Earlier today, the Islanders' Oklahoman defender Matt Donovan took a few minutes to discuss a wide range of topics. Donovan, 22, is one of a group of young defense prospects that made his NHL debut last year for the Islanders and is hoping to turn that into a regular gig at the Coliseum this fall. He is also active on Twitter @squatchdonovan and was honored in Oklahoma City earlier this summer on Matt Donovan Day.

In April, you played your first few NHL games; how did that feel?

Matt Donovan: It was unbelievable. As a kid coming from Oklahoma you don't see that at all -- I was the first born and raised kid from Oklahoma to make it to the NHL -- and that was a pretty cool feeling. As any kid knows growing up playing hockey anywhere it's your dream to play in the NHL and I finally made that dream a reality. It was very cool to play in the NHL a couple games and hopefully many more to come.

Growing up in Oklahoma, what's the hockey environment like there? Are there a lot of rinks or are you guys playing more roller hockey? What was that like growing up?

With the recession it's tough, you don't see a lot of kids playing the past couple years. But now it's starting to build up a little more and more kids are starting to play so it's pretty good. There are a couple rinks here in the Oklahoma City area. It's definitely growing... Hopefully more people start realizing now how good hockey actually is and that will hopefully get them more involved in hockey around here.

How did you originally get into hockey?

Well, my dad's from Boston and he moved down here during college. Right before I was born he got into the rink business and started running the rinks here. There was a rink near my house when I was growing up... so he was running that rink when I was born. That's how I got into it, I was a rink rat my whole life pretty much. We moved to Edmond when I was eight or nine and he ran a rink here in Edmond and now he's still running a rink but it's a different rink on the south side of Oklahoma City. My whole life, he's been around the rinks and that's definitely been a huge help in my career, having him at the rink and that lets me be able to get on the ice whenever I want and that's kinda how I grew up. I was on the ice whenever I could be and I was always at the rink either on roller blades off the ice or on the ice with skates.

This summer, you had Matt Donovan Day in Oklahoma City. How did that come about?

Mayor Cornett caught wind that there was the first born and raised Oklahoman to make it to the NHL and I think he wanted to recognize me in being that first born and raised kid to make it to the NHL. Sometimes they recognize guys who make it to the NFL or NBA coming from Oklahoma. I went to the City Council meeting in Oklahoma City and he honored me and had Matt Donovan Day, so it was a pretty good experience.

You went to the City Council, did you do anything else special on that day?

No, not really. Just the city council meeting. I had a bunch of family and friends there that came to support me. It was pretty cool the way they honored me in front of the whole city council meeting. That was pretty much it. I spent the day with my family, we had a great day, but I skated and worked out just like a normal day.

You're one of the more active players on Twitter, what do you enjoy about being on Twitter?

I have a lot of friends on Twitter so I think just messing with friends and saying some stuff that might get some attention from fans is pretty cool. Getting responses from fans saying how much they like you or how much they look up to you is very cool. It's kind of a good way to keep in touch with people and mess around a little bit too.

One of the other things I noticed was 'squatch', your nickname.

[Laughs] Squatch Donovan, yeah that's kind of a joke too. My roommates and I had a big on-going joke about how I was debating with them that I thought sasquatch was real and they didn't think it was real. I took it to the next level, changing my Twitter name to 'squatchdonovan' and my bio says 'semi-professional sasquatch tracker.'

To go back to hockey... In your first couple of NHL games, what did you notice as the biggest difference in the style of play as compared to the AHL?

I think it's a little faster, the guys are a little bigger and a little stronger. The play just happens a little faster and your puck decisions have to be quicker. I think those are the big differences. Obviously there's a ton of good players in the AHL and I think the NHL is just that little step above and everything has to be a little quicker and faster.

Off the ice, did you notice any big differences?

Off the ice, I think it's the same. All the guys are great, all the staff is great. The big difference is that you fly everywhere and you're not driving in a bus but you're getting treated like top-level guys in the NHL. In the AHL, you're kinda on a bus and fending for yourself.

Looking towards next season, there are a lot of young players and young defenders on the team. What do you think are your chances of being on the opening night roster?

Well, I hope they're pretty good. Like you said there are a lot of young guys competing for spots on the team. Hopefully I'm one of those guys that is competing. I'm going to come into camp and battle and try my hardest to beat those guys out of that spot. Hopefully I can beat those guys out of that spot and be the one that makes that roster spot.

