The following is a guest post from Peter Flynn written exclusively for Point Blank on the NHL's suspension policy. It was originally written last week, at the end of the NHL regular season. A brief update on the recent events in the playoffs follows the original article at the bottom of the post.

On March 7, 2010 Marc Savard skated into the Penguins zone and wristed a shot on goal. Matt Cooke skated in from Savard's blind side and elbowed the Bruin in the head, causing Savard to miss the rest of the regular season. Savard returned for the post-season, then was concussed again by Matt Hunwick on January 23, 2011. Savard has not played since.

While Cooke's hit on Savard went unpenalized and Cooke was not suspended by the league, the incident caused the NHL to examine the impact of hits to the head and effective ways to keep players from being needlessly injured. This season, Brendan Shanahan has implemented a more open system of suspending players for irresponsible actions, mainly focusing on deliberate hits to the head. In the 2011-12 regular season, 42 suspensions were handed with a total of 134 regular season games.

With the regular season over, enough time has passed to evaluate the NHL's effort to reduce targeted hits to the head. For the purposes of this article, I am focusing specifically on plays that are clearly intentional. Occasionally, accidents happen and a player turns at the last second, changing a previously clean attempt into a seemingly dirty one.

On the one hand, Shanahan should be commended for making a clear and transparent effort to address a serious problem in the game. The video explanations that accompany each suspension indicate a desire to educate players and help them to make better decisions in the future. But the number of suspensions can also be viewed as evidence of a deficiency in the league's response to these types of hits.

Suspensions are supposed to have a two-fold effect. The suspension should act as both a punishment to the offending player and a deterrent to the other players in the league: If you do what he did, you will find yourself in the press box.

Reading through the 2011-2012 suspension list, one finds few repeat offenders, indicating that perhaps the suspensions are having the first of the above desired effects. The same data, however, raises serious questions about the second effect of a suspension. If these punishments are supposed to prevent other players from making similar hits, why are so many players continuing to make suspension-worthy decisions?

If the NHL is truly serious about eradicating these types of hits from the game, they must make changes to their current suspension policy. Here are two suggestions.

1. Suspensions for intentional hits to the head must be longer. Much longer.

Matt Cooke knew what he was doing when he targeted Savard's head. Duncan Keith knew what he was doing when he targeted Daniel Sedin's head on March 21. Sedin knew what he was doing when he targeted Keith's head earlier in the game. Clearly the threat of a sitting out the 3-5 games that has become the standard this season was not enough to keep either of these players from making a dangerous hit.

In the current system, repeat offenders are given longer suspensions. How has that worked out? This season, Andy Sutton, who was a repeat offender before the season even began, was handed a five-game suspension for his hit on Gabriel Landeskog. Just over a month later, Sutton was suspended again, this time for eight games. If the original suspension got his attention, he picked a strange way of showing it.

The current 3-5 game suspension for a first-time offender is inadequate. Increasing the first time suspension to ten games for clearly intentional hits to the head would have a much greater deterrent effect. If that doesn't work, keep going. Repeat offenders should face a minimum of ΒΌ of a season.

While these guidelines would be harsh, isn't that the point? These players are purposely making a play that can easily lead to their target missing at least ten games, if not more. This leads to my second point.

2. A main factor for suspension should be potential injury, not actual injury.

In some of Shanahan's suspension videos, he has mentioned that the player targeted did not miss much playing time. While situations like this are certainly preferable to the target missing a month or more, should good luck be a mitigating factor in suspensions?

If the league is serious about eliminating these types of hits, it must do away with assigning lesser punishment to hits where the player hit had the good fortune of not sustaining serious damage. A player making the decision to drive his elbow into another player's head cannot possibly be unaware of the potential damage of his action.

NHL players knowingly put themselves at risk every time they step out on the ice. The risk of taking a slap shot to the face, however, is a fundamentally different risk than having an opponent stick out his elbow as a player skates by.

Chris Simon's indefensible baseball swing several years ago was punished severely, and rightfully so. The NHL's punishment sent a clear message that reckless plays of that nature would not be tolerated. The message that the NHL is currently sending with their suspensions is unfortunately clear as well: Target your opponent's head and you might have to sit out a few games.

