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.

 

*

 

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.

 

*

 

"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.

 

*

 

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.

 

*

 

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.

 

*

 

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.

 

*

 

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.

 

*

 

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

Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Anders Lee scored twice, John Tavares had a goal and two assists, and the Islanders defeated the Sharks by a score of 5-3 at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.  >> Read more

Read More

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and San Jose Sharks defender Joakim Ryan (47) battle for position at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and San Jose Sharks defender Joakim Ryan (47) battle for position at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Tags: San Jose Sharks
Read More

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

For the second consecutive game, the Islanders will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Sharks on Saturday, the team announced. 

However, unlike Thursday against the Rangers, Anthony Beauvillier will be in the lineup in place of Josh Ho-Sang. On defense, Dennis Seidenberg will play for Scott Mayfield

Read More

 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Mathew Barzal scored goals to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Rangers Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. >> Read more

Read More

New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )

NEW YORK -- When the New York Islanders and New York Rangers meet, there is never a shortage of intensity and energy.

Read More

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Ed Mulholland)
New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Ed Mulholland)

 The lead today comes from…Today's Tweeted Question:

@SP19hockey asked, "12 years of Snow. Love Game of Thrones but that's TOO much winter for Isles. Any chance at change of season?"

No...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss, Chris Botta
Read More

 (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After six games in which the Islanders have collected five of a possible 12 points, partially due to a struggling power play which has now reached 0-for-20, Newsday's Arthur Staple reported today after practice that Ryan Pulock will indeed make his season debut tomorrow night against the rival New York Rangers in Manhattan.

The 23-year old defenseman from Dauphin, Manitoba has played only 16 career games over two seasons despite being one of the most highly regarded prospects in the organization, due to injury and defensive deficiencies that reared their ugly head in Bridgeport under Brent Thompson and stuck around for training camp.

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
Read More

New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have opened the season at 2-3-1 (five points) and sit in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, largely due to an offense that has struggled. 

Through the first six games, the Islanders have scored just 15 goals and sit at 24th in the league with 2.50 goals per game. Head coach Doug Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple that the top line will need to get things going. 

"Chances have been few and far between, but they've gotten their share," Weight said. "When they go in they'll go in. I think it was a rolling puck. I don't think he's fighting anything."

Tags: John Tavares
Read More

New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Like every story, there are at least two sides to the drama surrounding John Tavares and his future with the New York Islanders. Let's start with the dark side.

Beyond only certain corners of the New York metropolitan area, the real, hard truth is that it's difficult to find anyone who believes Tavares will sign another long-term contract with the Islanders.

If you were to run into any NHL power broker, influencer, or insider who is unaffiliated with the Islanders and bought them a few shots of Jameson, they might tell you any or all of the following...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
Read More

Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)
Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)

First Period 

Second Period 

Third Period 

Read More

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

As Islanders Scratchpad returns for another season, the New York Islanders are five games into the 2017-18 campaign and sit with 50 percent of possible points (2-2-1). The team will wrap up their west coast swing on Sunday night in Los Angeles. 

 

Read More

New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)
New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)

LW Anthony Beauvillier was a late scratch from the Islanders' lineup on Saturday night against the Sharks. 16-year veteran LW Jason Chimera will take his place.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier
Read More

 (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders (1-3-0) continue their annual swing through California after falling 3-2 to Anaheim on Wednesday.

"We have to get some pucks in and find a way because these are games that I feel like we should win," coach Doug Weight told the Islanders' official website.

Tags: San Jose Sharks
Read More

New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Thomas Greiss will get the start in net and Jordan Eberle told reporters that he is ready to play Saturday night against the Sharks. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Thomas Greiss
Read More

 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

From Scott Gordon to Jack Capuano and now Doug Weight, the legacy continues.

On the MSG postgame show Wednesday night -- almost always the "Happy Recap," win or lose -- Weight talked about how the Islanders "did some great things." Moments after, in speaking with the press, Weight pointed out, "We did a lot of good things on the power play."

