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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...

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Tags: News

Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Ah, the adventure that is Joshua Ho-Sang continues in Bridgeport. After his much publicized incident in Islanders training camp when he overslept, leading to an unscheduled training session on the steps of Nassau Coliseum and a ticket home, it seemed Ho-Sang had gotten his act together and came in this year with renewed vigor and a willingness to prove his detractors wrong.

It doesn't appear to be working, as all Ho-Sang has done is give those who spoke out against his character more ammunition. A season that has seen him shoot too little (37 in 30 games) and defend with the enthusiasm of a Star Trek fan having to watch all the Star Wars films, his latest episode deals with that pesky detail of showing up on time for a game.

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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

With the Islanders struggling to get out of the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings, Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes the Islanders and GM Garth Snow should look toward acquiring Avalanche forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene to play alongside John Tavares.

Part of this trade, Brooks writes, should include defenseman Nick Leddy. Leddy fits the criteria of a top-four defenseman that Colorado is seeking and does not have a large cap hit that would slow down trade talks.

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Islanders center John Tavares scored two goals Saturday. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Islanders center John Tavares scored two goals Saturday. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina scored three unanswered goals to close out the second period and three more in the third in a 7-4 win over the Islanders Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.  

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New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)

The Islanders visit Carolina Saturday a night after scoring five goals in a win at Florida.

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Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders laid an egg on Wednesday in Brooklyn, losing to the Florida Panthers, 2-1, in a totally uninspired effort. Last night, they took the rematch in Sunrise, 5-2, led by John Tavares' hat trick. 

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders' 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Friday night was their best game of the season, a reprieve in a campaign that has been full of let downs.

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 (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders captain John Tavares pushed his career point total over 500 with his sixth career hat trick in New York's win over the Panthers on Friday night. 

Coming into the game with 498 career points, Tavares tallied one goal in the first period and two in the third to finish the day at 501 points, good for 10th on the Islanders' all-time list. 

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period

  • 2:22 NYI Jason Chimera; Assist: Anthony Beauvillier
  • 3:48 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Nick Leddy, Josh Bailey
  • 9:55 FLA Vincent Trocheck; Assists: Jaromir Jagr, Keith Yandle
Tags: Florida Panthers
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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders take on the Panthers in the back end of their home-and-home series on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. 

According to STATS...

  • The Islanders lost, 2-1, to the Panthers on Wednesday night at Barclays Center, dropping their third straight tilt while scoring exactly one goal in each setback. The last time New York scored one goal or fewer in four consecutive games was in 2014-15 (March 10-17).
  • Florida has won two straight and three of its last four tilts, allowing one goal or fewer in each of the victories. The Panthers have six wins when lighting the lamp two or fewer times in 2016-17 -- tied for third most in the Eastern Conference.
Tags: Florida Panthers
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 (Brad Penner - USA Today)
(Brad Penner - USA Today)

Thomas Greiss will be in net Friday night against the Panthers, head coach Jack Capuano said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for Shane Prince and the Islanders will also roll out two new lines.

Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, and Ryan Strome will skate on one of the new lines, with Alan Quine, Beauvillier, and Jason Chimera on the other.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Jason Chimera, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV

Snap your fingers…go ahead, just do it.

Just like that, the Islanders went from a team that won four of five and looked to be righting their wobbly, patchwork ship to set sail toward at least getting back in the playoff conversation, to a team that has now lost four of their last five, including back-to-back loser point 'efforts' in Colorado and Arizona -- the two easiest buildings of 2016-17 to win in.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The Islanders have placed D Travis Hamonic on IR (retroactive to Jan. 7) due to a lower-body injury.

Scott Mayfield has been recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL to take Hamonic's place on the roster.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Wednesday that Hamonic was expected to miss "a couple of games."

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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 (Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Images)
(Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Jiggs McDonald, former lead play-by-play man for the Islanders, called Wednesday night's game against the Panthers on MSG Plus and was honored by the team in a pregame ceremony for his 50 years of NHL broadcasts.  

McDonald started with the Islanders in 1980 and was the team's primary TV voice for 15 seasons. 

On Wednesday before the start of the first period, McDonald was honored a bronze microphone, a customized jersey and he dropped the ceremonial first puck. 