One only needs to look at Matt Cooke's play this season to see that the league does have the ability to change the behavior of its players. After finally being given a lengthy suspension for an elbow to New York Ranger Ryan McDonagh's head (Cooke's fifth suspension), he realized that his career could come to a sudden end if he continued targeting his opponents' heads and changed his play to such a degree that he only had 44 penalty minutes this year.

#91 in Boston likely wishes the league had gotten Cooke's attention sooner.

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Unfortunately, players' actions during the playoffs have only strengthened my argument above. While some fans say that the hits being made in the playoffs are "good old-fashioned hockey," the campaign to eliminate hits to the head came from the league. Even though some of these hits would have been legal several years ago, the league has changed the rules and is now responsible for their consistent enforcement. If the goal of the NHL's suspension policy is to get serious about hits to the head, the campaign has clearly failed.

Tuesday night, Raffi Torres launched into Marian Hossa, targeting his head. Earlier that evening, James Neal was suspended one game for targeting the heads of two Flyer players on consecutive shifts. This is after many other incidents, including Shea Weber grabbing Henrik Zetterberg's head and slamming it into the glass, earning him a $2500 fine.

When Brendan Shanahan took over for Colin Campbell, many fans hoped that the days of inconsistent supplementary discipline were over. Shanahan had the chance to set a strict standard, which he seemed to do at the beginning. As the playoffs have showed, however, the same problems that occurred under Campbell's tenure persist.

The fans of 29 teams each year will have their season end on a disappointing note. They know that most years will not be their year. All fans can hope for is that their team's elimination is not caused by something that could have been prevented. Vancouver playing without Daniel Sedin. Ottawa without their captain. Chicago not being able to dress Marian Hossa.

Tuesday night proved that Raffi Torres did not get the message that hits to the head are forbidden. I wonder why.

Tags: News

New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period against Philadelphia Flyers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period against Philadelphia Flyers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Some thoughts from the week that was for the New York Islanders, as they rang up their first three-game winning streak of the season and collected six must have points to remain in the chase for a playoff spot in 2016-17.

  • It wasn't enough to lift them out of the Metropolitan division basement or the bottom of the Eastern conference but the Islanders were impressive in collecting six points this week, two from high quality opponents. That's not to say the Flames are a pushover by any means, but they were exhausted at the end of their six-game road trip and coming off a back to back. The wins over the Penguins and Capitals were exactly what this team needed at this stage to avoid a complete collapse.
  • When you've played as poorly as the Islanders early on, it's never too early to begin looking at playoff standings. As of this morning, New York is five points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning with two games in hand, but still have seven teams to jump. Earlier in the week, sportsclubstats has the Islanders playoff chances at 3.5%. After the week they had, that increased to 12.7%. Still, an uphill battle at the moment.
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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have been on a search since the summer to bring in a new executive to run the team's hockey operations, reports Newsday's Arthur Staple

According to Staple, the new owners have worked to bring in a "big name" that would either work alongside GM Garth Snow or could make changes to the front office.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders have returned D Scott Mayfield to Bridgeport of the AHL, the team announced Friday.

Mayfield had been called up on an emergency basis on Nov. 14 to replace Dennis Seidenberg, who was activated off IR on Thursday.

Mayfield last played on Nov. 30 against the Penguins, tallying his only two points of the season.

He has appeared in just two games this season.


 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Thursday night's game against Washington had all the makings of a letdown. The Islanders were coming off a hard-fought, last-second win against the Penguins. They had to travel to the nation's capital. Thomas Greiss, who has emerged as the team's number one goaltender, wasn't even dressed.

They had skated hard and played an impressive two periods against the Capitals. But we were all bracing for the inevitable in a scoreless third period, and it came just 37 seconds in: the power play opportunity that would inevitably break New York's back.

After the Isles had killed off their first four chances down a man, two of which came late in the second period, Johnny Boychuk swatted a puck in the air out of play without it touching the glass. The delay of game minor gave Washington another shot on the power play just 29 seconds after Anders Lee's high-sticking penalty had expired, and the Caps were starting to buzz.

Washington hadn't converted on their last eight power plays, and they knew it. They were due, and smelled blood in the water. The way this season had gone, it was only a matter of time before the Capitals set up Alexander Ovechkin for one of his patented blasts from the circle that beat Jaroslav Halak and broke the tie.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Brian Erni
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Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save on Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) as Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) defends. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save on Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) as Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) defends. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders broke a scoreless tie with three goals in a 3:28 span of the third period to defeat the Capitals 3-0 Thursday in Washington. The Islanders won three in a row for the first time this season. 

