One of the arguments that's cropped up since Bruce Ratner won the RFP on the Coliseum has been whether or not this paves the way for the Islanders to stay in Nassau County somehow, someway.

Ratner and Wang are business partners in Brooklyn, Mangano brought in Ratner to advise him on the Coliseum and ultimately chose him to re-imagine it. Surely, there's got to be a way for all three to parlay this into the Islanders staying, right?

Well, not so fast. On Twitter, Chris Botta says the chances of that happening were long gone adding that Ratner didn't lure the Islanders to Brooklyn only to let them go back to the suburbs away from the urban transportation hubs. Newsday's Randi Marshall even talked to Ratner himself, who said that the Islanders will not move back to Nassau citing the remodeled venue as too small.

But there are still folks who believe the Islanders now have a path back. One of them is Tom Van Riper from Forbes, a place that should know a thing or two about business. Van Riper wrote on Friday that now that Ratner's got the Coliseum, surely there's a way to make the Islanders stick. That piece was given further credence -- without additional substance mind you -- by being reblogged at Puck Daddy.

So, can the Islanders stay at the Coliseum now that Ratner's won the bid and seems to have a good relationship with both the County Executive Ed Mangano (up for reelection this year) and Islanders owner Charles Wang?

To believe that, we would have to overlook a few key points and also the basic logic of sports business in 2013.

First off, a few obvious points that we would have to suspend belief on:

  1. The Ratner Plan for the Coliseum offers the AHL's Sound Tigers as a full-time tenant and six Islander games per year at the remodeled arena. Obviously, Ratner hoped that offering at least a small part of the Islanders would help his cause. So, if that was his plan, why wouldn't he just promise to bring back 82-games of Islanders? Surely it'd be an easy choice for Mangano to go with the plan that featured a full 82-game slate of the Islanders, a professional sports team, over the MSG plan, which did not. So why didn't Ratner offer up the Islanders on a silver platter initially?
  2. The Islanders have an "ironclad" 25-year lease with the Barclays Center according to Charles Wang, Islanders owner, at the press conference announcing the move to Brooklyn.
  3. Bruce Ratner plans to spend $229 million on refurbishing the area, $89 million of which will go directly to the Coliseum (more on this in a moment). The rest will be spent on the surrounding area, for non-arena forms of entertainment. By comparison, Ratner's company is funding a $4.9 billion project in Brooklyn with an estimated $1 billion spent on the arena itself. Ratner obviously sees the Islanders as a money maker, so wouldn't he want them making money for him in the $1 billion arena that is his crown jewl instead of the one costing a fraction of that price?
So, with all of those caveats ignored to enrich our Islanders Return Home fantasy, lets give the Forbes article a shot.

[sny-box]Forest City Ratner, the real estate developer run by Brooklyn Nets’ part-owner Bruce Ratner that built Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, has been selected by Nassau County as the winning bidder to redevelop Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders’ current home.

Forest City, proposing a $229 million scaled down Coliseum plan of 13,000 seats, won out over MSG Corp., which proposed a 14,500-seater. Both plans called for additional redevelopment around the arena site.  Under the agreement, the county will get 8% of gross revenue plus just over 12% of the parking, against a guarantee of $195 million over 34 years.

It’s enough to make you wonder if a deal is bound to be struck at some point to keep the Islanders at home.

...

Now Forest City has wound up as the winner. So, after Nassau County residents voted against publicly funding a new arena, a developer is coming along to do it privately. It begs the question – why do the Islanders need to move at all? Couldn’t the proposal be expanded just a bit to meet NHL standards?[/sny-box]

Well, here's the thing with expanding the proposal "just a bit". The County spent countless hours negotiating the terms of the deal with both developers before a choice was made. The Request for Proposal was just that; a request for a proposal. It wasn't a "request for something we'll fudge around later." It's now going to have to be approved by NIFA, which oversees Nassau's finances on behalf of New York State, and the Town of Hempstead, which killed the Lighthouse Project in the last decade after that project was given approval from then-County Executive Tom Suozzi. Those are two difficult tasks and you wouldn't want some half-baked or unfinished proposal put in front of them.

Sure, there's probably some wiggle room to make changes, but the County chose to go with a 13,000 seat arena without any luxury boxes. With how damned long it takes things to get done in Nassau -- this Coliseum development is nearly two decades old -- do we really want to screw with the timeline?