What do you think your best on-ice attribute is that can help you grab of those spots?

I think definitely vision on the ice and my offensive skills. I've always been an offensive defenseman so I think getting points and playing on the power play are some of my biggest attributes. Definetly trying to get better and better at playing more defensive and playing better defensively. I think I'm taking the right steps in that direction of getting better in those areas, but I definitely think that my offensive ability and vision on the ice are my best attributes.

As you're training this summer, is there anything specific that you're trying to work on?

Just getting faster and stronger... I'm definitely trying to get stronger and a little bit quicker and hopefully that will translate onto the ice.

Last question. This time last summer we would have been talking about your AHL debut and now we're talking about your NHL debut. Do you feel like things have been moving fast for you the last couple years?

Definitely. Things happen very quickly and this is no exception. Going from college to AHL to NHL, it's been a quick transition. Hopefully I'm making that transition well and the coaches and staff of the Islanders see that. I'm continuing to get better and better and hopefully some day soon -- coming out of training camp hopefully -- I'm able to show them that I've made the steps to become a full-time NHL player.

Tags: Exclusive, exclusive, Interviews, interviews, matt donovan, Editorial Aside, Prospects

Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

After starting the season 15-7-2, the Islanders have regressed since December, going 8-13-2. Ahead of a three-game Western Conference road trip, head coach Doug Weight is looking at his best players to help pull the Islanders back on track.

John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Mathew Barzal are among the NHL's top 15 in points and Anders Lee is third in goals. That's who Weight is looking for to get even better as the season grinds on.

"It's the time of the year to follow your best players," Weight said, via Arthur Staple of Newsday...

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)
Avalanche right wing Nail Yakupov celebrates after a goal scored by defenseman Patrik Nemeth as Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak and defenseman Ryan Pulock react in the first period. (AP)

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

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

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

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin Pryor, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

Thanks to a Patrice Bergeron hat trick, the Islanders fall to the Bruins 5-2. Jordan Eberle and John Tavares scored the two goals for the Isles while the Bruins have extended their point streak to 15 games.  << Box score

First period:

  • 7:35 NYI Jordan Eberle; Assist: Mathew Barzal
  • 13:41 BOS Patrice Bergeron; Assists: Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak

Second period:

Tags: John Tavares, Jordan Eberle
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Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

For the Boston Bruins, it's 14 and counting.

Fourteen consecutive games the Bruins have gained a point, a run helping vault them near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Bruins attempt to gain at least one point for the 15th straight game Thursday night when they visit the New York Islanders at Barclays Center.

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

The Islanders are finally receiving good news about injuries to their players as Josh Bailey could be ready to play Thursday against the Bruins. 

Bailey, who was out with a lower-body injury, was set to skate Wednesday at practice to see how he feels. Head coach Doug Weight thinks Bailey looks good, but practice will determine if the Isles put him in the lineup Thursday. 

"Bails is feeling pretty good," Weight told The Post's Greg Joyce before the team's loss to the Devils on Tuesday. "We'll get him on the ice [Wednesday] and see how he feels."

Tags: Josh Bailey
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) plays the puck while being defended by New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) plays the puck while being defended by New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Islanders might have gotten lucky on Monday night against the Canadiens, but the Devils were not going to let that happen on Tuesday in a lopsided 4-1 victory. 

Montreal peppered Thomas Greiss with 56 shots on Monday, but only converted on four goals as the Isles barely skated back home with the overtime win on 24 shots. But Jaroslav Halak didn't have the same magic against New Jersey, who outshot the Islanders, 42-26. 

Anders Lee, who scored the Isles' only goal, knows his team can't continue allowing opponents to forecheck as they please. 

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Thomas Greiss
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a glove save against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a glove save against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Damon Severson scored consecutive goals less than two minutes apart in the second period as the Devils snapped the Islanders three-game winning streak, 4-1, on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 1:39 NYI Anders Lee
  • 15:20 NJD Kyle Palmieri (PP); Assists: Sami Vatanen, Marcus Johansson

Second period:

  • 12:58 NJD Damon Severson; Assists: Brian Gibbons, Stefan Noesen
  • 14:24 NJD Severson; Assists: Ben Lovejoy, Jesper Bratt
  • 18:20 NJD Taylor Hall

Third period:

  • NONE
Tags: Anders Lee
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Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)
Jan 15, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Islanders players celebrate their win against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports (Jean-Yves Ahern)

NEW YORK -- A win over the New Jersey Devils nine days ago helped snap an extended funk by the New York Islanders. The Devils will look to return the favor Tuesday night, when they again visit the Islanders in a matchup of Metropolitan Division rivals at Barclays Center.

