captain, becoming the 15th captain in franchise history.

Lee replaces John Tavares, who left for the Maple Leafs as a free agent during the offseason.

"It's extremely humbling, quite an honor to be a captain of this organization," Lee said. "It's definitely one of the most special things that's happened in my hockey career."

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Danny Abriano
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Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) and Philadelphia Flyers center Mikhail Vorobyev (46) battle for the puck during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) and Philadelphia Flyers center Mikhail Vorobyev (46) battle for the puck during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The Islanders have sent D Devon Toews and C Jan Kovar to AHL Bridgeport on Tuesday, per Newsday's Andrew Gross.

President and GM Lou Lamoriello has to submit his 23-man roster by the end of the day, and Toews and Kovar were the moves necessary to reach that number. The Islanders are also waiting to see if F Tom Kuhnhackl cleared waivers, so they could send him to Bridgeport as well. 

"What you do in situations like this is give yourself flexibility, that's what we did," Lamoriello said. "If a player gets claimed, that's part of the game."

 

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Cal Clutterbuck (15) Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Cal Clutterbuck (15) Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Islanders D Cal Clutterbuck has a new nickname, but he isn't too fond of it.

"Shuttlebuck" came about from an interview with Flyers F Robert Hagg, who expressed his hatred for Clutterbuck during an interview after the Isles preseason opener at the Coliseum. 

"It doesn't matter if you play against Martin or Shuttlebuck, or whatever it is -- I hate that guy," Hagg told The Post's Brett Cygalis. "There's that kind of player on every team."

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin
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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

The Islanders already missed out on their coveted free agent in C John Tavares this offseason. But that is now officially in the past, and focus turns toward another Isles key cog that will see his contract expire at the end of the year as well. 

Anders Lee is in the final year of his four-year, $15 million deal, after which he becomes an unrestricted free agent. It is too early to tell if Lee will take Tavares' route and hear out potential suitors next offseason, but that isn't even on his mind. 

According to Newsday's Andrew Gross, Lee isn't worried about his contract situation, saying "our cases are different."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Josh Ho-Sang's Islanders career hasn't exactly gone to plan.

The Islanders made Ho-Sang the No. 28 overall pick in the 2014 Draft and last season was supposed to be his breakout campaign but he couldn't break out of Bridgeport, spending most of his season in the AHL. He played just 22 games with the Islanders, scoring four goals and adding six assists.

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

Islanders' Mathew Barzal turned some heads last season and is being recognized as one of the best players in the league.

According to NHL Network, Barzal is the 49th best player in the NHL. The second-year man is expected to pick up much of the offensive burden left by departing John Tavares.

Last season, Barzal led the team with 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists).

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders' return to the Coliseum while their new arena at Belmont Park is built continues to go smoothly thus far.

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks for the Isles' renovation plans at the Nassau Coliseum, according to Newsday's Victor Ocasio. The Islanders were looking to get a $400 million to $450 million tax break to purchase new equipment, furniture and fixtures for their renovation project.

The upgrades, which will be worth $9.95 million, would deem the arena worthy to play in for the three years needed before the Belmont Park arena is finished. A $6 million state grant will pay for most of the project, while the Islanders will pick up the rest of the tab at around $3.9 million.

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Nov 11, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (not pictured) during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports (Billy Hurst)
Nov 11, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) celebrates after scoring a goal against St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (not pictured) during the first period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports (Billy Hurst)

With Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello in charge of the Islanders, center Casey Cizikas told the Islanders website that he feels like a rookie and is coming in to training camp looking to prove himself "all over again."

Cizikas has played in 413 career games, all with the Islanders, and had 7 goals and 10 assists in 64 games last season.

He said that he is excited to play under Trotz and is looking forward to the opportunity for more minutes and responsibilities with John Tavares now in Toronto.

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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) gets defended by Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth (17) during the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle (7) gets defended by Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth (17) during the third period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Jordan Eberle said on Tuesday that he and the Islanders have not yet discussed a contract extension.