The Islanders lost in Anaheim, 3-2. They have won one of their first four games. After going 0-5 last night, Weight's team is now 0-15 on the power play this season...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
Read More

New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )

Brock Nelson scored his first two goals of the season, but the Islanders fell to the Ducks in Anaheim, 3-2, at the Honda Center. >> Read more

Tags: Brock Nelson
Read More

 (Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))
(Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))

Jaroslav Halak will be in goal tonight for the Islanders against the Ducks in Anaheim.

The Isles will use the same skaters as their last game, with Cal Clutterbuck (hip) still not ready to return.

Head coach Doug Weight strongly considered putting Ryan Pulock in the game, but said he's "very happy" with Scott Mayfield's game, according to Art Staple of Newsday.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Pulock
Read More

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

With the question lingering about where the Islanders will play in the near future, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said the organization is putting all of its efforts to build an arena at Belmont Park. 

On Tuesday, Ledecky spoke to reporters and said the Islanders plan to play next season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but beyond that, ownership hopes that the team can get their desired arena in Elmont. 

"We are locked and loaded on Belmont," Ledecky said, according to Newsday. "We have blinders on for Belmont. We are not looking at other places or other opportunities. We want to make Belmont a reality. ... The best home and the only home for the New York Islanders moving forward should be the Belmont arena." 

Read More

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

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

"I believe they are learning. We have a nice five and a half hour plane trip ahead of us and I got about 15 minutes with each of them that will probably end up being 30. They're good kids, good players and have earned their spots. This is big boy hockey and that's a great defensive core over there (St.Louis). They'll figure those things out. They got better as the game went, but had some guys who played pretty well and demanded more ice time. I feel like I can rely on them, put them out in almost any situation. Barzie (Mathew Barzal) has been good, Josh (Ho-Sang) is fine."

Those comments made by Islanders head coach Doug Weight after yesterday's 3-2 come-from-behind shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn tell you something about how he might manage his rookies as the 2017-18 season moves along.

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
Read More

 (Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)
(Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO, Brett Yormark, doesn't believe the Islanders stay at the Barclays Center makes any economic sense. 

Yormark recently spoke with Sports Business Daily's John Lombardo about his company, and how the Barclays Center has evolved since its inception five years ago. Everything has gone smoothly for the new arena except for the Islanders, who have not produced the numbers Yormark expected. 

"The economics just don't work," Yormark said. "It's a Long Island team trying to create a fan base in Brooklyn, and to date it has ben met with very modest success andnot at the numbers we have hoped."

Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Picture ARod going on Fox in the middle of this Yankees playoff series, and saying he hears that Joe Girardi will be fired no matter what. Or Ron Duguay going on MSG Network early in this Rangers season, and declaring that Rick Nash will be traded before Christmas.

This just doesn't happen. Usually, former athletes straddle the line in their broadcast jobs when talking about their old teams.

But this is Islanders Country, where…oh, for once, can everybody just leave this franchise alone?

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
Read More

 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Anders Lee tied the game up at two with a minute left, but the Blues earned the win in the shootout, 3-2, at the Barclays Center >> Read more

Tags: Anders Lee
Read More

 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Islanders will carry the same lineup as last game against the Sabres with G Thomas Greiss starting over Jaroslav Halak in net against the Blues at 1 p.m. 

Greiss allowed five goals in the season opener against the Blue Jackets before head coach Doug Weight pulled him with Halak taking over. He gets a shot to redeem himself today. 

Tags: Thomas Greiss
Read More

 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Two teams hoping Saturday night victories were a sign of things to come will square off Monday afternoon when the New York Islanders host the St. Louis Blues in a Columbus Day matinee at Barclays Center.

The Islanders scored three second-period goals in a span of 1:47 in a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Saturday's home opener.

The host Blues, who also played their home opener Saturday, scored the game's first three goals in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Read More

Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

John Tavares scored the game's first two goals to help set the pace for the Islanders in a 6-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.  >> Read more

Tags: John Tavares
Read More

New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders begin their third, most pivotal and possibly even final season of playing home games at Barclays Center on Saturday night. They hope Friday night wasn't a harbinger of things to come.