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New York Islanders celebrate the 3-2 shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks during at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders celebrate the 3-2 shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks during at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders (8-10-4) head to Washington D.C. to face off against the Capitals (13-6-2) on Thursday night.

According to STATS:

  • New York lost a 3-0 third-period lead, but came back to score two times in the last 27 seconds of the game to beat the Penguins, 5-3, last night at Barclays Center. The Islanders have now won back-to-back games for just the second time of the season (also October 21-23).
  • Washington dropped a 4-2 decision in Toronto last Saturday night, snapping its two-game win streak in the process. The Caps are 4-1-0 in their last five tilts at Verizon Center, outscoring opponents by a combined 17-8 in those contests.
Tags: Washington Capitals
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New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period against Philadelphia Flyers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period against Philadelphia Flyers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Dennis Seidenberg has been removed from the IR, while Adam Pelech has been placed on the team's IR list, the Islanders announced Thursday evening.

Seidenberg suffered a broken jaw during New York's 3-2 overtime loss to the Panthers on Nov. 12. Prior to the injury, the defenseman had four goals and four assists in 15 games.

Pelech left Monday's game overtime win over the Flames after absorbing a hard hit. The 22-year old has a goal and two assists in nine games this season.

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

WASHINGTON -- The New York Islanders avoided a disastrous defeat Wednesday night and now have a chance to notch their first three-game winning streak of the season.

The Islanders (8-10-4) squandered a 3-0 third-period lead before Anders Lee scored with 26.6 seconds left and Nikolay Kulemin added an empty netter three seconds later to give New York a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After beating the Penguins, who are second in the Metropolitan Division, the last-place Islanders travel to Washington Thursday for their first meeting of the season with the Capitals (13-6-2), who are tied for third.

Tags: Washington Capitals
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The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
The New York Islanders celebrate the game winning goal by New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Remember, remember the month of November. Although that line is modified from the movie 'V for Vendetta', it very much applies to the New York Islanders, who are all too happy to move past their month of horrors and see the calendar flip to December 1.

Going back to the 2011-12 season, the 11th month of the year was not too kind to head coach Jack Capuano and his squad. New York went 4-7-2 and 4-10-1 in back to back full seasons, putting them firmly behind the proverbial eight ball as the season ticked past the thin red line that separates the playoffs from an early golf outing. Things seemed to improve in 2014-15 with a monster 11-3-0 month before the team tailed off yet again the following season with a mark of 7-6-1.

If you're counting at home, that's 26-26-4 over the past four full seasons heading into 2016-17. With New York just completing their November last night at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game they would will themselves to win 5-3 after surrendering a 3-0 third-period lead, it gave the Islanders a 4-5-4 mark this time around, just 46% of all possible points and only 2 regulation wins in 13 tries.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (AP)
(AP)

Scott Mayfield had played just once since he was called up earlier this month, but that didn't stop the rookie for contributing in a big way in Wednesday night's win over the Penguins.

Mayfield played 14:22, registered a shot on goal, and tallied his first two NHL assists in the team's 5-3 victory at Barclays Center.

"I thought Scotty Mayfield stepped in and did a really good job," Jack Capuano told reporters after the game.

Mayfield, 24, has now played in 13 career NHL games. He was a second round draft pick by the Islanders in 2011.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

If you went to bed after the second period of Wednesday night's game, I wouldn't have blamed you. The Islanders were leading the reigning Stanley Cup champions, 3-0, and the nationally-televised start time of 8:00 had pushed the third period an hour later than usual.

So if you figured the Isles would win -- and even if they didn't, you didn't want to witness blowing a three-goal lead - you are forgiven for hitting the hay.

However, you missed a fireworks factory which included New York blowing that lead, then scoring three seconds apart in the final minute to put the icing on the most feel-good win of the season

Tags: Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk, Nikolay Kulemin, Thomas Hickey
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Nov 30, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) and New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 30, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) and New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

Second Period

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, Johnny Boychuk, Pittsburgh Penguins
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Nov 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) controls the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Eric Fehr (16) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) controls the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Eric Fehr (16) during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders look for their second victory in a row as they take on the rival Penguins at Barclays Center on Wednesday night. 