Oh, and about those luxury boxes. They are important to arena revenue, so much so that the Barclays Center was built with 130 of them with the most expensive selling for as much as $550,000 per year. So, we have to make another leap in faith that adding luxury boxes is just something that can be jammed in after the political approval process has been completed and that playing in an arena of 13,000, around 2,000 less than Barclays will hold for hockey makes sense (and Barclays is slated to be the smallest NHL arena as it is).

[sny-box]Still, with Ratner now securing a major chunk of the cost needed for an NHL arena, experts say it’s certainly feasible that a deal could be worked out in which Islanders’ owner Charles Wang , or the Nassau taxpayers (or both), kick in the rest.[/sny-box]

OK, so Forbes just suggested that the NHL owner that has, by all indications, given up on Nassau County after years of trying to get an arena built would want to chip in the rest of the cost to bring the Coliseum up to NHL standards. That's the same owner whose team sports a league low for player payroll. Or that -- get a load of this one -- the taxpayers in the county with the 4th highest property taxes as a percentage of income (link from Forbes.com!) who already voted down a $400 million bond to fund a new arena would happily foot the bill on whatever they are asked to pay. And -- deep breath -- the county's finances are now being strictly overseen by NIFA, a watchdog program from New York State, because Nassau County is terrible at math.

Now, if we assume that Wang or the County pick up those extra costs -- another leap! -- Ratner's "major chunk" doesn't even have 50% of the cost covered.

Only $89 million of the $229 million Ratner is putting up will go towards re-doing the arena. The rest will be for other entertainment in the surrounding area (convention center! movie theater!). Keep in mind that with the referendum, it was a $400 million bond ($350 million for Coliseum, $50 million for minor league ball park) to completely rebuild the Coliseum. So, that leaves $261 million to get the arena to NHL standards from Wang or the taxpayers. Even if we assumed all of the $229 million Ratner is putting up was going to the arena, even though it's not, it's still not enough money as there's $121 million that someone needs to come up with to fund a new arena. And I'm being a bit generous here. Those numbers are assuming the cost of a new Coliseum is the same as the $350 million that the referendum was hoping to build the Coliseum for. By comparison, it took $375 million to build Newark's Prudential Center a few years ago. It all seems like wishful thinking.

Now, here's the golden part. It would probably cost more to fund the arena than anythign I've just described, according to an expert cited in the Forbes article.

[sny-box]Any Wang offer would probably need to reflect the cost efficiencies that Ratner would lose by separating the teams and losing the 40 nights (plus preseason and playoffs) the Islanders would bring to the Barclays Center.[/sny-box]

So, those previous estimates were low as some of Ratner's extra costs for removing the event dates that the Islanders provide to the Barclays Center would need to be made up for. Wow. Talk about not bringing supporting evidence to your article.

[sny-box]But [the expert Forbes went to] points out that the revenue side is typically better for a club playing as a solo act in its building, starting with sponsors that pay more for signage in that setting. And a suburban location means lots of cars and parking fees that benefit your bottom line, not subway and railroad fares that benefit the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s.[/sny-box]

While sponsors may pay more for a "solo act" they're undoubtedly going to be paying more for signage at the Barclays Center, located in a major metropolitan area with about 8 million people and ranked fourth in the world, rather than whatever the new Coliseum ends up being. And parking fees, while you wouldn't get those in Brooklyn, don't make up a significant portion of arena revenue. At least not significant enough to warrant moving the team, or cancelling a lease, or adding $150 million of funding to the Coliseum or whatever.

Say we've got 8,000 cars in the lot (generous, maybe) at $15 a pop and the county gets a 10% cut. That's $108,000 per game or $4.428 million per year. A lot of money, but not a game changer. And we're also assuming the Islanders didn't negotiate some nice terms in the Barclays lease to cover this loss of revenue.

[sny-box]Then there’s the question of whether an upgrade to 15,000-plus capacity is even necessary to keep the Islanders in place. Sports arenas and stadiums have been shrinking in recent years – less supply, higher prices, and more urgency for buying tickets puts the modern emphasis on revenue per seat more than overall attendance. And those last 2,000 to 3,000 seats are the most expensive to build. “Higher up from the floor you need more concrete and other material,” says Rascher. “And they yield the least revenue.”[/sny-box]

I've been saying since forever that the Islanders would be able to charge more in a smaller arena in Brooklyn thanks to supply and demand, so I can't disagree with the above. So yes, the same theory would apply to a smaller Coliseum.