The Islanders earned their third straight win Monday, when they edged the host Montreal Canadiens, 5-4, in overtime Monday. John Tavares' goal 1:51 into the extra session ensured a yeoman-like effort by backup goalie Thomas Greiss (a career-high 52 saves) would not go for naught for New York. >> Read more

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 (Jean-Yves Ahern)
(Jean-Yves Ahern)

John Tavares may have notched the game-winner in overtime, but the Islanders wouldn't have made it that far if it wasn't for stellar goaltending from Thomas Greiss Monday night. 

The Islanders held the lead all game long, but if there wasn't a scoreboard, one would think the Canadiens were dominating with the amount of time the puck came Greiss' way. New York was largely outshot, 56-24, but Greiss totaled 52 saves to allow his team to steal a win on the road in Montreal. 

"We don't get anywhere close to a win without him," Adam Pelech told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "For sure we wanted to win this one for what he did the whole game."

Tags: John Tavares, Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Bell Centre. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports)

John Tavares scored two goals, including the game-winner 1:51 into overtime after New York blew a 4-2 lead, as the Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on Monday at Bell Centre. >> Box score

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Montreal Canadiens, Thomas Greiss, Thomas Hickey
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Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers stick checks New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal in the first period action at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers stick checks New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal in the first period action at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports)

The battered New York Islanders will need rookie Mathew Barzal to stay hot as they try for three wins in a row when they play the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night at Bell Centre.

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Montreal Canadiens
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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

Atop of the Islanders' large to-do list is to make sure star C John Tavares wants to return in 2018, and it appears the All-Star would like to. 

"I hope to stay in Long Island," Tavares told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "There's a lot of positive things going forward with the organization and the team here. I haven't thought about being anywhere else but with the Islanders."

Tavares will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, as his six-yaer, $33 million deal he signed back in 2012. The Islanders have until July 1 of this year to sign Tavares before he officially hits the market. 

Tags: John Tavares
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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders 00:00:49
Fresh off of wins over the Devils and the Rangers, the Islanders discuss what they need to do to maintain success in the Metro Division.

New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Islanders C Casey Cizikas may have to sit out awhile after suffering an "upper-body injury" against the Rangers on Saturday. 

Cizikas went down hard in the second period, and immediately left the game never to return. After the game, head coach Doug Weight couldn't believe another one of his players could be out of the equation for a significant amount of time. 

"It's getting worse, that's all I can tell you," Weight told The Post's Brett Cyrgalis. "It's upper body and it's not great. You've got to get some good looks at it, but he won't be playing the next little while, at least."

Tags: Casey Cizikas
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Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 27, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his goal in overtime to win the game 3-2 during the overtime period go the game between the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Islanders resumed their 2017-18 season with a bang, beating the Rangers 7-2. Mathew Barzal enjoyed a five point afternoon, with two goals and three assists and Anthony Beauvillier scored twice and added an assist. 

First period

  • 6:06 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle
  • 14:25 NYR Kevin Hayes (PPG); Assist: Rick Nash
  • 16:25 NYI Shane Prince; Assist: Scott Mayfield

Second period

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)

NEW YORK -- A pair of local rivals will resume their frantic race for an Eastern Conference playoff berth Saturday afternoon, when the New York Rangers host the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

Both the Rangers and Islanders are coming off their five-day "bye week" and will be playing for the first time since Sunday, when the visiting Rangers fell to the Vegas Golden Knights, 2-1, while the host Islanders edged the New Jersey Devils, 5-4, in the shootout.

The results further tightened an already cramped race for the Eastern Conference wild card spots. The Rangers (22-15-5) have sole possession of the first wild card in the East, one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes.

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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders 00:00:51
Islanders coach Doug Weight breaks down what his team needs to do in order to defeat the Rangers on Saturday.

 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

The Islanders first-round draft pick back in 2014, Michael Dal Colle, is set to make his NHL debut against the Rangers on Saturday. 

Dal Colle could see some significant time in his debut, according to head coach Doug Weight. His call-up was due to injuries involving Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd, and Dal Colle may be asked to fill their void. 

