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Yesterday we learned that general manager Garth Snow believes “in the players in that room.” Today, the players in that room – prospects and veterans, everyone to a man – tell Point Blank they believe in Scott Gordon and his style of play.

 

Here are just a few of their opinions on the head coach, what he preaches and how he teaches.

 

 

Kyle Okposo: “Scott has been the biggest reason for my development at the NHL level. He has put in a lot of time with me, making suggestions on how I could be more effective and use my talents. He has put me in every position to succeed and has given me so much guidance.

 

“As a team, we’re all looking forward to growing with Scott and his staff. We need some time, but we’re going to be all right in the end.”

 

Doug Weight: “Our problems are definitely not about Scott and his system. It should always be about the players performing, not the coach. All that talk about our system (in the media and on the web) has gotten ridiculous at times. Plenty of teams are winning with either variations of what we play or basically the same exact style. This is a players’ league.

 

“The difference between us and other teams playing aggressively is, we’ve had to play the perfect game and so far we haven’t. Pittsburgh plays a similar style but can get away with it if they have a bad period, maybe even two. We played an incredible game in Boston for 50 minutes and lost. That’s how crazy our start has been. We have to stick to it. We definitely have to cut down on our turnovers. We all have to play better, and that starts with me.

 

“I see Scott communicating even better than he did in his first year. He makes a point of sitting down with everyone and explaining his moves and giving us the chance to give feedback. Our team is as prepared as any team I’ve been with. Let’s be honest – we just need a damn win and then we’ll be okay. Scott believes in his system and we believe in him and everything he’s trying to preach.”

 

Matt Moulson: “If anyone’s looking for someone to say anything other than praise for Scott Gordon, I’m the last person to go to. He’s the reason I’m here and I’m going to do everything I can for that guy.

 

“I don’t know how to explain it, but he gives you confidence without even saying much. He demands your best while not breathing down your neck.

 

“After our last exhibition game, he told me I was going to be staying with the Islanders. Scott said something I’m never going to forget. He said, ‘I want to be honest with you and tell you you’re going to be here, but you should treat every game like it’s your last.’ That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’ll do as long as I’m here. By putting me on a top line and with players like John (Tavares), Scott is giving me every chance. I’m going to take what he gives me and run with it.”

 

Jack Hillen: “Scott’s been great with me, and this is coming from someone who has sat out some games. I have no compliants. I think I’m playing a lot better this year and it’s because of Scott and Dean Chynoweth and Scott Allen. They’ve helped me so much with video before and after games.

 

“We’re far from the only team playing an aggressive style. We just have to get out of this – get the first win, eventually string a few together. I know we will. I’m telling you, the reason we’re not winning is not Scott Gordon.”

 

Martin Biron: “Every system is designed to give your team an edge. This is the style Scott believes in and he’s right for doing so. When our young players develop, when the top guys like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey really take off, and we put it all together as a team, it will be worth all the time and effort put into excelling at this aggressive style.

 

“Scott has implemented a high-tempo, intense system that demands a high level of concentration and recognition of what’s happening on the ice at all times. In the end, it will make our forwards and D better players and will make us a better team. It’s wrong when I hear people say this style cannot work. There are probably at least a dozen teams playing something similar.

 

“I understand – we’re all Monday morning quarterbacks. I watch the NFL games and say stuff like, ‘Maybe they should play a 3-4.’ That’s part of the fun. In hockey, everyone talks about a 1-2-2 and all that stuff. I get that. We just need to execute. We don’t have the luxury yet of having a bad period and then watching Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley take over.

 

“Scott is giving us the tools to be successful. The staff does a great job going over the game plan and making adjustments between periods. It’s the turnovers that are killing us. That’s up to us as players to correct.”

John Tavares: “Scott has been really good for me since the first day. He has given me so much confidence and had me ready to be at my best with these first games of my career.

 

“The communication has been open and positive. We spend a lot of time on the ice at practice and after with video going over ways for me to improve. He's given me a lot of constructive criticism but also the freedom to be creative offensively. Scott wants us to be a good skating team and be aggressive. In the long run, that's going to make us a better team. It's a very good style of play for me. I love it."

 

*

 

Point Blank Take: The above is a fair representation of all the conversations I had with Islanders players over the last 24 hours. With the option - off the record - to decline to publicly support the coach, no one did. Here's my opinion.