A pair of teams looking to bounce back from season-opening losses will meet when the Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres.

Read More

 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The Islanders also are hoping to make a run at the playoffs this season. They're led by captain John Taveras, who is in the final year of his contract, and they added Jordan Eberle in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers to provide more offense.

"I think we're a little more talented than we've been," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

The Islanders' top defensive pairing is Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

Read More

 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

C Josh Ho-Sang will be a healthy scratch (with Jason Chimera in) on Friday night when the Islanders open their season agains tthe Blue Jackets in Columbus at 7 p.m.

Thomas Greiss will start in net over Jaroslav Halak.

On defense, Scott Mayfield is in with Ryan Pulock out.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss
Read More

 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The players are no longer getting coffee in the locker room and whispering to each other, "Cappy still here?"

A third goalie isn't being stashed on the roster, and limiting the reps of the excellent No. 1 and 1As, because of the long-shot notion he's the next Patrick Roy.

As a result, and because of the simple fact that they have the player personnel to get it done in a conference that is not steeped in quality, the Islanders will qualify for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Chris Botta
Read More

 (Paul Sancya/AP)
(Paul Sancya/AP)

Former Islander Mike Bossy thinks the team willl deal pending free agent and captain John Tavares if the team isn't in the mix around Christmas.

"If the Islanders are no longer in the run-up to Christmas," Bossy said, according to 91.9 Sports, "it's sure that Tavares is gone!" 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bossy, who no longer works in the Islanders organization, doing only spot-duty on behalf of Barclays Center, has pulled no punches over the course of the past year when discussing Tavares' potential departure from the only team he has ever known...

 

Read More

New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight not only has high hopes for Nick Leddy this year, but he also believes the defenseman can become one of the elite players in the entire league. 

Leddy, who finished last season with 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists), is entering his fourth season with the Islanders and eighth in the league. Weight believes he can only get better this year. 

"He should be in the conversation for those [All-Star] teams and Norris Trophies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "He can skate, he can shoot, he's a savvy player as well. Maybe he doesn't have the deception of a [Brent] Burns or a [Erik] Karlsson, but there's probably three people in the world that do so I wouldn't hold that against him. He's right there in that upper echelon of D and he's going to be big for us this year for sure."

Tags: Nick Leddy
Read More

Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (Brad Penner)
Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (Brad Penner)

The Islanders open up their 2017-18 season on Friday night in Columbus. How will the season shake out? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…


Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. We're on the precipice of a new season, and everyone is curious how this campaign will go for the Islanders. Is it me, or are the outlooks that are rolling in for this team all over the map?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders Point Blank founder and former SNY contributor Chris Botta will be back with us this season, posting multiple columns each week.


When we last left off about five years ago, the New York Islanders were a franchise without a long-term home -- a team entering each season merely yearning to grab one of the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

While many faces - including the latest batch of intriguing young players - have changed, in the big picture, not a lot else has.

Read More

New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony Beauvillier scored twice in New York's preseason finale as the Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:21 PHI Michael Raffl; Assists: Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier
  • 13:10 NYI Dennis Seidenberg; Assists: Cal Clutterbuck, Stephen Gionta

Second period:

  • 2:22 NYI Anders Lee (power play); Assists: Devon Toews, Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 3:07 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Casey Cizikas, Adam Pelech

Third period

  • 0:32 NYI Beauviller (power play); Assists: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock
  • 6:32 PHI Wayne Simmonds (power play); Assists: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek
  • 19:36 NYI Steve Bernier (ENG)
Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Josh Ho-Sang, Philadelphia Flyers, Stephen Gionta
Read More

New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)

Anders Lee had two points, Mathew Barzal had three points and Jordan Eberle added the go-ahead goal in the second period to lead the Islanders to a 3-1 win over Sabres on Friday evening at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. >> Read more

Read More

 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After years of veterans seemingly playing without fear of repercussions -- even over younger players who might have been out-performing their elder counterparts -- the Islanders find themselves entering the 2017-18 season under new leadership and counting on an infusion of young talent more than ever.