[sny-box]With the club now showing strong signs of improvement, a rebirth in Nassau County would seem to carry the largest potential upside. Ratner has even said he plans to host a handful of Islander games there following the move. He’s already taken the first step.[/sny-box]

After everything I've laid out, I find it hard to believe that there's "larger potential upside" to Nassau County than Brooklyn. With 100+ suites and the ability to charge New York City prices for those suites as well as signage, sponsorships and tickets there's more money to be made in Brooklyn. The question is, as it always has been, is can they fill the arena at more expensive ticket prices? Hell, before we even talk about upside and ticket prices, who the hell is paying the extra money it'll cost to remake the Coliseum up to NHL standards, like the Forbes article so dreams? No viable candidates were provided. That's kind of the important part. Then there's the political wrangling to change the proposal, throwing the lease out the window and basically ignoring that New York City has more money to spend than Nassau County, hands down (8 million people have more money than > 2 million).

Ratner is planning six Islander games at the Coliseum to appeal to a fanbase he knows he has to attract to Brooklyn. That doesn't mean that the Coliseum, or a revamped version of it, are feasible.

Tags: Arena News, Islanders, nassau coliseum

Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Dallas Stars scored the first five goals of the game en route to a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. Anders Lee scored twice in the third period for New York. >> Box score


First period: 

  • 7:37 DAL Tyler Pitlick; Assists: Dan Hamhuis, Jamie Benn
  • 15:46 DAL Alexander Radulov; Assists: Jason Spezza, Mattias Janmark

Second period: 

  • 1:01 DAL Remi Elie; Assists: Devin Shore, John Klingberg
  • 9:21 DAL Benn; Assists: Julius Honka

Third period:

  • :21 DAL Pitlick; Assists: Klingberg, Benn
  • 1:06 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Josh Bailey, John Tavares
  • 16:28 NYI Lee (PP); Assists: Tavares, Bailey
Tags: Anders Lee
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- A pair of goaltenders could be in the spotlight Wednesday night when the New York Islanders host the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center in the teams' final meeting of the season.

Both teams were off Tuesday after snapping three-game losing streaks Monday night. The Islanders ended their skid by beating the visiting Washington Capitals 3-1. The Stars snapped out of their slump and began a four-game Eastern Conference road trip by outlasting the host New York Rangers 2-1 in the shootout.

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders D Ryan Pulock has transformed his game since last season, and it is impressing head coach Doug Weight. 

Pulock showed spurts of an everyday defenseman last season, but it was consistent play. He wasn't being as aggressive as he could be. However, that has changed since Pulock returned to the Isles' lineup on Dec. 1. 

"Whether you're sitting out or you have a bad game, sometimes you make a decision. And it sounds so easy, but I think he just came in a few games ago and it was like, 'OK, that's the guy,'" Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "Quick hands, lugging the puck, stapling guys (to the wall) in his own zone. I think he fed off that."...

Tags: Ryan Pulock
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders needed a big game from one of their struggling goalies against a dangerous Capitals offense, and Jaroslav Halak stepped up big in the team's 3-1 win Monday night. 

Head coach Doug Weight has said that he wanted to help his goalies in Halak and Thomas Greiss figure what has forced them to be inconsistent so far this season. He also didn't care that many were confused as to why Halak was getting his third straight start. 

"I feel good about both our goalies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "No one else does. I don't really care."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jaroslave Halak saved 31 of 32 shots and three different players scored goals for the Islanders in a 3-1 win over the Capitals on Monday night.  << Box score

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Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

NEW YORK -- It took a little longer than expected, but the Washington Capitals are right where most forecasters predicted.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins F Brad Marchand did not face punishment by the NHL after hitting John Tavares up high during the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday.

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders and New York City FC both revealed their proposal plans for the redevelopment of Belmont Park at Elmont Memorial High School on Sunday. 

The Isles plan consisted of a 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would be host to about 150 events each year, according to Newsday's Jim Baumbach and Stefanie Dazio. Along with the arena, 435,000 square feet will be available for retail as well as a hotel and 10,000 square-foot "innovation center." This center will be built with input from residents in the area. 