According to STATS...

  • The Penguins haven't played since Saturday, when they beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-3 in a shootout, in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has not had consecutive wins sin November 5 & 8 (at San Jose, vs. Edmonton). In their last three games, the Penguins are 0-for-11 on the power play and have allowed five power-play goals in just nine opponent power-play opportunities.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Nov 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders are said to have a team value of $385 million, which is good for the 18th spot in the NHL, according to Forbes. 

Forbes calculated the value of the team to have increased 18 percent from last year. 

New team owners, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, paid $485 million to become majority owners, replacing Charles Wang, who is now a minority investor in the team. 

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New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)
New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline)

When should Islanders prospects Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang get the call? SNY.tv's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...


Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

With the Isles seven points out of a playoff spot, a lot of fans are clamoring to see the future crop of forwards in Brooklyn. Andy, do you think Michael Dal Colle and/or Josh Ho-Sang should get the call to the big club at some point this season?

Tags: Alain Quine, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) work out prior to game two of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders center Ryan Strome (18) work out prior to game two of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Thomas Greiss will start in goal for the Islanders Wednesday against the Penguins, head coach Jack Capuano told reporters Wednesday morning.

J.F. Berube will serve as Greiss' backup.

Ryan Strome is back in the lineup and will take the place of Alan Quine.

Tags: Alain Quine, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss
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New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin)
New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin)

Mathew Barzal has been invited to Canada's World Juniors selection camp in Blainville, Quebec, on Dec. 10-14, according to Jason Brough of NBC Sports.

Barzal was on Canada's National Junior Team for last year's World Juniors, and registered three points on two goals and an assist in Canada's five games before being eliminated by Finland in the quarterfinals. 

Canada will host the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship for the 12th time this year. The tournament will feature 31 games between 10 nations.

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver are back with another depression-filled podcast filled with some of our old favorites: Ryan Strome's benching, late-game losses, and rumors of a change that will never come true. Plus, Arthur Staple of Newsday calls in to the fun for his take on the team, and his thoughts on the likelihood of the Islanders reaching out to former Panthers head coach, Gerard Gallant.

Tags: Ryan Strome
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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) celebrates his game winning goal against the Calgary Flames with New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the overtime period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) celebrates his game winning goal against the Calgary Flames with New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the overtime period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

To say Thomas Hickey has a knack for the dramatic could be the understatement of the 27-year-old Calgary native's New York Islanders career. Once again, New York was up against the odds, down a defenseman due to a late second period injury to Adam Pelech and forced to play the remainder of the game rotating the five still standing.

Having tied the most minutes he has played over the past six games, 19:48, the diminutive yet tough and rugged Hickey found himself as the lone defenseman in the three on three extra session, on the ice with captain John Tavares and Shane Prince.

However, defense was hardly on his mind as he set up shop to the right of Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott and deflected Tavares' floater from the high slot between the netminder's arm and watched it roll into the cage, giving his team a much needed, if slightly unearned, two points.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Islanders D Ryan Pulock has been activated off IR and sent to Bridgeport of the AHL on loan, the team announced Tuesday.

On Oct. 22, the team said Pulock would miss four-to-six weeks due to a lower-body injury, which Newsday's Arthur Staple later reported was a broken foot. 

Pulock, 22, has played in just one game this season.

Tags: Ryan Pulock
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New York Islanders center John Tavares controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center John Tavares controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Thomas Hickey scored the game-winning goal 1:53 into overtime as the New York Islanders beat the Calgary Flames, 2-1, Monday at Barclays Center. >> Read more


Overtime:

  • 1:53 NYI Thomas Hickey; Assist: John Tavares

What's next:

The Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Barclays Center on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Tags: Calgary Flames, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) skates during the third period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) skates during the third period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

The Islanders (6-10-4) will face off against the Flames (10-13-1) at Barclays Center on Monday night at 7 p.m. ET.