Doug Weight, speaking to the media on Wednesday after practice, said Mathew Barzal has done enough to make the team coming out of training camp. Weight is also happy with Ryan Pulock's preseason, even though he did add the caveat, "there's a pretty darn good battle going on back there for starting jobs" (via Brian Compton, NHL.com on Twitter).

Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders have submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park, NY, reports Jim Baumbach of Newsday. Bidders had until today to submit a proposal.

The Islanders can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January. Barclays Center is reportedly unhappy with the Islanders as tenants, and the team has been seeking other options.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhat was the worst kept secret in the NHL and all across New York and its surrounding suburbs became reality today.

Read More

 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

The Islanders are just 10 days away from Opening Night, and the roster is beginning to take shape. What will the 23-man squad look like? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...


Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Welcome back to another season of Shooting from Point Blank Range, my man. We had lots of fun with this last year, so let's kick this season off by taking a look at the 'almost' final 23-man roster, which needs to be finalized by 5:00 p.m. on October 3. With some cuts already made, and Bridgeport camp underway, you can make some strong assertions of who will make the team and who won't. Any thoughts on how it's shaping up?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
Read More

 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders RW Josh Ho-Sang supports the NFL and NBA players who took action following President Trump's comments about kneeling during the national anthem. 

Being a Canadian, Ho-Sang can't relate to the athletes personally. But he does support their protest because they are standing up for what they believe in. 

"I think what the NFL players are doing is amazing. It's good that they're all sticking together," Ho-Sang told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "I mean, I'm Canadian, so I don't have too much input on the matter itself. It will affect me living in the States, but the biggest thing is it's unfortunate that the message may have gotten lost a little. Now it's becoming a battle between the NFL and the president and originally [the protests] started because of police brutality and the mistreatment of different races."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

If training camp ended right now, Mat Barzal would break the team with the big club.

After the Islanders' 3-0 preseason victory over the Devils on Monday night, head coach Doug Weight was asked, based on what he's seen so far, if Barzal would make the team. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think we all wanted to see more of what Barzal could do when he got his look with the Isles early last year. But he seemed tentative in the mere two games he cracked the lineup, and with the team struggling, Jack Capuano didn't exhibit much patience before Barzal was ultimately sent back to Juniors.

Tags: Mathew Barzal
Read More

New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal recorded first period goals for the Islanders and they held serve the rest of the way to topple the Devils in a split squad game, 3-0. >> Read more

Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

As the regular draws closer, the Islanders announced they have slimmed their training camp roster to 31 players. 

Michael Dal Colle was among the players cut from pro camp, as he was assigned to the AHL squad. The fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft tallied 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games with the Sound Tigers last year. He has yet to play in a regular-season NHL game. 

The team sent 11 others to the AHL, placed four players on waivers and cut six players on professional tryout contracts. 

Below is a full breakdown of the moves:

Tags: Michael dal Colle
Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows has agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

The 19-year-old, who is the son of former NHL All-Star Brian Bellows, was the Isles' first-round selection (19th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

He had seven goals and seven assists in 34 games last year during his freshman season at Boston University.

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

Read More

Doug Weight
Doug Weight

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders are preparing to open their first full season under head coach Doug Weight in 2017-18, looking to return to the playoffs after coming within a point of making a third straight appearance last year.

What we have seen out of Weight during his 40-game run in 2016-17 and so far this summer has been a drastic change from his predecessor, Jack Capuano.

Practices are harder and more up-tempo with a clear focus on physicality and cardiovascular work. He doesn't seem shy about giving his young players responsibility and an avenue to succeed. He has brought a relaxed, casual yet business like feel to the dressing room, with the ability to reach and communicate with his players on a more personal level...

Read More

 (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

In split squad games against the Flyers, the Islanders earned a 3-2 win at home while dropping an overtime decision of the same score on the road. >> Read more


Islanders-Flyers Game 1 (PPL Center)

First Period: 

  • 2:24 NYI: Matthew Barzal (Power Play); Assists: Joshua Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers
Read More