Eberle, 28, is entering the final year of the six-year $36 million contract he originally signed as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

"To be honest I haven't had any conversations with anybody," Eberle said, per NHL.com. "Going into the summer I was trying to focus on me and being the best I can be, and come into the camp the best I can be. Once that happens you start trying to fill a role and try to make this team as good as it can be."

Tags: Jordan Eberle
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

It's time to test your Islanders' historical knowledge as preseason hockey inches closer.

How many of the 30 players who scored 100 career goals for the Islanders can you name? Try it below!

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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (not pictured) 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 center John Tavares (91) celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (not pictured) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In the history of the franchise, there have been 76 instances of which that an Islanders' player has scored 30+ goals in a season. How many can you name? 

Test your knowledge by playing the quiz below...

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

The Islanders may have lost C John Tavares, but new head coach Barry Trotz doesn't believe it will kill their offensive output. 

Yes, Tavares accounted for 82 points last season, but Trotz thinks he has the personnel to find offensive success this upcoming season. 

"This team can score, with John Tavares or without John Tavares," Trotz told The Athletic's Arthur Staple in a Q&A session. "The area it's failed in maybe the last year and a half is on the defensive end. Just looking at the trends over the last four years, it's clear that's an area we need to fix. ...With the John Tavares situation, we look forward, we can't look back. Guys are up to the challenge. John's a fantastic player, face of the franchise and it's a hole you can't fill with one guy. It's collectively with the group."

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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 (Christopher Katsarov)
(Christopher Katsarov)

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has no concerns over the construction of the team's new Belmont Park arena.

The Islanders were dead last in attendence at Barclay's Center last season with 12,000, so the new arena can't come soon enough. Lamoriello is optimstic and thinks people will be pleasantly surprised.

"I think you'll know better in the first of the year of an exact date," Lamoriello said on Sirius XM NHL Network Radio. "But it's not as long as people might think. I think a lot will be surprised and I think that's just great news."

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Barry Trotz Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Barry Trotz Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

It would be natural for Barry Trotz to take a nice, relaxing summer following the NHL playoff grind that saw his Washington Capitals secure the Stanley Cup. But relaxation is the polar opposite of what he has been up to.

Right after finishing the grind to win the Cup, Trotz left the Capitals and joined an Islanders team that needed a lot of work. He teamed up with new president of hockey operations, Lou Lamoriello, and has been constructing his coaching staff and roster since his transition to Long Island. 

But a quick break will be in the works next week when the Cup is in Trotz' hands for the first time since the victory on Aug. 22. He knows it will be short-lived, though. 

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

[Editor's Note: Islanders fans, we want to hear from you and share some of your viewpoints. Tweet @ChrisBottaNHL before 11:59 pm on Friday, Aug. 3 to share your prediction -- at this moment -- of where the Islanders will finish in the Eastern Conference standings at the end of 2018-19. We need the number (first? 6th? 12th?) and brief thought summarizing why. Your tweet may be used in a future Point Blank piece.]

You are Lou Lamoriello, Hall of Fame architect. You've taken over a team that has missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons and won one playoff round since 1993. Then, through no fault of your own, you lose your most celebrated player to free agency.

Suddenly, the new job is eerily familiar to your previous one with the Maple Leafs. There, you started with a thin roster and a top coach, Mike Babcock. But in 2016, you had the first pick in the draft and were gifted Auston Matthews.

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Do you remember where you were seven years ago today?

On Aug. 1, 2011, I went for a run in the village of Rockville Centre, saw the determined looks on the faces of the residents marching into South Side Middle School, and knew it right away.

The public vote to build a new arena on the Coliseum property for the Islanders was going to be a big, fat, no frickin' way.

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To hear his college coach talk about him, the Islanders may be justified in their faith that Devon Toews will be an impact defenseman this season and for many to come.

"Devon's going to be a Corsi king - a top possession defender," said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, who took over the program in 1994 and is third among active NCAA Division I men's hockey coaches in victories. "Some people are going to be surprised about him, but not us. We know how good Devon is, and how good he's going to become."

