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

Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders didn't get off to the greatest start against the Kings on Saturday night, falling behind 2-0 in the first period. Currently stuck in a poor run of form, the negative momentum could have been too much for the Isles to overcome. 

But Doug Weight's top line of John Tavares, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey together scored the next three goals of the game, evenly distributed with one each, paving the way for the Isles 4-3 OT win, halting a two-game losing streak. Weight spoke after the game on the trio's importance.

"They are in one right now," head coach Doug Weight said, via Cory Wright of the Islanders official site. "They are a special line, a special group and three special players. They're rolling and we have to ride them." 

Tavares, Lee and Bailey will look to keep it going against the Red Wings at home on Tuesday night. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

Up and down the standings go, changing not nightly, but seemingly hourly, as the Metro division continues to be, arguably, the most competitive in the National Hockey League.

It remains the only division that can claim every team being above NHL-.500, with only eight points separating first from last. Put your seats in their upright position, raise your tray tables and strap in. We will be experiencing plenty of turbulence from here on out.

  • If anyone had placed a wager that Josh Bailey, off his career year in 2016-17, would have 40 points by December 17, tied with Connor McDavid and only three behind Steven Stamkos, you would be very, very rich right now. I bet the odds would have been way in your favor. Bailey has not just been producing this year, he's been producing at an ELITE level. It's time to stop the hate and just enjoy it. He deserves it...
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New York Islanders celebrate a goal by forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders celebrate a goal by forward Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. (Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders ended their two-game losing streak after coming back down 2-1 to top the Kings, 4-3, in overtime at the Barclays Center on Saturday evening. >>Read more

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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK -- A pair of weary teams slumping for different reasons will face off Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Los Angeles Kings at Barclays Center.

Both squads enter Saturday on two-game losing streaks. The Islanders were off Friday after suffering a wild 6-4 loss to the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The Kings opened a back-to-back set Friday by falling to the New York Rangers 4-2 in the second game of a four-game East Coast road trip.

The two-game skid for the Kings (20-10-3) comes immediately after an eight-game winning streak that was tied for the second-longest run in franchise history. But even when it was winning, Los Angeles was having trouble putting pucks in the net.

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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anders Lee (27) 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 Anders Lee (27) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Growing up in Edina, Minnesota, Anders Lee excelled in school as well as in sports. A three-sport athlete in high school (hockey, baseball, football), the 27-year old left wing now has quickly established himself as one of the premier power forwards in the National Hockey League. And no, it's not simply a product of playing with captain John Tavares, one of the top-ten players in hockey.

For the Edina Hornets, Lee won the starting quarterback job in his junior year and passed for 2,049 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading his team to the championship game. That winter, he made the transition to hockey, scoring 32 goals and adding 22 assists.

Tags: Anders Lee
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Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight coaches against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have hit a rough patch this December, winning just twice in eight games. They haven't struggled offensively, having scored three goals or more in five of the games, but have been less-than-desirable defensively. 

Head coach Doug Weight is happy with the offensive output, but wants the team to be more predictable: like meat and potatoes.

"We've proven we're going to score goals and have opportunities, that's a good thing," Weight told Arthur Staple of Newsday. "To me, we need some more meat and potatoes. We need more predictability, we need more mash..."

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Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Nov 19, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) comes over the boards on a line change against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

After losing consecutive games in regulation for the first time all season, and going 2-5-1 to start December, the Islanders are experiencing their first serious bump in the road to qualifying for the playoffs. No one said it would be easy, but with team defense and goaltending like this, it's actually incredible they're currently in a wild card spot. The Islanders have given up more goals this season than every team in the NHL except Arizona.

Will it make you feel any better today if I provide a little perspective? For about half of my time with the Islanders, we were out of the playoff picture before the holiday party.

No? Okay, then let's take a look at the Metropolitan Division and measure up what will be a crazy playoff chase. By decree of the NHL's unique system, at least three Met teams will not make the playoffs this season. The top three teams in the Met get spots, and then there are the two wild cards available. That means, while it's difficult to take the Hurricanes or even the surging Flyers too seriously at this point, one from a group consisting of the three locals, plus the Penguins, Capitals, and Blue Jackets is not going to make it. Here's how I rate the Met Eight, from most likely to qualify to ones in doubt...

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Islanders have loaned Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport of the AHL, the team announced Friday.

The Isles play just once in the next four days, against the Kings on Saturday night at home. Ho-Sang, 21, has two goals and 10 assists in 22 games this season. 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Anyone who has been watching the Islanders' recent slide (six losses in eight games) with objective eyes will tell you that Ho-Sang has been struggling in many facets of his game, meaning the news of his reassignment to Bridgeport is not that big of a surprise...

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)
General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers (Brad Penner)

A decision on who to award the Belmont Park arena site to -- the Islanders or NYCFC -- will likely come within the next three weeks, reports Jim Baumbach of Newsday.