 

Over the last decade, I've seen a lot of smart hockey coaches suddenly get dumb in the eyes of fans and media when they came to the Islanders. Plenty others were written off as non-entities. The obvious examples are Peter Laviolette and Dan Bylsma, now the owners of Stanley Cup rings. Then there are quiet examples like Jeff Jackson and Greg Cronin, who came and went as assistants and now run powerhouse NCAA programs at Notre Dame and Northeastern.

 

Brian Burke was on TV last week, explaining Gordon's addition to the staff of the U.S. Olympic team. He expressed total awe over Gordon's teams in Providence and hailed his performance so far with Ron Wilson in the Olympic program. Burke didn't mention the Islanders. He knows the body of work is too young, knows almost nothing was done to improve the 30th place team besides adding the gift of Tavares. Burke also knows it might not be fair to judge Gordon on his Islanders work. What coach since Al Arbour has left the Islanders with his reputation intact?

 

This is the vicious cycle of coaching the Islanders and the reason why an experienced coach like Joel Quenneville made a lame excuse to not even come in for an interview. The Islanders' lineup currently falls short of the required 20 players by anywhere from 4-7 legitimate NHLers. Don't know what I mean? Identify the Islanders forwards and defensemen you believe are at the bottom of the NHL depth chart. Now ask yourself if they would crack the lineup of any of the teams in the Islanders' division. Ask yourself if it's even close.

 

Or how about last year, when Gordon walked into his first NHL coaching job and was given Ted Nolan's friends as his assistants? That worked out so well, Gerard Gallant "stepped down to become a consultant to the general manager" before camp started. (This being the Islanders, with their unique spins on the truth because few are paying attention, Gallant was never seen again.) That worked out so well, neither John Chabot or Dan Lacroix were brought back after their contracts expired in the summer. Just as it's the coach's responsibility to put his players in position to succeed, the Islanders should do the same for their coaches.

 

No one is saying Scott Gordon is the next great NHL head coach. Hopefully he'll get the chance to prove what he is under the right circumstances here, instead of with his next organization.

 

I just want to be on record saying I'm not interested in being part of the chorus leading the latest formerly-smart and successful coach out of Islanders Country. I'm not going to take the bait and make him the next convenient fall guy for a franchise that hasn't gotten much right for a very long time.

 

Let's see if, as he did for his players, Garth Snow stands up for his coach in 3...2...1...

Comments on this story. Comment Guidelines.

Tags: News

 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

It remains difficult to comprehend the process and timing of the so-called evaluation period that Islanders ownership claims to be in, and how they failed to reach any conclusions by the end of two sad seasons.

The only thing for certain is that it has now been more than two weeks since Jon Ledecky's public promise of action to the club's fans.

"The season has just ended," Ledecky said in reading a prepared statement on April 9, although the season had really ended months earlier. "As an organization, we will be evaluating all aspects of our hockey operations - and then we will make decisions based on what is best for the future of our club. I am not here today to talk specifically about any individuals - including the players, coaches and the general manager. We believe it is essential to our success to have a thoughtful evaluation process, to look at the past, and more importantly, to assess the future of our team on and off the ice."

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New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal is among three finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy that honors the NHL's top rookie.

The 20-year-old Barzal is considered the favorite for the award after scoring 22 goals, 63 assists and 85 points in 82 games for New York this season.

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

Co-owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are in the process of identifying a top executive to join the Islanders' hockey operations department, two NHL sources confirmed on Tuesday to SNY's Point Blank.

Since current Islanders President/GM/Alternate Governor Garth Snow has not been relieved of his duties more than a week since the end of another disastrous season, it is believed that the new hire would become Islanders general manager while Snow would remain President (or given a new title).

The process includes asking other NHL teams for permission to speak to some of their executives. Among those expected to be on Malkin and Ledecky's list of highly-regarded hockey people to interview are Julian BriseBois (Lightning), Paul Fenton (Predators), and Tom Fitzgerald (Devils), who are assistant general managers with their respective clubs.

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Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)
Nov 18, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates after New York Islanders left wing Anders Ladd (27) scored a goal in the first period in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (Jonathan Dyer)

Islanders RW Josh Bailey has been added to Team Canada's roster for the IIHF World Championship in Denmark, marking World Championship of his career.

Bailey is replacing Blues rookie D Vince Dunn, who is suffering from an upper-body injury.

The 28-year-old forward had a career year with the Isles this season, posting a career-high 71 points on 18 goals and 53 assists over 76 games.

Tags: Josh Bailey
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

Former Islanders second-round pick G Mikko Koskinen may be seeing a reunion with his only NHL team as he is reportedly leaving his KHL club SKA, per Sport-Express' Igor Eronko.