Toews played for the Bobcats for three seasons, from 2013-2016, with an appearance in the Frozen Four in his final season. Pecknold identified Toews as an intriguing prospect and recruited him to attend the university in Connecticut with the guidance of a good connection: Matt Erhart, who played for Pecknold at Quinnipiac in the first four years of this century, was Toews' coach as a teenager with the Surrey (British Columbia) Eagles...

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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)

The Islanders re-signed forward Brock Nelson to a one-year deal, the team announced Monday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, although The Athletic's Arthur Staple reports Nelson will earn $4.25 million, which is $750,000 more than he earned last season.

Nelson, 26, totaled 19 goals and 16 assists in his fifth NHL season last year, appearing in all 82 games for New York.

Tags: Brock Nelson
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Nick Leddy (L) Johnny Boychuk (55) Josh Bailey (12) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Nick Leddy (L) Johnny Boychuk (55) Josh Bailey (12) Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Islanders Josh Bailey and Johnny Boychuk are sick of hearing the team doesn't have any hope next season. And more importantly, those who believe the team will lack leadership with the exit of captain John Tavares, must think again. 

These two Islanders veterans find themselves in position to take the torch, if you will, from Tavares and lead the pack. These past five seasons have been Tavares' team, but now, it is up to the collective group to work together. 

Tavares may be gone, but that doesn't mean the Islanders should be deemed out of the running already. 

Tags: John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Scott Thompson
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

If the Islanders' arena project on the Belmont Park property faces obstacles in approvals and construction, team management has wisely negotiated a cushion.

Point Blank has learned that the Islanders' agreement with the operators of the Nassau Coliseum is not just for the next three NHL seasons, but also includes two option years for the club. Two people with knowledge of the agreement shared the information, requesting anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the issue.

This means that if the Islanders' arena in Belmont is not completed for the start of the 2021-22 season, the team has the option to continue playing at the Coliseum for at least that season and the following one...

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The Islanders' defense will improve in 2018-19 for a simple reason beyond the fact that the team is now coached by the infinitely more accomplished tactician Barry Trotz. It will be better because it could not possibly be worse than it was under Doug Weight and his band of assistants last season, when it was historically very, very bad:

Most goals allowed (293) by an NHL team since 2006-07

Allowed five or more goals in regulation and conceded at least 40 shots on goal 20 times

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders announced Wednesday that John Gruden has been named an assistant head coach under Barry Trotz.

Gruden, 48, was the head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League for the past two seasons, finishing with an overall record of 76-45-8-7.

Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Gruden worked with USA Hockey, where he was an assistant coach for Team USA of the 2016 U18 World Championships. He also worked as an assistant in other roles for USA Hockey from 2011 to 2015.

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The Front of the Barclays center is shown Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
The Front of the Barclays center is shown Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

We don't know if there are pictures of 10-year-old Anders Lee of Edina, Minn. in the pajamas of the first-year Wild back in the year 2000, but the Islanders might not want to take any chances.

As the Islanders embark on this uncertain three (or more)-year path to Belmont, they must learn from the John Tavares heartache. They need to control what they can control, and make their organization as attractive - or at least as less unattractive - as possible. They need to eliminate the excuses for someone else to walk out the door.

Beginning with the 2019-20 season, all of their home games must be played at the barn in Nassau County. And the plan to move all of the games to Nassau should be announced weeks before the trade deadline in February 2019.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Chris Botta
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Ryan Pulock (6) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Ryan Pulock (6) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Islanders D Ryan Pulock has agreed to a two-year contract, the team announced on Tuesday. 

Pulock played in 68 games with New York last season, where he totaled career highs in goals (10) and assists (22). Overall, the 23-year-old has 36 points over 84 career games.

The 15th overall pick by the Islanders back in 2013, Pulock has spent most of his career with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He has totaled 100 points (39 goals, 61 assists) during his time there. 

Tags: Ryan Pulock
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 (Christopher Katsarov)
(Christopher Katsarov)

The Islanders have announced that they have resigned defenseman Kyle Burroughs and Devon Toews. Both were restricted free agents and spent time with AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers. 