"He could get north of 13, 14, or 15 (minutes), or he could get six," Weight told Newsday's Jordan Lauterbach. "He can dictate that, I'm sure he's going to work. But, I expect him to play."

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

Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang admitted he is going through some growing pains after he was a healthy scratch from AHL Bridgeport's lineup on Wednesday.

"When you start the year in the NHL and then get scratched in the AHL in the same year, it's kind of … it's kind of mentally tough," Ho-Sang told the New York Post's Greg Joyce.

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New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have emergency recalled Anthony Beauvillier and Michael Dal Colle from Bridgeport. Sebastian Aho has also been recalled from the organization's AHL affiliate, the team announced

On Sunday, Beauvillier and Aho were loaned to Bridgeport during the Islanders break in schedule. Dal Colle is yet to make his NHL debut. 

Beauvillier, 20, has played 32 games with the Islanders this season. He's accumulated 8 points, with 5 goals and 3 assists and is a minus-9. In 66 games with the Islanders last season, he had 24 points with 9 goals and 15 assists and was a plus-1. Beauvillier was a first round pick of the Isles in 2015...

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

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky is "confident" that his club will play some games at Nassau Coliseum while their new arena is being built at Belmont Park.

However, in the same breath, Ledecky also tossed cold water on the notion that the Isles would play at their former home on a full-time basis during the construction of their new home. The Islanders called the Coliseum home from 1972-2015 before moving to Brooklyn.

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

John Tavares and Josh Bailey have been named to the NHL All-Star Game's Metropolitan Division team, the Islanders announced Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Tavares will make be playing in his fourth consecutive All-Star game and fifth overall. Tavares leads the Islanders with 22 goals and 51 points in 43 games. New York's captain is tied for fifth in the NHL in goals and is sixth in points. A free agent at the conclusion of the season, Tavares is on pace to eclipse his personal bests of 38 and 86 points, both established during the 2014-15 campaign. 

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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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)

John Tavares should not, and almost certainly will not, be dealt by the Islanders prior to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26.

The question of whether Tavares should be traded - instead of the Islanders potentially losing him in July as an unrestricted free agent for nothing in return - continues to be raised in league circles and by columnists.

To be clear, the view here is that Tavares should not be traded. The return is unlikely to match the damage done by giving up on trying to re-sign him.

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, along with others, visited the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum Tuesday to see if it could be a temporary home for the Islanders, per Newsday's Jim Baumbach. 

The Islanders received word that they will likely get the official lease to the Belmont Park property in Spring 2019 after an "environmental review process" that will start in March, and would likely take "12 to 16 months." With the team's current lease at Barclays Center up after the 2018 season, they will need to find a one-year home as the arena would be ready until the 2020-21 season, barring any setbacks. 

The Coliseum was never in play as the team's permanent residence, but one year while the new arena is built wouldn't hurt. This is why Bettman, along with Isles' co-owner Jon Ledecky, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark, and Long Island Association CEO Kevin Law, toured the Coliseum to see exactly what was renovated. 

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Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) 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 center Brock Nelson (29) skates with the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Islanders C Brock Nelson's name has been floated as a possible trade option by Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet, who says "there will be interest" in the 26-year-old.

 

Tags: Brock Nelson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders are likely to receive an official lease from Empire State Development for the Belmont property in Spring 2019 following an environmental review process, per Newsday's Jim Baumbach.

The environmental review could take about "12 to 16 months" as it starts this March. In the meantime, the Islanders and Barclays Center are currently discussing interim arena plans considering the arena won't be ready until the 2020-21 season at the earliest. They are set to play at Barclays Center next season, after which their home is up in the air. 

The NHL has noted they are open to a Nassau Coliseum reunion for the Islanders if need be. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Post it would be up to the Islanders if that move back to the Coliseum happens. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Islanders 00:00:28
John Tavares breaks down the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Devils and discusses the importance of ending the team's five-game losing streak.

The Devils and Islanders engaged in a back-and-forth contest through three periods, but after a scoreless overtime, Brock Nelson made the game-winner in a shootout to help the Islanders defeat the Devils, 5-4. >> Box score

Tags: Brock Nelson
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New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan skates with the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan skates with the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- The only thing the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils need more than the NHL's version of a "bye week" is a win heading into their time off.

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

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

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

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New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey scores a goal past San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell during the second period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey scores a goal past San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell during the second period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders lost to the Penguins 4-0 on Friday night and the game may prove to be more costly than it just being the team's fifth straight loss.