Though multiple sources have said Koskinen is expected to sign somewhere in the NHL next season, The Athletic's Arthur Staple says the Islanders haven't spoken on him yet. Eronko believes Koskinen signing with the Isles isn't a likely scenario.

After the team drafted him back in 2009, Koskinen played just four games with the Islanders during the 2010-11 season. But that was all the action he saw with the NHL club before shipping off to Finland to play in the SM-liga, or Finnish pro league.

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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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 GM Garth Snow expressed optimism on Monday in the future of the Islanders despite the team missing the playoffs for the last two seasons.

Snow, who along with head coach Doug Weight has expressed the belief that he'll be back next season, said the Islanders are close to a championship. And noted how far the team has come since he took over.

"For me, 2006, when I took over this position, it was a situation where it was an all-out rebuild where we had to bring in talent through the draft," Snow told reporters. "Now we're in a situation where we feel we can compete for a Stanley Cup."

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

When it comes to his career as Islanders general manager, Garth Snow is a blessed man. Despite a twelve-year run of failure, the kindness shown Snow by his employers has been extraordinary. Perhaps one of these years he will pay it back, and pay it forward.

Many people outside Islanders Country, and even some of the residents, do not have a grasp of the lengths two ownership groups have gone to keep Snow in his position. A brief recap is necessary.

Let's start at the beginning, in 2006, when Snow was given his dream job by Charles Wang after the expiration of Neil Smith's 40-day summer internship. At the time, Snow was just a few months removed from his playing career. As a manager of any kind, he did not have a single hour of practical experience.

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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)

With the Islanders' 2017-18 season officially under wraps, the biggest storyline for the offseason will be what captain John Tavares decides to do for next season.

At the moment, his mindset is staying with the team that drafted from first overall back in 2009. But Tavares didn't close the door on checking out the free agent market as well.

"This is obviously where I hope to be. I've always stated that," Tavares said. "But obviously, I have some time to think about my situation and go from there...

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

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky apologized on Monday for ownership failing the fans, but refused to speak specifically about the future of GM Garth Snow, head coach Doug Weight, or any players.

"We are committed to long term success," Ledecky said. "Any decisions we make are for the long term success of our hockey club."

CLICK BELOW TO READ LEDECKY'S FULL STATEMENT

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Islanders are reportedly expected to retain GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight for next season, according to Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Snow, Weight and co-owner Jon Ledecky will address the media on Monday after the Islanders finished 35-37-10, the second-worst record in the Metropolitan Division.

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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Islanders rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to score three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in their season finale on Saturday. << Box score

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

DETROIT -- Saturday night's game could be center John Tavares' last with the New York Islanders.

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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)

Doug Weight, Jordan Eberle and the Islanders organization as a whole expressed their sorrow over the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.

The hockey community is in mourning after 14 people died as a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team, collided with a semi-truck on Friday night. Various members of the Islanders organization have given their thoughts and prayers to the team before their season finale on Saturday night.

"Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to the Humboldt Broncos and all of those affected by the devastating tragedy," the Islanders' official Twitter posted...

Tags: Jordan Eberle
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New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders signed 20-year-old defenseman David Quenneville to a three-year entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

Quenneville, the Islanders' seventh-round pick in 2016, led the WHL with 80 points this season, scoring 26 goals and totaling 54 assists in 70 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday night, the Islanders played their last home game of the season. For John Tavares, it could be his last home game as a member of the team.

Tavares' contract is up after the season and he will be one of the most coveted free agents of the summer. After the game, Tavares tried to downplay its significance and reaffirmed his public desire to stay with the team...

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1 in their home finale behind goals from Thomas Hickey and Anthony Beauvillier. << Box score

First period

  • 4:25 NYR Kevin Hayes (PPG); Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Brady Skjei

Second period

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New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)
New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders know Thursday night will be their final home game of the season as well as the last time they call Barclays Center their sole home.

But the most important bit of information remains unknown, and will likely remain a mystery for almost three more months: Will Thursday night also be the final time John Tavares suits up at home for the Islanders?

An uncertain future will overshadow the waning days of a disappointing season Thursday night when the Islanders host the New York Rangers in a battle of teams playing out the string.

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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)

If Isles fans want a little reassurance that captain John Tavares would be in blue and orange next season, don't ask Tavares himself. 

Finishing up the final year of his six-year, $33 million deal, Tavares notes that he wants everything to work out with the franchise, but he wouldn't promise that he will still daunt an Islanders jersey next season. 