NYCFC plans for a slightly larger arena with 26,000 seats as well as 400,000 square feets for retails. They also want to add a 5.2-acre community park and a 2-acre soccer facility on the grounds. 

 

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New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)
New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

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

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

The Islanders travel to Boston and fall to the Bruins 3-1. << Box score

First period: No goals

Second period: 

  • 10:51 BOS  Brad Marchand; Assists: Tory Krug, David Pastrnak

Third period: 

  • 6:45 BOS Jake DeBrusk; Assists: David Pastrnak, Tory Krug
  • 16:52 NYI Anders Lee (Unassisted)
  • 19:18 BOS Danton Heinen (empty net); Assist: Patrice Bergeron
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

BOSTON -- Back in June 2015, the Boston Bruins owned three straight picks in the first round of the NHL draft.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the Penguins scoring two power-play goals in Thursday night's 4-3 overtime loss, Isles head coach Doug Weight devoted a full hour at practice Friday to fix his team's penalty kill. 

The Islanders definitely need help in that area as they currently sit 30th in the league with a 73.3 percent efficency on penalty kill opportunities. Thursday night marked the fourth straight game the team has allowed two power-play goals as well. 

After a 45-minute video session, the Isles took the ice to practice their penalty kill for a full hour, which Weight thought was necessary to figure out what is going wrong. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)

Today's subject is assistant coaches. The premise: it's unfair to make the special teams failings of the Islanders or any other team all about one or two assistant coaches.

But I'd like to start by asking you rabid hockey fans to rack your brains for a moment.

For as long as you have been following the NHL, can you think of ANY assistant coach who was or is regarded as an absolute special teams genius, a maestro of the power play or penalty kill?

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Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)
Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)

Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored goals in the third period help the Islanders tie the game, but Pittsburgh's Matt Hunwick scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the Penguins to a 4-3. win >> Box score

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)
Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)

PITTSBURGH -- After winning the past two Stanley Cups, the Pittsburgh Penguins usually find themselves circled on opponents' calendars. Despite some inconsistency, they lived up to the billing recently.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Head coach Doug Weight believes his goaltender situation needs to be addressed as he doesn't have a definitive starter between Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak.

Greiss has been struggling of late, owning a 3.79 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage this season. Though Greiss says he's fine, Weight thinks he needs to figure out what is plaguing the veteran goalie. 

"Thomas is such an easygoing guy, he's always, 'I'm fine, I'm fine, it's all good.' But I think it's something we have to address rather than ignore," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "We've got to help him through it. He's not dreadful. He's had some bad luck, some games he's played well where his numbers weren't great. Now you pair it with what you've seen the last couple weeks, we've got to fix it."

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Penguins on the road tonight at 7 p.m., head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

The New York Islanders have been valued at $395 million, which ranks 22nd on Forbes list of NHL teams' valuation.

Despite there being a 3-percent increases from a season ago, it is less than the $485 million Jon Ledecky, Scott Malkin, and the rest of the group paid for Charles Wang's controlling interest in the franchise. 

The biggest statistic that stands out is the team's $8.6 million loss in operating income last season compared to a $2.7 million income in 2015. 

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Despite the Islanders making a comeback, lack of penalty kills forced their hand in the loss to the Lightning, 6-2, on Tuesday night. 

It was a slow first period with the Isles only taking three shots on net. However, the second saw a different team that would muster two goals to tie the game up. Momentum looked to be on the side of the road team, but two penalties would change all of that as the Lightning capitalized on both power-play chances at the end of the second to take a controlling 4-2 lead that they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way. 

After awful penalty kills of late, head coach Doug Weight is confused as to what happened to his unit. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Lightning scored four unanswered goals -- including two by Yanni Gourde -- to run away with a 6-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. >> Box score

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Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)
Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)

TAMPA -- Two weeks ago, when the New York Islanders came to Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked mortal for the first time this season.

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

Russ Farwell, the longtime general manager of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds, knows how difficult it is to select the best teenage hockey players in the NHL Draft. As a former GM of the Flyers in the early '90s, like his colleagues he had his share of hits and misses.