Josh Bailey, who's tied for the team lead in points (50) with John Tavares, left in the first period with a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game and is likely to be out for the team's next game against the Devils on Sunday.

"I don't have a substantial report," Doug Weight said after the game, via Kyle Schnitzer of NY Post. "Obviously, he didn't return so it's not great. … I think he looks like I wouldn't expect to see him, but maybe it's a good time for a break."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Josh Bailey, Ryan Pulock
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New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have recalled forward Anthony Beauvillier, the organization announced.

Beauvillier, 20, has played in 31 games with the Islanders this season. He's accumulated 7 points, with 4 goals and 3 assists and is a minus-8. In 66 games with the Islanders last season, he had 24 points with 9 goals and 15 assists. He was a plus-1.

The forward scored two goals with the Islanders' AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, on Friday. He was drafted 28th overall by the Islanders in 2015.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier
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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)

By losing to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins 4-0 Friday night, the Islanders losing streak has grown to five games. 

The Islanders have conceded no fewer than four goals in any of the five games, leaking 21 goals in total. Their normally steller offense has largely failed to pick up the pieces, scoring more than two goals in just one of the five losses.

In a word, the players are frustrated with themselves. Anders Lee gave voice to that after Friday night's loss.

Tags: Anders Lee
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The Islanders dropped their fifth straight game as the Penguins shut them out at Barclays Center, 4-0, Friday night. << Box Score

No offense came in the first period, but the Penguins changed that early in the second when Daniel Sprong got one passed Jaroslav Halak just 41 seconds into the period. 

After Ryan Pulock was called for tripping at 2:09, Evgeni Malkin capitalized on the power play. Sidney Crosby would notch his third point of a four-point night on a goal at 15:50 in the period to break it wide open. 

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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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)

Islanders G Thomas Greiss ended Jaroslav Halak's six-game start streak in net Thursday night against the Flyers, but it wasn't a game to remember. 

Greiss had another game where he allowed at least five goals, which is now the fifth time in the last six starts it has happened. 

"In speaking with Thomas, he's frustrated," head coach Doug Weight told Newsday's Brian Heyman. "That's for sure. He looked to be aggressive...He's got to keep fighting. He battled in the third period. I thought he continued to compete and let us get back into the game in that last 15 minutes."

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Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- A pair of struggling Metropolitan Division teams looking to avoid losses on back-to-back nights will square off Friday when the New York Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Barclays Center.

Both teams fell further behind in the jam-packed Eastern Conference playoff picture Thursday, when the Penguins were blanked by the host Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 and the visiting Islanders suffered their fourth straight loss when they could not complete a three-goal comeback in a 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The results Thursday should lend some urgency to Friday's game for both teams. The Islanders (20-17-4) fell out of a tie for the second wild card spot by virtue of their loss and the Hurricanes' win while the Penguins (20-19-3), the reigning Stanley Cup champions, are three points behind Carolina and one point ahead of the last-place Flyers in the Metropolitan. << Read more

 

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New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (Aaron Doster)

All along, it appeared to just about everyone that the Islanders' problems were goaltending and team defense. But after the words of head coach Doug Weight at practice Wednesday and then after the 6-4 loss in Philadelphia on Thursday, you have to wonder if something else is wrong with the team.

On Wednesday, Weight questioned the psyche of his team.

"We have some young players, but it's time for our group to lose the frailty BS," he said.

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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) celebrate a shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) celebrate a shootout win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The Islanders fall to the Flyers 6-4 after a disastrous second period that saw the team hemorrhage four goals. 

Cal Clutterbuck scored a pair and John Tavares added a powerplay goal, but it wasn't enough to overcome six goals against. << Box score

First period

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, John Tavares
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Dec 23, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his first hat trick during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 23, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates his first hat trick during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

PHILADELPHIA -- After suffering identical 5-1 home losses on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders should be playing with some added intensity when they meet Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (16-15-8) allowed four second-period goals by the Pittsburgh Penguins in their lopsided defeat, their fourth loss in five games.

"It was a good chance to kind of make a statement and get back in the standings," Flyers center Sean Couturier told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We lost that chance, but at the same time, there are 40-some games left (43, to be exact). Lots of hockey left."

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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have agreed to a five-year contract extension with D Scott Mayfield, the team announced Thursday.