According to STATS:

  • The Flames lost, 5-3, in Philadelphia last night, snapping their two-game win streak, and dropping to 3-2-0 on the current road trip. Calgary is 2-2-1 in the second of back-to-back tilts this season.
  • New York dropped a 3-2 decision in San Jose on Friday, losing its second straight game, and for the sixth time in the last seven contests overall (1-4-2 record). The Isles are 3-2-1 when getting two or more days off between tilts this season.
Tags: Calgary Flames, Nick Leddy
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New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) in the third period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto)
New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) in the third period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto)

NEW YORK -- The Calgary Flames are staying afloat during a six-game Eastern Conference road trip. They will try to close the trek out in winning style Monday when they face the skidding New York Islanders at Barclays Center.

Both teams are coming off losses. Calgary fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 Sunday night, while New York dropped a 3-2 decision to the Sharks in San Jose on Friday. The Islanders return home to open a brief two-game homestand.

The Flames already ensured themselves of at least a .500 trip (3-2-0). They enter play Monday two points behind the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars in the race for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Tags: Calgary Flames
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ryan Strome will be a healthy scratch Monday night when the Islanders play the Flames, head coach Jack Capuano said.

He was also a healthy scratch on Friday night.

Strome, 23, has two goals and four assists in 19 games this season.

Tags: Ryan Strome, Andy Graziano
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Thomas Greiss will be in goal for the Islanders on Monday night when they face the Flames, head coach Jack Capuano said.

Ryan Strome and Scott Mayfield will be healthy scratches.

Tags: Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

It's hard not to notice that the Islanders are in a jam, and it has put both their head coach and their general manager on the hot seat. But believe it or not, Jack Capuano is not the first head coach to get the axe this season, as the Florida Panthers dismissed former Islanders assistant coach Gerard Gallant late on Sunday night. But Forida's loss could be New York's gain, and the team should pick up the phone, if they haven't already.

Gallant was as an assistant coach for the Islanders from 2007 to 2008 before becoming a special assistant to GM Garth Snow.

"Gerard has been an essential member of our coaching staff," Snow said at the time. "He will serve as a valuable asset within the hockey operations department."

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Nov 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) controls the puck in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) controls the puck in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

With the New York Islanders just finishing the first quarter of their 2016-17 schedule and residing in last place in the National Hockey League standings with a record of 6-10-4, we took to social media to poll a reasonably anxious fan base about who they might want to see in an Islanders sweater should Garth Snow, rumored to be working the phones, swing a deal.

Of course, this exists only on social media, in a perfect world, without giving specifics about what the Islanders might have to send out to make such a player attainable. Being an NHL general manager is certainly not easy, but it's much easier using the "PS4 X button" mentality.

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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders celebrate a scored goal in the first period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders celebrate a scored goal in the first period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Looking to boost their performance, the Islanders have signed on with a Russian analytics group to track statistics and other elements of the team, according to a Bloomberg report

Iceberg, which has already worked with a team in Russia's KHL, is bringing along the Islanders and the Vaxjo Lakers of Sweden to use its data system.

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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) watches the puck in the third period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) watches the puck in the third period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders are off to a brutal start, and that includes Jason Chimera.

Chimera has one goal and five assists and has placed in each of the team's first 20 games. 

Chimera, 37, was signed to a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Islanders on the first day of free agency. 

On Friday against the Sharks, the Islanders scratched Ryan Strome.

Tags: Jason Chimera
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Nov 23, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Dwight King (74) celebrates with center Trevor Lewis (22) after scoreing a goal in the third period as New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41), defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) defend the goal during a NHL hockey game at Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Predators 4-2. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 23, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Dwight King (74) celebrates with center Trevor Lewis (22) after scoreing a goal in the third period as New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41), defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) and defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) defend the goal during a NHL hockey game at Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Predators 4-2. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

I've never been an alarmist when it comes to hockey. I made a conscious decision to not judge the team or player performance on a game-by-game basis, instead choosing to take the "wait and see" approach until a more complete body of work is available for analysis. Some people will use five games as their measuring stick. Others, ten. In my world, it's always been about quarters. It seems like a fair enough length of time to allow for a body of work before making rash judgments.

The New York Islanders hit that quarter mark yesterday, playing their 20th game in an 82-game season. There have been few positives and an entire laundry list of negatives in 2016-17 to this point for a team supposed to be on the rise. A team expected to be past the follies of the past, coming off two exciting 100-point seasons and their first playoff round win in over 20 years.