But even Farwell was surprised to see the uniquely gifted Mathew Barzal, one of the best players in Seattle history, go unselected for 15 picks - including selections 13, 14 and 15 by the Boston Bruins - before Garth Snow and the Islanders snapped him up in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We were aware of teams across the NHL that had Mathew as high as fourth or fifth overall in their rankings," Farwell said in a phone conversation from Seattle. "I know Carolina liked him a lot, but decided to go with a good defenseman [Noah Hanfin, fifth overall]. And sure, I was bit surprised he went by those picks Boston had."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

It was a crazy game down in Orlando, but the Islanders managed to squeak out two points on the road thanks to Mathew Barzal

This game saw everything from a star goalie in Roberto Luongo carried off the ice with an injury to Cal Clutterbuck needing to be held back from an official. The cherry on top was the 4-4 tie that couldn't be settled in overtime, and needed a shootout to determine a winner. Luckily for the Isles, Jaroslav Halak was a brick wall and Barzal was the only player to find the back of the net. 

It was wild, but the Islanders will be happy leaving Florida with two points...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout after scoring four goals apiece in regulation on Monday at BB&T Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 10:25 FLA Keith Yandle
  • 13:15 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech

Second period:

  • 5:35 NYI Thomas Hickey; Assist: Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 8:45 FLA Aaron Ekblad (power play); Assists: Yandle, Vincent Trocheck
  • 10:34 FLA Aleksander Barkov (power play); Assists: Yandle, Trocheck
  • 16:19 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Ho-Sang, Jason Chimera
  • 18:21 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Third period:

  • 5:06 FLA Denis Malgin; Assists: Trocheck, Jamie McGinn
Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Florida Panthers, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey
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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders, who lead the NHL in scoring, expect to go up against one of the league's all-time great goalies, Roberto Luongo, on Monday night when they face the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.

The Islanders (15-8-2) are led by center John Tavares, who ranks third in the NHL with 16 goals. His team is first in the league with an average of 3.72 goals per game.

Tags: Florida Panthers, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The bid for Belmont Park is now only two as the Islanders and New York City Football Club are the final bidders for the arena project, per Newsday's Robert Brodsky

Both organizations will be able to outline their visions for their respective projects this Sunday during a public meeting. The third bidder, Blumenfeld Development Group, withdrew its bid for Belmont after saying the state's "extraordinary requirements" for the property make it appear the selection was predetermined to include the final two candidates. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think Ledecky is playing his cards perfectly. He knows that the Belmont site is, at best, NYCFC's third choice. Every time he says that there is no Plan B, he gently reminds ESD that awarding the site to the Islanders not only means guaranteed development, but immediate development, to an organization that wants to be a part of the Elmont community. 

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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

NEW YORK -- The hottest team in the NHL will face one of the league's coldest squads Friday night when the New York Islanders host the Ottawa Senators at Barclays Center.

The Islanders earned their season-high fourth straight win as well as their seventh victory in eight games Tuesday when they beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Senators' worst skid in nearly six years continued Wednesday, when they suffered their seventh straight loss with a 2-1 defeat to the host Montreal Canadiens.

The four-game winning streak by the Islanders (15-7-2) is the longest in the NHL entering Thursday night. The run has been fueled by versatility up and down the lineup for New York, which has outscored the opposition 16-10 and received goals from 11 players during the run.

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New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)
New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)

Last season, Andrew Ladd didn't have the greatest start to his Islanders career. But, over the second half of the season, he picked up his form. 

This season, he hasn't taken long to get off the bus, something that both he and head coach Doug Weight attribute to his health.

"My body is feeling better as a whole, which for me, has given me the opportunity to be more aggressive," Ladd told Cory Wright of the Islanders official website...

Tags: Andrew Ladd
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General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
General view of the National Anthem as a flag is unfurled before the game between the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

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

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

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

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Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Hockey hall of famer and Islanders great Bryan Trottier hopes current Isles captain John Tavares never leaves the organization.

"We hope Tavares stays with us forever and dies an Islander," Trottier said Wednesday. "It just should be ... He wears the 'C 'so well."

Although he last played for the Islanders in 1990, Trottier and other former Islanders want to see their former franchise succeed. The 61-year-old spent 15 years on Long Island and was a key part of the Islanders' winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.

Tags: John Tavares
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he is "wholly, fully, unequivocally supportive" of the Islanders' effort to land an arena deal at Belmont Park, according to Neil Best of Newsday. "I think it would be great," Bettman added. "I think it would be great for the Islanders. I think it would be great for the people of greater New York. I think it would be great for Long Island."