Burroughs was a seventh round pick for the Islanders back in 2013. He has now spent three seasons in Bridgeport, posting a career high 25 points and a plus-minus of +16. 

Toews has spent the past two season in Bridgeport but missed the second half of the season after having a shoulder injury in January. Toews, 24, played for Quinnipiac University for three years before heading to Bridgeport. The former fourth round pick had five goals and forty assists in his first season in the AHL. 

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Now that "John Tavares" has "written" his farewell to the Islanders for The Players Tribune, here are some final Point Blank thoughts on the whole ordeal:

Tavares' piece was what you'd expect: an attempt to explain himself and thank Islander fans. The timing of its publishing was flawed; the piece posted just as the pain and anger in Islanders Country had subsided. Getting his message across by July 2 would have been more effective and heartfelt. But hey, I know how tough it is to write on deadline.

Still, it's clear from reading the piece that Tavares was very aware of the reaction of his departure, and cares what people think about him. There's nothing bad about that.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates against the New Jersey Devils during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

John Tavares thanked Islanders fans and reflected on his time with the team via a Players' Tribune letter published on Wednesday.

The former Islanders' team captain described a breakdown-like situation he endured when he was forced to choose whether to sign with the Maple Leafs or remain with the Islanders -- a decision he said he "just literally, physically could not" make.

Tavares, who turned down an eight-year deal with the Islanders in favor of a contract with the Maple Leafs, said he wrote the letter because of his "real, honest, still-there love for the New York Islanders hockey franchise."

Tags: John Tavares
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Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey general manager Lou Lamoriello speaks to reporters in Toronto, Friday, April 27, 2018. The Boston Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP) (COLE BURSTON/AP)
Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey general manager Lou Lamoriello speaks to reporters in Toronto, Friday, April 27, 2018. The Boston Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP) (COLE BURSTON/AP)

Face it: if Garth Snow had made all of the player personnel moves that Lou Lamoriello has so far as Islanders GM, there would be a march on Eisenhower Park.

In the excitement over the removal of the embarrassing regime of Snow and installation of Lamoriello as leader of hockey operations, somewhere along the line it seems people believe the legendary ex-Devils architect is untouchable.

Since the painful exit of John Tavares, there has been a lot of puffed-out chests and declarations of Hey, Screw Tavares -- We've Got Lou and We Can't Go Wrong...

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Feb 23, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; Czech Republic forward Jan Kovar (43) goes for the puck against Olympic Athlete from Russia goaltender Vasili Koshechkin (83) in the men's ice hockey semifinals during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)
Feb 23, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; Czech Republic forward Jan Kovar (43) goes for the puck against Olympic Athlete from Russia goaltender Vasili Koshechkin (83) in the men's ice hockey semifinals during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports (David E. Klutho)

The Islanders are continuing to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with C Jan Kovar inking a one-year, $2 million deal. 

The 28-year-old played for the KHL's Magnitogorsk Metallurg since 2013, where he has totaled 286 points (97 goals, 189 assists) over 285 games. Last season, he notched seven goals and 28 assists over 54 games. 

Kovar has also represented the Czech Republic in five World Championship, including the 2017 Winter Olympics. Overall, he has six goals and 13 assists in 42 international games. 

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Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mathew Barzal (13) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

After winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, 21-year-old Islanders forward Mathew Barzal can be the new face of the franchise with John Tavares out of the picture.

"He's a driven, driven guy to be the best player he can be," Russ Farwell, the VP of hockey operation for Barzal's junior hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "He's totally focused on his game. He's a very confident guy, too. He was a really highly touted minor player, so being the show or being the guy wasn't foreign to him. His whole life, everybody has pointed to him."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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Jan 22, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and New Yor Yankees general manager Brian Cashman watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Phoenix Suns at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Jan 22, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and New Yor Yankees general manager Brian Cashman watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Phoenix Suns at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has nothing but respect for John Tavares after the former team captain opted to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"In my dealings with John, he proved himself to be a sincere, honest young man," Lamoriello told NHL.com. "He earned the right to test free agency, and that's what he did.