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Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

  • 5:47 FLA Keith Yandle; Assists: Vincent Trocheck, Jared McCann
  • 10:47 NYI Nick Leddy; Assists: Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck

Second Period 

  • 1:09 FLA Jason Demers; Assists: Jonathan Marchessault, Jussi Jokinen

Recap: NEW YORK (AP) Jason Demers scored the tiebreaking goal early in the second period, Roberto Luongo stopped 29 shots and the Florida Panthers held on for a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.


Next Game: The Islanders finish off a home-and-home series with the Panthers on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the BB&T Center. 

Tags: Florida Panthers

New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) sets up in front of the Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Andy Marlin)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) sets up in front of the Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Andy Marlin)

The Islanders take on the Panthers in a rematch of last year's first-round playoff matchup at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. 

According to STATS...

  • The Panthers beat the Devils, 3-0, at Prudential Center on Monday night, winning their season-high third straight road game by a combined score of 9-2. Monday night's shutout was Florida's first in the last 77 games (dating to January 23 last season).
  • New York lost, 2-1, in a shootout with the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday night, garnering a point in its third straight tilt, and for the sixth time in the last seven games overall (4-1-2 record). The Islanders have eight overtime/shootout losses in 2016-17 -- tied for second most in hockey.
Tags: Florida Panthers
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

The Colorado Avalanche are shopping their top offensive stars, but they have a steep asking price. Should the Islanders engage? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss… 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

The Avalanche are seeking a "top-level" defenseman, a first round pick, and more in a deal for Gabriel Landeskog, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Andy, have you heard if the Isles have had any talks with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic on Landsekog?

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV: 

The Islanders are guilty of a crime. The charge: The misuse of Anthony Beauvillier.

Once again, Beauvillier will sit and watch from afar, as Jack Capuano announced he'd be sticking with the same lineup for Wednesday's game against the Panthers. Beauvillier has not played a game since the calendar turned to 2017, and has appeared in 26 of the team's 38 games (68 percent).

What is this organization thinking? That's the line that keeps racing through my head, along with others that are littered with words that SNY probably wouldn't take too kindly to be dropping in this space. What is the point of carrying the 19-year-old for an entire season, burning a year of his entry-level contract in the process, to have him watch from the press box

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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

Travis Hamonic will miss "a couple of games" due to his lower-body injury, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Thomas Greiss will be in net when the Isles face the Panthers.

Hamonic played in the Islanders' 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, but he missed Monday's practice with a

Tags: Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver are at a loss for words (not really) after two more losses -- this time to the league's two worst teams. The guys talk about John Tavares' All-Star Game selection and the team's plan for the trade deadline. Later, former Islander goaltender Jamie McLennan calls in to explain why JT won't end up in Toronto and what Garth Snow did wrong last offseason.

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The New York Islanders believe a turnaround to their season has to "start now" as they sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

Speaking to News 12 Long Island on Monday, via Newsday, the Islanders believe there is a lot of hockey to be played, however as they rank 28th in the league, it is likely too late. That said, the players' expected "never-say-die" attitude is admirable.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Travis Hamonic is day-to-day due to a lower-body injury and will likely not play Wednesday night, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Tuesday.

Adam Pelech, who was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Jan. 5, "is going to get a chance," according to Capuano.

Pelech had been activated off injured reserve and loaned to Bridgeport late last month.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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 (Russell LaBounty)
(Russell LaBounty)

Islanders forward John Tavares will represent New York at the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 at the Staples Center.

Tavares, 26, leads the Islanders with 27 points, while his 11 goals and 16 assists rank second on the team.

Tavares will make his fourth All-Star game appearance, having been selected to the game in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Islanders captain John Tavares, who can become a free agent after next season, reiterated how much he wants to have success with the team.

"I think for myself, I've always shown and talked about my commitment here,'' Tavares said Monday, according to Steven Marcus of Newsday. "Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we've done. Obviously, this [low] point's been disappointing.''

What Tavares said Monday was similar to what he said on Dec. 8 during an interview with Joe and Evan of WFAN.

