sleep 5Around the three-hour mark of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play August: Osage County, the matriarch of the dysfunctional family decides to cut through all the BS. "It's time for some truth-tellin'," she says.

 

Same here at Point Blank. I've always tried to have an open dialogue with our readers, but I feel like it's been a while. The time is now because it's been a few weeks since the end of the season and the rhetoric in the Comments space and in the emails has intensified to the point where I want to address some issues.

 

This is going to be long, long-winded, blunt, defensive and maybe at times offensive to a few of you. Just putting it all out there, folks. I will cover a whole range of topics, so pull up a chair and bear with me. Thanks.

 

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sleep 5Sponsors: You may see some ads on the site over the next few days. Our hope is to prove the value of the blog to potential sponsors. I would be indebted if you would please click on these ads from every computer you have access to, patronize the sponsors and spread the word. It could go a long way in keeping us running longer.

 

Support Drive: There's a likelihood that if the blog continues into next hockey season, I will run a support drive in the form of a deal on tickets to one or two Islanders games during the season. Consider it (hopefully) one giant Point Blank group sales night. Perhaps it's an opportunity for many of you to meet up at a game. I understand some readers may be season ticketholders and many are not from New York, but I certainly would appreciate the support of anyone in position to get involved.

 

PB Night III: If we're back for another season, it's a lock that the next Point Blank Night will be at R.C. Dugan's on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. Thank you, Jay, for your dedication to the cause.

 

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"Conflicts": I realize some of you missed this when I wrote about it in the early days of the blog, or did not see when I spoke about it with C.J. Papa on the Islanders telecast. So that there's no misunderstanding, let me make a few things perfectly clear.

 

The idea for Point Blank came from Islanders President Chris Dey about a month or so after I left the organization last May 5. The team and the sport was in need of more coverage. Fans hungered for non-stop reporting on the Islanders and Dey wanted to deliver it to them. I was available! It was Dey who understood that it would only work if the blog was run independently of the team. For the record, Dey has stood by his end of the bargain, and I applaud him and am thankful to him for it.

 

The New York Islanders are the primary sponsor of Point Blank. Newsday refers to PB as the "team-sponsored blog" - as opposed to the Rangers-sponsored newspaper - and I've never hid from that.

 

Some facts: the Islanders have never asked me to write a story or not write a story. The first time Islanders management sees a post is the same as you: when it's published on the site. I've never been asked to take down a reader Comment about members of the organization, and there have been plenty of vicious ones.

 

sleep 5In 2009, more than three-quarters of sports journalism is touched by some conflict of interest. Leagues are in bed with networks. Writers from major magazines and newspapers serve as paid talking heads on league-owned networks. Two of New York's top sports radio voices receive checks from the companies that own major league sports teams. Sportswriters have publishing deals with the coaches and athletes they are supposed to cover.

 

Long Island's newspaper is owned by the company that owns the Knicks, Rangers, Madison Square Garden and MSG Network. Neil Best, one of the finest media columnists in the U.S. and a man of impeccable honor, covers one of the major holdings of his boss. So do the Newsday writers on the Knicks and Rangers. Wally Matthews blistered Charles Wang last summer, has plenty of tough opinions on the Steinbrenners and at times has been vicious toward Jeff Wilpon. As for the Dolans, Wally doesn't seem to have much to say.

 

I stand by the facts I've written, and the opinions that have come from the heart and the mind.

 

Town of Hempstead: Before I ever wrote my first critical word of Kate Murray's handling of the Lighthouse Project, I called Town spokesman Mike Deery three times and left him three voicemails. I attempted to start a professional relationship, but the Town did not have the time nor the interest for this blogger and resident. I don't expect them to ever want to deal with me now. Should the Town of Hempstead ever make its first right move - like maybe Murray showing up at a meeting - I'll be the first to praise it.

 

For now, that Islanders Fan First website and mailer fiasco - the project they aborted after three days - remains the Town's signature moment. To those of you who believe I just get my kicks bashing the Republican side of this issue, you don't know anything about me or my other projects. By writing the facts, and writing what I feel, in this brutal economy I'm potentially costing myself income from some of the PR consultant jobs I've been up for. That's about as far as I can take it.

 

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My Background: Other than knowing I worked for the team for a while, understandably most of you don't know my background and how it relates to the blog. So here's a bit about my career in the game.

 

sleep 5In my senior year in college, I worked full-time for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1986-87 season, the year they went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Along the way, the Flyers defeated the Rangers, Islanders (right after the Easter Epic) and Montreal before Wayne Gretzky took over in the final period of the deciding game in the Final. I did not get a Cup ring, but I made countless friends and contacts with the Flyers and around the league, most of them still in the business.

 

Six months later, I was hired by the Islanders to edit a monthly newspaper, Islander News. Among those on my first Islanders team: Trottier, Bossy, Denis Potvin, LaFontaine, Brent Sutter, Morrow, Flatley, Billy Smith and Kelly Hrudey. Along the way, I managed the team's publications, sold group tickets and even served as radio color commentator for a year and a half after Bob Nystrom left the job (yup, it was a major step down in the booth, but I tried). I went into PR fulltime in the mid-90s, was named VP in 1999 and stayed in that position for 9 years.