Tavares totaled 621 points in 669 games with the Islanders since he was drafted in 2009. 

Tags: John Tavares
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May 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Capitals head coach Berry Trotz talks with media after game seven of the Eastern Conference Final in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
May 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Capitals head coach Berry Trotz talks with media after game seven of the Eastern Conference Final in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

It's a time for genuine optimism around the Islanders despite captain John Tavares signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a seven-year deal with an average annual value of $11 million.

The team hired a new GM and president of hockey operations, Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello then hired reigning Stanley Cup champion head coach Barry Trotz. The team is rife with young talent, including Calder Trophy-winning Mathew Barzal, and will continue to take steps forward, even without Tavares.

"I know it's a big blow and everyone has the sky falling, but we're a young team," Trotz said...

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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)

Islanders F Brock Nelson has filed for arbitration, as the NHLPA announces the league-wide list. His qualifying offer is $3.5 million.

Nelson, 26, had 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) last season. He was a first-round pick (30th overall) in 2010. He's scored at least 14 goals in each of his five professional seasons and has missed just two games in the last four years. 

He has the highest qualifying offer among the five Islanders. 

Qualifying offers are issued to restricted free agents whose team wishes to retain their negotiation rights.

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Mar 29, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner (40) looks to make a save during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Mar 29, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner (40) looks to make a save during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

After most of the free agent goaltenders had come off the free agent board (Carter Hutton, Jonathan Bernier, Petr Mrazek, among others), the name of Robin Lehner stood out as the best available one for the Islanders to sign on a low-risk, one-year deal. On Tuesday, Erik Karlsson was all the rage and then the Islanders traded for prodigal son Matt Martin, so my plans to write about Lehner got put on the back burner.

When the Islanders signed him on Tuesday afternoon, I laughed out loud…and liked the move even more.

With the Islanders having so many tough, fearless, edgy fourth-line forwards in the fold, why not add the equivalent in goal? The Islanders may not be the most skilled team next season, but you can't blame Lou Lamoriello for "making it look mean."

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Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Feb 28, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the third period against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

Islanders GM and president Lou Lamoriello saw franchise player John Tavares walk out the door last week, but says the Isles did everything in their power to prevent it.

"We did everything we possibly could to keep John," Lamoriello said Thursday on Sirius XM NHL radio. "He's a quality player. He's now with another team. That's the past."

Tavares bolted the Isles for his hometown Maple Leafs, while also passing on joining the Sharks, Bruins, and others. And with Tavares gone, the Isles should be on a three-year plan as they prepare for their new arena, says SNY contributor Chris Botta...

Tags: John Tavares
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders now have two former Capitals coaches on their staff for next season.

The team announced Lane Lambert will reunite with head coach Barry Trotz as an associate coach on his staff.

Lambert held the very same role under Trotz last season during the Capitals' Stanely Cup run. He spent four seasons with Washington after coaching three seasons with the Predators as an assistant. 

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Jan 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Matt Martin (15) shoots the puck against the Colorado Avalanche at Air Canada Centre. The Avalanche beat the Maple Leafs 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Jan 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Matt Martin (15) shoots the puck against the Colorado Avalanche at Air Canada Centre. The Avalanche beat the Maple Leafs 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

The acquisition of Matt Martin makes little sense, and -- on the heels of Lou Lamoriello's free agent signings so far -- raises more concerns about the plans of new management. 

I love it.

Welcome back, Matt.

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Mar 24, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark (35) warms up after replacing starter Robin Lehner (40) during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Mar 24, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark (35) warms up after replacing starter Robin Lehner (40) during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

The Islanders agreed to terms on Tuesday with goaltender Robin Lehner on a one-year contract.

Lehner had a .908 save percentage and 3.01 goals-against average in 53 games last season with the Sabres.

Lehner, who is from Sweden, was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft.

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