"Yes, I'd like to be, for sure," he said at the time about remaining with the Islanders long-term. "I try to not think about it a whole lot. Obviously, I'm getting closer to the end of this contract but I've always stated how much I love being in New York and being an Islander, how well people have treated me here and the organization as a whole...

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

What will the Islanders trade deadline strategy be? It's anyone's guess, but ESPN's Craig Custance suggests GM Garth Snow should entertain being an aggressive buyer.

In his Eastern Conference trade season preview, Custance says that, while he would normally advise teams as out of it as the Islanders are to sell off some useful parts (Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan are two pieces he mentions by name), he thinks the John Tavares situation complicates matters.

"If the Islanders start selling off parts and continue the slide backwards, it gives Tavares little reason to commit long-term, even for someone who has been as loyal as Tavares has been to the team that drafted him," he writes. "Keeping Tavares has to be the priority, and Snow has to give him a reason to stay. Instead of selling, the better strategy would be to aggressively pursue another cornerstone to add to Tavares long term."

Tags: Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Thomas Hickey, Brian Erni
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The days of the Islanders' black-and-white third jersey appear to be numbered.

NHL teams will not have alternate jerseys in 2017-18 in order to ensure a smooth transition for Adidas, who is taking over as the league's uniform supplier next season, according to a report in the Minnesota Star Tribune that was later confirmed by Sportslogo.net's Chris Creamer. 

Newsday's Art Staple said a source has told him this will indeed be the last season for the current third jersey. The traditional blue and orange sweater will remain the primary home uniform

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) battle for control of the puck in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) battle for control of the puck in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV: 

If you looked at the standings, coupled with the Islanders hot streak just before the new year, and convinced yourself that the Isles could make one last-ditch effort at the playoffs, New York went and stomped out that flame of optimism before the embers could even truly get burning.

One goal on Friday in Colorado, one on Saturday in Arizona. Two of the worst teams in the NHL, and the Islanders couldn't mount more than a goal a game. Absolutely brutal.

There's no blaming the goaltending anymore. In a far cry from anything Jaroslav Halak was able to manage this year, Thomas Greiss was brilliant in both games, stepping up to ensure the Isles' anemic offense had a chance to get the four points on this road trip they desperately needed. Even the defense played better, as the club blocked 20 shots on Friday and 21 on Saturday and eased some of the onus on Greiss.

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Alan Quine scored for the Islanders Saturday. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Alan Quine scored for the Islanders Saturday. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders missed both shot attempts in the shootout and the Coyotes made both of theirs to take a 2-1 victory Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) celebrates his power play goal with defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and center John Tavares (91) in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) celebrates his power play goal with defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and center John Tavares (91) in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Arizona Coyotes couldn't wait for a New Year's break. The New York Islanders wanted to keep playing. There was a simple reason for both desires.

Arizona had lost eight straight games without registering a point before their five-day break. Then came Friday's overtime loss in Anaheim -- the Coyotes' first point since Dec. 15. The Islanders had won four of five before their five-day break, but dropped a 2-1, overtime decision on Friday in Colorado against the Western Conference's worst team.

Tags: Arizona Coyotes
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Kieffer Bellows scored two goals on eight shots in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships against Canada Thursday night, which the Americans won in a shootout, 5-4.

Bellows was the Islanders' first-round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

And on the fifth day, let there be practice. … The New York Islanders returned from their league-mandated bye week a day early by approving a practice in Denver on Thursday, a day before they were defeated by the Avalanche, 2-1, in overtime. Tonight, it's on to Arizona to take on another of the league's bottom dwellers, the Coyotes.

The time immediately after the holidays is always the toughest to get through. Family, some you don't get an opportunity to see much, have gone. Decorations come down, leaving a vast expanse of emptiness, the air gets noticeably colder and yes, it's back to work. No wonder why there is such a thing as "seasonal depression." I get it, I get it.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) defends his net in the second period Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) defends his net in the second period Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

  • 6:06 COL Gabriel Landeskog; Assists: Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon

Second Period 

  • 17:34 NYI Johnny Boychuk (power play); Assists: Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome 

Overtime 

  • 4:43 COL Nathan MacKinnon; Assists: Jerome Iginla, Tyson Barrie

Next Game: The Islanders finish their road trip and take on the Coyotes on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tags: Colorado Avalanche

Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. New York Islanders win 6-2. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. New York Islanders win 6-2. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders head to Colorado to open up the 2017 portion of their schedule to take on the Avalanche at 9 p.m. 