 

sleep 5So many of the players and coaches on those early Islanders teams are spread out around the league as scouts, coaches and broadcasters and remain good friends and invaluable contacts. On the 1992-93 team alone, former players are now near the top of directories with NHL teams and the Players Association. My favorite time was working for Al Arbour and the '92-93 team, the second was the mini-revival in 2001-02 under Peter Laviolette and watching the Coliseum come alive again.

 

For more than a decade, I managed a press box that hosted scouts from every team in the league and elsewhere. Most of those relationships are still in place today. Naturally, I'm still in contact with many of my former colleagues in the Islanders front office.

 

So when I rank prospects, I may not always be bang-on, but understand I'm not throwing paper darts into the wind. When I write that the majority of scouts I've spoken with say Drew Doughty will have a better NHL career than Victor Hedman, it could ultimately be wrong, but I'm not listening to the voices inside my head. I'm a reporter who listens to dozens of men who do this for a living. Turns out the amateur scouts on the Point Blank speed dial knew almost all season Matt Duchene was 2 or 3, even when The Hockey News had him at 6.

 

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Blog Stats: With each month, the Page Views and Visits for Point Blank grew in leaps and bounds, peaking (of course) in March with Gueringate. The drama got so big, the numbers on Sunday - when everyone thought Bill was going to be traded - actually were better than the day of the Trade Deadline.

 

The really good news is that the stats in April barely dropped off. Lottery day was a good one, but it was so gratifying to see all the new readers we picked up in March seem to be sticking around.

 

When you consider the Islanders did not play an important game for the purposes of playoff contention since the holidays, the numbers have been remarkable. The credit goes to you for your dedication to this team and for spreading the word about the blog.

 

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Comments: One of the reasons why the Page Views of Point Blank have grown beyond my expectations is because of your efforts in the Comments space. I spoke with a top guy at NHL Security the other day who told me he is as interested in reading all the Comments as my blog entries. I wasn't offended. That's the way it should be on a good blog.

 

If many of you believe I'm a nut about moderating the Comments space, I take the hit but also have no regrets. We have all seen how the blogs of many talented writers have been almost destroyed by the nonsense that goes on in the Comments. I refuse to let that happen. For everyone I've ticked off, I still believe the Comment Guidelines are a vital reason why the site tends to get at least 100 legitimate, passionate, insightful Comments (and often a lot more) after each story. I want as many readers as possible to feel like they can share their opinions.

 

On criticism of my work, I have no problem when a reader disagrees with me, tears me apart or even plays the ever-popular shill card. (The son of a friend of mine posted from his college dorm a while ago that I was still Garth's boy). I love that stuff.

 

To be candid, the only ones I find personally annoying are the ones that say something like, "I don't care about this subject" or "Don't you have anything better to write about"? One of my favorites was when I broke the news the Islanders had signed third round pick Mark Katic and a regular reader of an Islanders blog said he didn't care and it was just "fodder."

 

If you are the kind of person who actually takes the time to post on an Islanders blog that you don't care about stories on Mike Bossy, Kirill Petrov, Denis Potvin, the Lighthouse - after all, it only determines the team's future - prospects and small anecdotes from behind-the-scenes, I encourage you to go somewhere else for your daily Islanders reading.

 

Now that we've been at this seven months and I have regularly asked readers to review the Comment Guidelines, I'm done with warnings. If you go off-topic, write not a comment but a full-blown blog entry, post more than 3 per thread, are profane, call your fellow readers "idiots" and "morons" and the ever-popular "___ clowns" or give me other reasons to be cautious, your Comment posts are going to moderation. If you'd like to address this issue, please send me an email so we can work it out one-on-one.

 

Effective today, while some readers may have their Comments go to moderation, no one is on permanent block any longer.

 

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sleep 5The Year in Review: After working for the team for so long, I was more comfortable transitioning to the media side than I expected. It probably helped that there was a new head coach and some key players (including Doug Weight) that I had never worked with.

 

Scott Gordon and I didn't have much to do with each other for about two months mid-season. He didn't like some stuff I wrote. I didn't like the way he handled it, so I passed on many of his media scrums because he wasn't saying much. In the final 4-6 weeks of the season, the working relationship improved. I stubbornly believe Scott has a few things he needs to work on. He stubbornly thinks I'm wrong and everything is okay. Scott works his tail off, is extremely bright and is a very talented coach. Time will tell how it works out.

 

Garth Snow was irritated with me for a few weeks, primarily because I wrote my 8-year old twins did a better job of staying on the same page as the Islanders were on the Rick DiPietro injury stuff. The Islanders stood by their version of the story. Over time, we moved on. As I wrote when I was in timeout, I do not need complete access to write the blog. When you shut out the media, it usually hurts the team more - especially when that team does not boast bountiful coverage. Felt the same way when I was the PR director.

