Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Barring a miraculous event of biblical proportions, this will be the final week of the New York Islanders 2016-17 season.
They currently trail the Boston Bruins by six points with a game in hand but only five games remaining. Since it's now impossible to catch the Bs in regulation wins (40-34), that deficit is seven points. That would mean picking up 70% of remaining possible points with the Bruins picking up zero points in their final four games.
I don't need to tell you that's very….very….very unlikely.
- Well, here it comes. More complaints over the Barclays Center ice surface after captain John Tavares looked to severely injure his hamstring, ending his year with 28 goals and 66 points in 77 games. This one could have some legs. You just have to wonder how much it affects discussions this summer regarding a contract extension.
- To that end, Tavares has hit a point per game production only twice in his eight seasons with the Islanders. What that is worth is the big question right now. Anze Kopitar has never hit the mark and signed an extension worth 10 million dollars per season. He has 12 goals and 48 points in 71 games this year.
- General manager Garth Snow chose to keep Ryan Pulock in Bridgeport, as well as Michael Dal Colle, perhaps to aid the Sound Tigers in their quest to qualify for the Calder Cup playoffs, rather than ride out the final five games on the big club, sure to end in watching the Stanley Cup playoffs home on television. Grinder Connor Jones was the designated replacement for Tavares.
- You have to question the late season scheduling, for sure, but let's be honest here. New York had an up and down season with questionable defensive play, special teams and goaltending that suffered regression. They are not in the playoffs simply because, this year, they simply don't deserve to be.
- There will plenty of time to dissect what went wrong with the season, but for starters, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome still have to be considered disappointments. I would not be surprised if one or both are on the block at the draft in Chicago come June.
- Taking an early look at the unrestricted free agent market, it looks like one of the worst crops in a long time if you need to improve your club. But, there still can be some finds out there that won't break the bank. Still, more likely Snow will have to go the trade route to find what ails his team.
- A team president, I would imagine, is order of business number one but it needs to be done, signed and sealed prior to the draft. It's about time for some checks and balances at the top of the organization. It is amazing what Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello have cooked up in Toronto, isn't it? Sure, Auston Matthews helps, but a remarkable turnaround nonetheless. Either way, I don't see Snow going anywhere, much to the chagrin of most fans.
- Turning the page to some positive news, Anthony Beauviller and Joshua Ho-Sang look like keepers and both have repaid management's faith in them, with interest. Terrific early looks into the future of two key parts of the Islanders offense.
- Thoughts and prayers are with ex-Islanders goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who collapsed yesterday without contact yesterday during the Flyers game with the Devils. Today, he was released from the hospital and seems to be doing better but further testing will need to reveal the extent of the problem.
- The NHL playoffs will start on Wednesday, April 12 and with the Islanders more than likely not involved, it's going to be exciting as a hockey fan to see the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Maple Leafs trot their exciting offensive show out in front of the brightest lights. I'm excited to see where it leads.
- Lastly, the NHL announced it will be making public the expansion draft protected lists to the media at the same time they reveal it to the 31 clubs. While some fans have chided the decision as possibly leading to some animosity between player and club, I feel that players will have already been notified of their status much earlier, anyway.