The Islanders submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bettman has always been publicly supportive of the Islanders staying in the New York area, preferably Long Island. Say what you want about the man, like him or hate him, he knows the business of running a professional sports league and he has seen the NHL grow in a market where it's not second fiddle, but fourth.

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 (Marc DesRosiers)
(Marc DesRosiers)

Another strong effort, another win at the beloved Barc…fun, right?

Garth Snow and Doug Weight's club has been a blast the first 24 games of the season. To the people who cover the league closely but the Islanders not closely enough, they are one of the surprise early hits of the season.

Like a lot of things when it comes to the Islanders, and this has almost always been the case throughout their history, it's like no one saw this coming.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Chris Botta
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Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Islanders mounted a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period and tacked on two more later on en route to a 5-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin De Haan, Jordan Eberle
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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Canucks tonight at 7 p.m. at Barclays Center, head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Islanders F Casey Cizikas didn't practice Monday as he continues to nurse a lower-body injury from Saturday's contest against the Senators. 

Cizikas was sore, according to head coach Doug Weight, but the team is unsure when Cizikas will return to the ice. 

"He's a little sore today so he took the day off," Weight said after practice, "but I don't think it's going to be anything serious. Could be 3 or 4 days, could be a week or he could be playing tomorrow."

The Islanders are set to face the Canucks Tuesday night followed by the Senators again on Friday. The 26-year-old center has notched eight points (four goals, four assists) in 23 games this season. 

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

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle scored goals and Jaroslav Halak saved 31 of 32 shots to help the Islanders beat the Senators, 2-1, on Saturday night. at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Box score

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Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)
Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)

OTTAWA -- If the New York Islanders were on Cloud Nine as they flew north for Saturday night's game at Canadian Tire Centre, they surely didn't see their next opponents on the way.

The Ottawa Senators were slinking home at the same time.

Both teams had slow starts in the first of back-to-back games on Friday.

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Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)
Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) during the first period of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)

Nick Leddy scores in overtime to complete the Islanders' comeback 5-4 win against the Flyers. >> Box score

First period: 

  • 19:43 NYI Mathew Barzal; Assists: Scott Mayfield, Andrew Ladd

Second period:

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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) celebrate his first period goal with defensemen Johnny Boychuk (55) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

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

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Andy Graziano
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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

After working overtime to grab a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday and enjoying some turkey the following day, the New York Islanders travel 90 minutes down the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday in a bid to a home-and-home sweep of their Metropolitan Division rival.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Philadelphia Flyers
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports)

While Josh Bailey was credited with the game-winning overtime goal in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, he was quick to credit Islanders forward John Tavares for setting up the goal with impressive puck handling along the boards.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Philadelphia Flyers
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Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Josh Bailey's goal 32 seconds into overtime helped the Islanders edge the Flyers, 4-3, at Barclays Center on Wednesday night. >> Box score


First period:

  • 6:02 PHI Taylor Leier; Assists: Travis Sanheim, Travis Konecny
  • 18:53 NYI Mathew Barzal (PPG); Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Second period:

Tags: Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal
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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders hope Thomas Greiss' return between the pipes will allow them to resume their winning ways. The reeling Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, have many more issues to worry about than just their goalie.

The two Metropolitan Division teams will renew their rivalry Wednesday night, when the Islanders host the Flyers in a Thanksgiving Eve clash at Barclays Center.

Both teams are coming off losses in their most recent games.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Thomas Greiss will be in net when the Islanders host the Flyers at Barclays Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. 

Cal Clutterbuck, Scott Mayfield, and Dennis Seidenberg all return to the lineup, with Alan Quine, Thomas Hickey, and Ryan Pulock out.

Clutterbuck had missed the last two games due to an illness.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)
Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)

Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy has drawn the attention of coach Doug Weight with his strong play as of late.

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres 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 defenseman Nick Leddy (2) defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) right wing Joshua Ho-Sang (66) right wing Josh Bailey (12) and left wing Jason Chimera (25) react after scoring against Buffalo Sabres in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

One of the laziest and corniest things you can do during Thanksgiving week is write a piece on everything you're thankful for. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Please indulge me, Islanders Country. Fact is, after all these years in this business on one side or the other, I've never taken the opportunity to say thank you. Perhaps I've become a bit sentimental.

Or maybe I'm feeling especially grateful. So here goes. If you give me this one, I'll do my best to write at least one Grinchy rant before the New Year.

Tags: John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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