 

I especially want to mention youngsters Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo for their professionalism during a difficult season. Think about Bailey. He knew about the immediate fan and press reaction when the team went from 5 to 7 to 9 and drafted him. I wrote that he should go to juniors, and then to the World Junior Championships. Yet through it all, he answered the questions and handled himself like a 15-year pro. My experience tells me that's a good sign.

 

All of the veterans were very good with the press, most notably for me Weight, Brendan Witt and Richard Park. The team's PR staff - Seth Sylvan, Corey Witt and young Josh Bernstein - are good men and made me feel comfortable in my new gig. I thank them for that.

 

Other than a few hours one Sunday early on when we battled over the "team-sponsored" thing, Greg Logan and I got along really well. He is a friend, and I have learned a lot from him. The days when Dan Martin of the Post and Peter Botte of the Daily News attend practice are always good days.

 

I also want to thank the MSG Network crew for putting me on the pre-game show and Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe for mentioning Point Blank more than a few times. Same to Steve Mears and Chris King for their support on the radio side and their assistance. Thank you to Lisa and the moderators at Islandermania for always linking to my stories. That's a huge help, and especially was early on when the blog was trying to get off the ground. Thank you to Roseanne and the crew at Gabrielle's for their amazing generosity as our unofficial watering hole.

 

In the world outside the Islanders, thank you to Don La Greca for guiding this novice on ESPN Radio. Thank you to Hofstra University for the opportunity to see if I can teach. Thank you to Stan Bratskeir for his PR guru-ness.

 

Thank you to Kevin Schultz of Barry Melrose Rocks for getting behind the Gran Torino when I had to step away. Thank you to B.D. Gallof for his help in the early days and best of luck with his new venture. Whatever happened in between, I wish him well in doing his best to make sure it doesn't happen again.

 

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Future: As of this date, there's a commitment to write this blog until the NHL Draft in late June. After that, I do not have any guarantees. It is my sincere wish to run Point Blank for at least another year and hopefully a lot more beyond that. I hope to know in the next few weeks if I'll be around past June. For now, please click the heck out of any sponsor ads you may see.

 

One thing is certain: the only way I will ever do this blog is if I'm provided the opportunity to cover the Islanders 24/7/365. From time to time readers suggest that if I move into another full-time career that I pop in and write once or twice a week. This franchise has been my life's work and a bit of an obsession now for 21 years. When I worked for the Islanders, I thought about my responsibilities every hour for two decades. It's impossible for me to picture doing this blog half-way. In fact, I'm sure I will never do it that way.

 

One more time, thank you to all of the Point Blank readers for checking out the site, sharing your insight, passing along your knowledge and keeping me in line. Here's hoping we can keep this going for a long time.

 

 

Since I went long, the 100-word limit is waived for this Comments section - as long as you stay on topic!

 

I need to take a personal day, maybe two, so I will miss the U.S.-Russia game on Friday morning. Unless there is any breaking Islanders news, I'll be off the laptop. I'm sure Greg and the Times blog, among other sites, will be on the Worlds.

 

Please feel free to submit any questions you may have related to this post and I will address as many as I can as soon as I return. Thanks...CB

Tags: News

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

The Islanders, coming off a 4-0 win over the Bruins, fired head coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday.

While the timing seems strange, it's a move that had been widely discussed in hockey circles and clamored for by an upset and disappointed fanbase, compounded by the team's 17-17-8 record after 42 games.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Andy Graziano
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 (James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)
(James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)

The Islanders have fired head coach Jack Capuano, the team announced Tuesday.

Doug Weight will serve as interim head coach.

"The New York Islanders would like to thank Jack for his tireless work throughout his seven seasons with the organization as Head Coach," GM Garth Snow said. "His leadership guided the team to the playoffs in three of the past four years, which included two straight 100-point seasons. He is a great coach and an even better person. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward."

Capuano, who was named interim head coach on Nov. 15, 2010 and had the interim tag removed on April 12, 2011, had a record of 227-191-64 with the Isles.

Read More

Brian Compton and Mike Carver are a little more optimistic this week after a dominant performance in Boston. The guys discuss the impressive play of goaltender Thomas Greiss and captain John Tavares, and react to Larry Brooks' article on a trade proposal between Colorado and the Isles. Later, Islanders Point Blank senior columnist Andy Graziano calls in to talk about Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey...

*This podcast was recorded prior to the firing of head coach Jack Capuano*

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss
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 (Bob DeChiara)
(Bob DeChiara)

Nikolay Kulemin is apparently a big fan of Martin Luther King day games.

The veteran winger notched a two-goal game in Boston on Monday afternoon. It was the second two-goal game of Kulemin's Islanders career. The other came on MLK Day in 2015.

Kulemin also shined in the possession game, with a team-high Individual 5-on-5 Corsi Percentage of 69 percent, and a +6 Corsi rating. (h/t on these tidbits to Eric Hornick).

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson)

Second Period

Third Period


Recap

Tags: Anders Lee, Boston Bruins, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, Josh Bailey, Nikolay Kulemin, Thomas Greiss
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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)

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.  

Read More

 (James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)
(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

Read More

 (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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