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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks celebrate after scoring the winning goal in the last 22 seconds of the third period of the game against New York Islanders at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks celebrate after scoring the winning goal in the last 22 seconds of the third period of the game against New York Islanders at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

It happened. Again. 

On Friday afternoon, the Islanders found a new, agonizing way to give up a decisive goal late, and it may have been the final nail in the coffin of this season.

Tags: John Tavares, San Jose Sharks
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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney (50) fight for control of the puck in the second period of the game at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and San Jose Sharks center Chris Tierney (50) fight for control of the puck in the second period of the game at SAP Center at San Jose. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

Tags: San Jose Sharks
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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Islanders captain John Tavares can be an unrestricted free agent after next season, and Bob McKenzie of TSN and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN recently weighed in on what the future might have in store.

"Right now [the Islanders are] on course to finish at the bottom of the league," McKenzie said. "And I know that John Tavares doesn't feel like he signed up anywhere in the National Hockey League to be on a last place team. It'll be fascinating to see where the Islanders finish this year and how that influences John Tavares in what he does or doesn't do as far as doing an extension. Keeping in mind he's still got a full year before he gets there."

LeBrun noted that Tavares has made it clear he wants to be an Islander for life.

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders right wing Ryan Strome (18) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the second period at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke)
New York Islanders right wing Ryan Strome (18) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the second period at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke)

Entering play on Thursday, the Islanders are 6-9-4, with just 16 points. That puts them dead last in the Eastern Conference and ahead of only Arizona in terms of futility in the NHL. With New York seven points out of a playoff spot and seven teams to leap if they're going to qualify for their third consecutive trip to the postseason, the situation looks bleak.

Still, the Islanders are confident they can get their season turned around. So what has to happen for the Isles to resurrect their 2016-17 campaign?

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Strome, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Brock Nelson (29) shoots the puck in the first period against the L.A. Kings at Staples Center.  (Kirby Lee - USA Today)
Brock Nelson (29) shoots the puck in the first period against the L.A. Kings at Staples Center. (Kirby Lee - USA Today)

Anders Lee tied the game 1-1 for the Islanders with a goal early in the third period. However, the Kings would shock the Islanders by finding the back of the net three times in under a minute late in the third to pull away in a 4-2 victory.

Tags: Anders Lee
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November 22, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
November 22, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates his goal scored against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders look to make it two wins in a row when they take on the Kings in Los Angeles at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

According to STATS...

  • New York beat Anaheim, 3-2, in a marathon shootout (14 rounds) last night at Honda Center, snapping its four-game losing streak with the win. The Islanders are 3-3-4 in one-goal games this season.
  • The Kings beat the Ducks, 3-2, at Honda Center on Sunday night, and have now won three straight games while allowing exactly two goals in each victory. Los Angeles is 10-1-0 when netting at least three goals this season (0-8-1 in all other games).
Tags: Los Angeles Kings
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New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) celebrates after scoring a goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (not pictured) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) celebrates after scoring a goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (not pictured) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

LOS ANGELES -- The New York Islanders bring a surprising surge of momentum into a Wednesday game against the red-hot Los Angeles Kings.

New York (6-8-4) broke a four-game losing streak by winning a franchise-record, 14-round shootout and emerging with a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The road victory was the first of the season for the Islanders, who are 1-4-1 overall away from Barclays Center during an early-season schedule heavily weighted toward home contests.

 

Tags: Los Angeles Kings
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Jaroslav Halak will be in goal for the Islanders on Wednesday night against the Kings, head coach Jack Capuano said.

Cal Clutterbuck will be a game time decision.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) reacts during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) reacts during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

In professional baseball, there are some pitchers who have been known to have 'personal catchers', players who go behind the plate only when said hurler takes the mound. The New York Islanders and head coach Jack Capuano might want to anoint Thomas Greiss as their 'personal goaltender' after he stole a badly needed two points in Anaheim last night, defeating the Ducks in a 14-round shootout, 3-2.

The problems that have plagued New York all season are still present, from bad defensive zone clearances to a poor breakout and neutral zone play, which instead of creating speed and flow into the offensive zone, more often than not forces a dump-in. But there were flashes, even if they were not sustained over 60 minutes, but rather the first 30, of some of the Islanders hockey that made this team very tough to play against over the past two years.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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 (Watchara Phomicinda)
(Watchara Phomicinda)

The Islanders have expressed interest in trading for Sabres LW Evander Kane, though nothing seems imminent. 