According to STATS...

  • The Islanders throttled the Jets, 6-2, at MTS Centre on New Year's Eve, recording their fourth win in the last five games overall. New York is 3-2-1 in its last six road tilts (1-6-1 in first eight road games of the season).
  • Colorado dropped a 4-1 decision in Calgary on Wednesday night, losing its fifth straight tilt, and for the 10th time in the last 11 games overall. The Avs have lost 10 straight games at Pepsi Center -- the longest home losing streak in franchise history.
Tags: Colorado Avalanche
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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Entering play Friday night, the Islanders trail the Metro's third place (and last guaranteed playoff spot) Rangers by 19 points with five games in hand. In other words, not happening. Look elsewhere for your entry.

They are nine points behind the second Wild Card team in the Eastern conference, the Flyers, with four games in hand. Not too shabby, you think, especially when you peek at their next five games and see Colorado, Arizona, Florida (twice) and Carolina.

But wait…to even get to the Flyers, New York has to jump seven other teams. Yes, I said seven...

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 (Brad Penner (USA Today))
(Brad Penner (USA Today))

Thomas Greiss will be in net Friday night when the Islanders face the Avalanche, head coach Jack Capuano said.

The Islanders will stick with the same skaters as last week.

Brian Erni, SNY.TV :

Tags: Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Brian Erni, SNY.tv

There's a crunch coming to the Islanders defensemen. That's because the upcoming NHL expansion draft, set to take place this June, is undoubtedly going to mix some things up on New York's blue line, and it should create some urgency for Garth Snow in the next few months.

The rules of the draft allow teams to protect either seven forwards and three defensemen, or eight skaters overall. Players with no-move clauses must be protected, so Johnny Boychuk isn't going anywhere. The Isles will also undoubtedly protect Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic. And if they choose to protect Ryan Pulock, which they will have to do based on his eligibility if they don't want him exposed, that will leave them room for four more skaters (three once you factor in John Tavares).

It all adds up to the reality that Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey will both be left unprotected, which forces Garth Snow to make a decision. Either trade one (or both) before this year's trade deadline and not risk losing one of them for nothing, or roll the dice and watch his old assistant snatch one up for the Knights' inaugural roster.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Brian Erni
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver are back with their first show of 2017, and this year is, well, pretty much the same as the last. The guys discuss the departure of Jaroslav Halak and Jack Capuano's perplexing decisions behind the bench.

Later, Isles TV voice Brendan Burke calls in to talk about the return of JF Berube, the emergence of Andrew Ladd, and his thoughts on his first season as the Islanders play-by-play man.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Islanders can start talking about an extension with Tavares on July 1, but that hasn't stopped everyone from weighing in on the matter. SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

Andy, John Tavares and his eventual contract extension seem to be popping up in every story written about the Islanders lately. ESPN said the Isles should force the issue with their star player to find out where he stands. What's your take on Tavares? Do the Isles need to extend him this summer, no matter the cost?

Tags: John Tavares
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Defenseman Adam Pelech (50) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals at Barclays Center.  (Brad Penner - USA Today)
Defenseman Adam Pelech (50) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner - USA Today)

The Islanders have recalled defenseman Adam Pelech from Bridgeport of the AHL, the team announced Thursday.

Pelech had been activated off injured reserve and loaned to Bridgeport late last month.

He was placed on IR in early December due to an upper-body injury.

The 22-year-old defenseman has three points (one goal, two assists) in nine games with the Islanders this season. 


New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Matthew Barzal continues to turn heads at the IIHF World Junior Championship, and it led to him receiving a top accolade for the second consecutive year.

Barzal, along with the Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Anthony Cirelli, was named as one of the tournament's top three players for Canada by the coaches.

This is the second consecutive year being named to the top-three for Barzal. According to Elite Prospects, no other Canadian has received the honor two years in a row since the award was first given out in 2007 (h/t to Corey Pronman).

Barzal has three goals and four assists and has a plus-3 rating on the ice in six tournament games. He and the rest of Team Canada will square off against Team USA in the tournament's gold medal game on Thursday. 