"The fan base has been tremendous since I got here," Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "People say certain things. I hope it all works out, too, and I'm back as well. I just want to focus one game at a time and finishing the season strong and in the days and weeks ahead there will be plenty of time to think about it and start looking at the future and move forward."

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

As is often the case when it comes to this franchise, the Islanders need their fans once again.

Thursday night. For John Tavares.

There should be no mistaking this. If you care about keeping Tavares in orange and blue, this is a code red...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Matthew Barzal and John Tavares scored two goals apiece and the Islanders overcame a late rally by the Flyers to win on Tuesday night, 5-4.  >> Box score

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

NEW YORK -- For the last week, the New York Islanders received reminders of what could have been. But at least they won't have to worry about watching another team celebrate clinching a playoff berth Tuesday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in the penultimate home game of the season at Barclays Center.

 

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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)

Thomas Greiss will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Tuesday's matchup against the Flyers, head coach Doug Weight said.

Also, Cal Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey return to the lineup, replacing Brandon Davidson and Dennis Seidenberg out. Bailey has been out the past two games with an upper body injury. On the other hand, Clutterbuck's injury after leaving Saturday's game was undisclosed. He didn't practice on Monday, but he will be good to go tonight. 

The Islanders have just three games to go in their 2017-18 campaign, with the Rangers on Thursday and Red Wings on Saturday as well.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

For some Islanders players, there is still something to play for with three games left in a disappointing season. 

One of those players is RW Tanner Fritz, who is trying to showcase his skills to be a mainstay with the Islanders next season. Recently, he is doing a good job of that by collecting two points in the past three games, with one being a goal against the Devils this past Saturday. 

"I want to try to get them thinking over the summer that I can be a player that can play in the NHL and prove to them that I'm worthy to play in this league," Fritz told Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Taylor Hall scored back-to-back goals in a high-scoring second period and Blake Coleman scored the decisive goal in the third period to fuel the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday night.  >> Box score

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Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The New Jersey Devils have held a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference every day since winning their season opener on Oct. 7.

Yet with only five games remaining on their schedule, the Devils are clinging to the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, trying to stave off a late-season push by the surging Florida Panthers.

On Saturday night at the Prudential Center, the Devils (40-28-9) look to take another step closer to their first playoff appearance in six years when they host the New York Islanders (32-36-10).

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

Despite a high octane offensive performance, the Islanders couldn't keep the Leafs off the board in a 5-4 loss at home.  >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight wasn't a fan of what Josh Ho-Sang said about the team sending him to the AHL this season. 

Ho-Sang was sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the team said he needed to work on his defense. Weight said he was "disappointed" by the comments, but noted the team will talk to him soon.

"I think the natural reaction, the defensive reaction is to tell him to look in the mirror, look at his production, look at what he's done," Weight told Newsday's Laura Albanese. "The other reaction should be from us. We should look in the mirror. We should all learn from these events and look to them. Most importantly, we should discuss it with him rather than discuss it through these cameras and we will do that."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are two weeks away from embarking upon a pursuit they hope will allow the franchise to achieve something it hasn't done in more than 50 years. The New York Islanders will have far more modest and shorter-term goals in mind Friday night, when they host the Maple Leafs at Barclays Center. >> Read more

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Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

You can describe the Islanders with many different words and adjectives -- whatever your heart desires -- but coherent would be far from the list.

It's difficult to gauge what plans this team has in store for the future other than being in a constant state of mediocrity and in perpetual rebuild mode.

Even when there are positives, like Mathew Barzal's incredible rookie campaign, there are plenty of distractions that keep you wondering if this team has any real leadership in the front office...

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period 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 head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Monday night made final what was seemingly inevitable for the better part of the last two months or so.

In the midst of quite the disappointing season, the Islanders will miss the playoffs for the second straight time.

What makes it more disheartening was how well the team got off out of the gate this season. After a 5-2 win against the Canucks on Nov. 28, the Islanders were riding pretty high at 15-7-2 and looked like a bona fide playoff team, although there were holes that needed to be corrected.

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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Andrew Ladd scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes to help the Islanders beat the Senators in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

OTTAWA -- Two teams sliding toward the regular-season finish line and early tee times will meet up on short rest at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the loss to the Panthers Monday, it's official. The Islanders have missed the playoffs for the second straight season. 

New York was shutout in their own building, as the Panthers continued their push to secure a wild card berth with just a few games left in the regular season. Now, the Isles have nothing to play for, and captain John Tavares doesn't like that feeling again. 