"The New York Islanders came in and starting kicking tires on Evander Kane, but nothing came of that," Bob McKenzie of TSN reported. "Nothing is imminent at this moment, but the Buffalo Sabres will consider it for the right defenseman."

Kane, 25, has zero goals and two assists in eight games this season.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Brian Erni
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 (Jae C. Hong)
(Jae C. Hong)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Leddy scored the winner in a marathon 14-round shootout, lifting the New York Islanders over the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Thomas Greiss made 39 saves and Adam Pelech and Josh Bailey scored in regulation for the Islanders, who had been 0-4-1 on the road this season.

Each team had four goals in the shootout through 13 rounds. After Kevin Bieksa missed on a slap shot to start Round 14, Leddy waited out Jonathan Bernier before snapping in the winner.

Anaheim nearly won in the 12th when officials reviewed a tying goal by New York's Thomas Hickey, but officials determined that Hickey did not interfere with Bernier on his attempt and awarded him the tally. Read more >>

Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Nick Leddy
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders play the Ducks in Anaheim on Tuesday night. According to STATS...

  • The Islanders dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Penguins at Barclays Center on Friday night, losing their season-high fourth straight game. New York has allowed at least three goals on 11 occasions this year, and is 1-7-3 in those contests.
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver have little to be thankful for from the Islanders, as the season looks almost lost before Thanksgiving. They talk about Garth Snow speaking up and giving out votes of confidence, potential trade partners, and the continuing mess with the goaltending.

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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Thomas Greiss will start for the Islanders on Tuesday against the Ducks, head coach Jack Capuano said.

Alan Quine will take the place of Shane Prince in the lineup.

J.F. Berube will be backing up Greiss in goal. 

Tags: Alain Quine, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Two teams whose seasons are heading in opposite directions will meet Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks play the New York Islanders at the Honda Center.

The Ducks share first place in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Kings and the surprising Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders, meanwhile, own the worst record in the Eastern Conference following a frustrating November. New York has lost four consecutive games this month and seven of eight. Two losses took place during overtime, another two in shootouts.

Scoring has been such a big problem for the Islanders that first-line center John Tavares has seen a constant rotation of different wingers all season. So has left winger Andrew Ladd, who signed a seven-year contract worth $38.5 million as a free agent but has just two goals, one assist and a minus-4 rating after 17 games.

Tags: Anaheim Ducks
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New York Islanders goaltender JF Berube makes a pad save against the New York Rangers during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders goaltender JF Berube makes a pad save against the New York Rangers during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Lighthouse Hockey has started a movement to have J-F Berube be voted into the game as captain of the Metropolitan Division's All Star team.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Brian Erni
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The Islanders have had trouble early this season findings ways to put the puck in the net -- among other things. So how long until they dip into their talented pool of young forwards at Bridgeport and give first round picks Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang an opportunity?

Dal Colle scored his sixth and seventh goals over the weekend, giving him nine points in 15 games. Ho-Sang, who had a few beautiful set ups, brought his assist total to eight and his point total to 10 in 14 games. Both have proven to be very effective playmakers in Brett Thompson's system, and it stands to reason that these two could give the Isles an offensive boost. One of them may even be the answer to the perpetual opening on John Tavares' wing. So how long will we have to wait?

Tags: John Tavares, Brian Erni
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Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is among the team's top shot-takers. (Kim Klement)

The numbers show why the Islanders are the worst team in the NHL as they begin a three-game West Coast trip.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders just went through yet another tumultuous week where an expected coaching change never materialized and general manager Garth Snow broke his silence with the media, speaking to reporters after Friday's practice, in what was thought to be a forced move after Frank Seravalli of TSN revealed details of a discussion the two had in Toronto at the GM meetings.

With some sarcasm, snark and ill-advised humor, Snow offered a vote of confidence for his embattled head coach, Jack Capuano, whose system is either not working anymore with the current roster of players at his disposal, or the players have simply tired of the message being preached and have tuned it out. He also gave support to said roster, all while feverishly working the phones looking for offensive help.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Andy Graziano
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