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Brian Erni
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 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

The Avalanche are open to trading C Matt Duchene, with Colorado perhaps seeking a young defenseman or defensive prospects in return, reports Elliotte Friedman of TSN.

Duchene, 25, has 13 goals and 11 assists in 33 games this season.

He has 169 goals and 232 assists in 528 games spanning eight seasons in the NHL -- all with Colorado.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mikhail Grabovski, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic
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Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle are two of the Islanders' best prospects, and only a few months into their first AHL season, they have their sights set on the big club.

"I know that they're in last place right now," Ho-Sang told WFAN's Peter Schwartz. "I just want to play better and force their hand. They obviously need to figure out some stuff up there. I can just control what I can and play as well as I can down here and, ultimately, they make the call whenever they feel like it. My phone is always on."

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

I know a lot of people's expectations are quelled on these two guys for a number of reasons.

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

ESPN has a plan for how the Islanders can turn their franchise's fortunes around.

Matthew Coller lists (Insider required) letting Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen walk, signing Andrew Ladd, and poor goaltending performances as the primary factors that got the Islanders into this mess. To get out of it, Coller suggests selling at the deadline, exercising patience with their young talent, and most notably (and controversially), getting an answer on John Tavares' future as ways to fix things.

"One player holds the key to the Islanders' future: Tavares. He is set to hit free agency in 2018, and his decision to stay or go will ultimately decide if the Islanders have to go back into rebuild mode or keep swinging for a Stanley Cup," Coller writes. "If their former No. 1 overall pick is willing to sign a long-term deal, Snow, or whoever the GM is after this debacle, can start moving assets to acquire win-now players around Tavares. If he decides to test the market, then he needs to be traded as soon as possible. Even if other teams knew the Islanders' hand was forced, 29 teams would be making a call to see if they could acquire one of the NHL's elite centers."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Mikhail Grabovski
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The Islanders have been playing solid hockey over their last 16 games, offering the slightest glimmer of hope that a berth in the playoffs for a third consecutive season, while still slim thanks to a rocky beginning, might still be possible.

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Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano reacts on the bench during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano reacts on the bench during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

The new calendar year is upon us, and with it always comes resolutions to try to work on one's self over the next 365 days.

Everyone could use a little self-improvement, right? The Islanders are no different, so what should their resolutions be for 2017? Here are three suggestions to get them started.

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Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre.  (Bruce Fedyck (USA Today))
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck (USA Today))

John Tavares and Ryan Strome each had a goal and an assist to help the New York Islanders beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-2 on Saturday night.

Nikolay KuleminShane PrinceAnders Lee and Andrew Ladd also scored, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Thomas Greiss made 32 saves. The Islanders have won four of their last five to get to .500 at 15-15-6.

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Goaltender Thomas Greiss will start for the Islanders against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, head coach Jack Capuano told reporters. 

Greiss is 8-5 with a .922 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average in 13 games this season. 

Capuano also announced that Casey Cizikas will come back into the lineup and replace forward Anthony Beauvillier. Cizikas will play with Nikolay Kulemin and Cal Clutterbuck


Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) is pulled from the game in favor of goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) is pulled from the game in favor of goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Jaroslav Halak will not be raising a glass to bring in the new year with his New York Islanders' teammates after their game against the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night.

That's because the 31-year-old Slovak was placed on waivers Friday morning following a dismal performance the previous day in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild. 

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 (Brad Penner (USA Today))
(Brad Penner (USA Today))

Latest Update (Dec. 31)

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak has cleared waivers and been assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, the team announced. 

Previous Reports (Dec. 30)

The Islanders placed Halak on waivers Friday afternoon, the team announced. 

Halak's agent took issue with the Islanders' three-goalie situation earlier this season, and it had been reported that GM Garth Snow had been exploring the possibility of moving Halak via trade.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) knocks the puck away in front of New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals right wing Daniel Winnik (26) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 13, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) knocks the puck away in front of New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals right wing Daniel Winnik (26) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders placed Jaroslav Halak on waivers on Friday afternoon, temporarily ending the three goaltender drama that Isles fans have grown so accustomed to in the past year.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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