"The odds just kept getting worse and worse with every loss,' Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "We just sealed our fate. It's tough to know you're not going to be playing postseason hockey."

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson makes a save against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson makes a save against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Christopher Gibson allowed three goals as the Islanders' losing streak reached three games with a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 11:38 FLA Keith Yandle; Assists: Evgenii Dadonov, Aleksander Barkov

Second period:

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Florida Panthers
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New York Islanders center John Tavares plays the puck against Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares plays the puck against Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The last time the New York Islanders hosted the Florida Panthers, the Islanders harbored legitimate wild-card hopes and the Panthers appeared to be the longest of long shots to reach the playoffs.

But the roles will be reversed Monday night when the Panthers visit the Islanders at Barclays Center.

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Monday's matchup against the Panthers, head coach Doug Weight said.

Also, James Wagner will be in for Casey Cizikas. Wagner was the return of the Jason Chimera trade with the Ducks back in February.

With just seven games remaining, the Islanders would be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with a loss on Monday.

 

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

With another loss Saturday night to the Chicago Blackhawks in what could have been billed as a tankathon, the Islanders slide into disappointment (and potentially into a better draft slot) continued. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

John Tavares broke up a shutout late in the third period, but the Islanders were unable to complete a rally and fell to the Blackhawks, 3-1, on Saturday at the Barclays Center.  >> Box score

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

NEW YORK -- Two teams who hoped to spend the final few weeks of the season vying for playoff positioning will instead continue playing out the string Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Chicago Blackhawks in a battle of last-place clubs at Barclays Center.

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo famously asked this question of Mike Milbury in 2003, and now it is appropriate to ask of Garth Snow:

How is he still the GM?

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Tampa Bay center Brayden Point (21) is the one the keys to the Lightning's offense. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
Tampa Bay center Brayden Point (21) is the one the keys to the Lightning's offense. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Ryan Pulock, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals each, but their offensive outburst couldn't top the Lightning's output in a 7-6 loss on Thursday night at Barclays Center. Christopher Gibson allowed six goals before he was pulled in the second period.  >> Box score

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Thursday's matchup against the Lightning.

Also, Cal Clutterbuck will be back in the lineup, while Ross Johnston is out, head coach Doug Weight said.

The Islanders are coming off a huge win over the Penguins on Monday, and will look to keep things going as the regular season winds down.

 

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

The Islanders have agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with forward Otto Koivula, who was the team's fourth round (120th overall) selection in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Koivula, 19, had nine goals and 18 assists in 53 games this season for Ilves of Finland's Liiga. He was the Liiga Rookie of the Year last season while leading all rookies in points (30) and assists (20).

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

It was a shocker to say the least when the final score at Barclays Center read 4-1 in favor of the Islanders over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins on Tuesday night. And Isles fans can thank Mathew Barzal for the offensive production.

The dynamic rookie continued his Calder Trophy-worthy season with his 20th goal and an assist for two more points, marking 75 on the season. That total is third most in Islanders rookie history.

Barzal said his confidence this season has been the same since the beginning up until now, and head coach Doug Weight loves hearing that from his budding star. 

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson saved 36 of 37 shots and the Islanders dominated the first and third periods to beat the Penguins on Tuesday night. >> Box score

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders will get the first of two consecutive reminders of what once was and what could have been Tuesday night when they continue a five-game homestand by hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Barclays Center.

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New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Tuesday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Christopher Gibson, Ross Johnston
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New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck battle over the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck battle over the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders lost their third straight game after falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Sunday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:50 CAR Jaccob Slavin; Assists: Joakim Nordstrom, Victor Rask
  • 4:44 CAR Lee Stempniak

Second period:

  • 10:29 NYI Josh Bailey; Assists: Ryan Pulock, John Tavares
  • 12:22 NYI Anders Lee (power play); Assists: Tavares, Mathew Barzal
  • 14:04 CAR Rask; Assists: Joakim Nordstrom, Slavin

Third period:

  • 8:05 NYI Lee (power play); Assists: Bailey, Tavares
  • 13:11 CAR Trevor van Riemsdyk; Assists: Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho
Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders' 2017-18 season is speeding down an icy highway in a blizzard with no brakes, as a 15-24-8 record since Dec. 1 has all but assured another season out of the playoffs, sitting home watching other, better teams contend for the Stanley Cup.

  • Surely, big decisions are looming on the horizon for a franchise that can never seem to sustain any sort of consistency or dependability. After beating Florida in the 2016 playoffs, its first series win in two decades, and coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons, this season can only be classified as a severe regression.

  •  
Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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