The deal is worth an average of $1.45 million annually, according to Newsday.

Mayfield, 25, has two goals and eight assists in 29 games with the Isles this season, and leads the team with 35 penalty minutes.

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GEICO SportsNite: Isles approach 00:00:54
Islanders head coach Doug Weight and John Tavares are looking forward to their next stretch of games against Metro Division opponents.

 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Kieffer BellowsOtto Koivula and Robin Salo were already high on the Islanders' prospect list. The trio has done nothing to change that perception with their performances in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship taking place in Buffalo, NY.

While Koivula and Salo's Finnish team was eliminated in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, Bellows will take his tourney-leading six goals for Team USA into Thursday's semifinals matchup with Sweden on Thursday. The Isles' 2016 first-round pick scored twice -- including the go-ahead tally in the third period -- in USA's 4-2 win over Russia on Tuesday.

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Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz (56) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. Fritz is making his NHL debut. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Tanner Fritz (56) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at Barclays Center. Fritz is making his NHL debut. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight is hoping winger Tanner Fritz, who was called up from Bridgeport Monday, can spark his struggling third line.

Fritz, who leads the Sound Tigers with 35 points in 29 games this season, didn't expect to see his NHL debut at this point in his career. However, Weight made it known that Fritz was suiting up against the Bruins Tuesday night, and he officially checked that milestone off his list. 

"A couple years ago I don't think I would've seen myself in this position but I kept working hard, working at my game, trying to get better each day," Fritz told Newsday's Arthur Staple.  "I'm thankful I've gotten a couple good opportunities and I've taken advantage of those."

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

It was close, but then it got ugly after the Bruins poured in three, third-period goals to stomp the Islanders at home Tuesday night. 

After a 5-8-2 record last month, head coach Doug Weight wanted his team to turn the page and look toward brighter things in the new year. However, he saw more darkness overcome his squad, and it is beginning to take a toll on everyone. 

"Adversity is hitting us between the eyes right now as a group, as a staff, as players. We've gotta find a way," Weight told The Post's Greg Joyce. "If you're going to use words like flat or a little sluggish at times in the second and third [periods], getting overpowered, it's concerning. But it's not going away. We got three really big games and we gotta figure it out. We gotta go to work [Wednesday] and get back our mojo, our fierceness that we seemed to have let drift."

Tags: John Tavares
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Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 2, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) plays the puck against Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Boston Bruins turned a tight game into an easy victory on Tuesday night when they scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Islanders, 5-1, at Barclays Center. >> Box score

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General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)
General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- The Boston Bruins hope to begin 2018 by picking up where they left off in 2017. The New York Islanders, meanwhile, need a fresh start more than perhaps any playoff contender.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Islanders F Josh Bailey was named the NHL's second star of th month of December, the league announced Tuesday. 

Bailey tallied seven goals and 15 assists for a total 22 points during the Islanders' 15 games in December. He has at least one point in 13 of his last 15 games. He also had seven mutli-point games, which included his first career hat trick. 

The 28-year-old is currently tied for first in the league with 38 assists, and is second overall with 50 points on the season. He had a career-high in points last season with 56, but he is more than likely to surpass that total this year. 

Bailey will look to pick up where he left off against the Bruins tonight at Barclays Center to kick off the new year.

Tags: Josh Bailey
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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The best piece of wisdom I've ever heard about the art of trading hockey players was shared about 15 years ago by a visiting assistant general manager in the Coliseum press box.

"One thing about trades," he said between shovels of popcorn, "nobody knows the players in these deals better than the team trading them."

A few years later, on Feb. 27, 2007, I recalled this insight when Garth Snow called me down to his office. At the time, which was less than an hour before the NHL trade deadline, I was drafting a statement to explain why the Islanders decided not to make a major deal. You know, "We weren't going to mortgage the future for a rental," and, "The other teams really were pushing for our great prospects." That sort of thing. Richard Zednik and Marc-Andre Bergeron, acquired earlier, would have to suffice.

 

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Chris Botta
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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)

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

The recently recalled Tanner Fritz will also be in the lineup for the Isles. This season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he has notched 10 goals and 25 assists in 29 games. His 35 points is ranked fifth in the AHL.

Alan Quine will be out of Weight's lineup on Tuesday, while the defensive lines will remain the same. 

The Islanders are 4-5-1 in their last ten games, and looking to start the new year off right. Three out of their four games this week will be at home. 

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak
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