The Islanders and NYCFC both revealed their proposal plans for the redevelopment last Sunday. 

The Isles' plan consisted of an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would be host to about 150 events each year, according to Baumbach and Stefanie Dazio. Along with the arena, 435,000 square feet would be available for retail as well as a hotel and 10,000 square-foot "innovation center." This center will be built with input from residents in the area. 

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

A thrilling Thursday night Islanders game saw New York lose 6-4 to the Blue Jackets, with three of the four goals coming from Josh Bailey, his first career hat trick. 

Bailey was happy with the personal achievement, but not overjoyed because the final result was a loss. 

"It's obviously nice to get one, but they are a lot sweeter when you win," Bailey said, via Cory Wright of the Islanders official site. "It's tough to come back and win hockey games when you're down that much. We battled, found a way to get our legs going, compete the rest of the way and make it close, but it's frustrating the way we let it get away."

The Islanders will look to get back to winning ways at home against the Kings Saturday at 7 p.m.

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Dec 14, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Dec 14, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

The Islanders fought back from a 3-0 first intermission hole to tie the game 3-3 in the second period before losing out to the Blue Jackets 6-4. They nearly came back from a multi-goal deficit for the second time on the night, but that effort fell just short before Columbus added a last-second empty net goal.

Josh Bailey scored a hat-trick in the losing effort. 

First period

Tags: Josh Bailey
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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two teams that were knocked back on their heels in their last game will be looking to get their skates under them Thursday night.

The New York Islanders fell behind 5-0 and lost the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Wednesday. One night earlier, the Columbus Blue Jackets also dug themselves a 5-0 hole after two periods and were rocked by the Edmonton Oilers 7-2.

The Blue Jackets (19-11-1) are tied at the top of the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals, but it doesn't seem like they're a first-place team.

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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Dallas Stars center Devin Shore (17) defends New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Dallas Stars center Devin Shore (17) defends New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) during the third period between the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Stars got the best of the Islanders again Wednesday night, and head coach Doug Weight isn't mad due to the chances his team had all game. 

The scoreboard read 5-2 at the end of three periods, but Weight didn't view it that way. The Isles had a multitude of chances to put the puck in the back of the net, but at the end of the day, the Stars converted more on their chances. 

"I guarantee we had 25 good opportunities - to me it's a winnable game," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "Credit to them, they got the lead, they capitalized, but the difference (between Monday's win over the Capitals) is we probably had twice as many scoring chances."

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
		
		  (Dennis Schneidler)
Dec 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The Dallas Stars scored the first five goals of the game en route to a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. Anders Lee scored twice in the third period for New York. >> Box score


First period: 

  • 7:37 DAL Tyler Pitlick; Assists: Dan Hamhuis, Jamie Benn
  • 15:46 DAL Alexander Radulov; Assists: Jason Spezza, Mattias Janmark

Second period: 

  • 1:01 DAL Remi Elie; Assists: Devin Shore, John Klingberg
  • 9:21 DAL Benn; Assists: Julius Honka

Third period:

  • :21 DAL Pitlick; Assists: Klingberg, Benn
  • 1:06 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Josh Bailey, John Tavares
  • 16:28 NYI Lee (PP); Assists: Tavares, Bailey
Tags: Anders Lee
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals with teammates during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- A pair of goaltenders could be in the spotlight Wednesday night when the New York Islanders host the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center in the teams' final meeting of the season.

Both teams were off Tuesday after snapping three-game losing streaks Monday night. The Islanders ended their skid by beating the visiting Washington Capitals 3-1. The Stars snapped out of their slump and began a four-game Eastern Conference road trip by outlasting the host New York Rangers 2-1 in the shootout.

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders D Ryan Pulock has transformed his game since last season, and it is impressing head coach Doug Weight. 

Pulock showed spurts of an everyday defenseman last season, but it was consistent play. He wasn't being as aggressive as he could be. However, that has changed since Pulock returned to the Isles' lineup on Dec. 1. 

"Whether you're sitting out or you have a bad game, sometimes you make a decision. And it sounds so easy, but I think he just came in a few games ago and it was like, 'OK, that's the guy,'" Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "Quick hands, lugging the puck, stapling guys (to the wall) in his own zone. I think he fed off that."...

Tags: Ryan Pulock
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders needed a big game from one of their struggling goalies against a dangerous Capitals offense, and Jaroslav Halak stepped up big in the team's 3-1 win Monday night. 

Head coach Doug Weight has said that he wanted to help his goalies in Halak and Thomas Greiss figure what has forced them to be inconsistent so far this season. He also didn't care that many were confused as to why Halak was getting his third straight start. 

"I feel good about both our goalies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "No one else does. I don't really care."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos (29) plays the puck against New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jaroslave Halak saved 31 of 32 shots and three different players scored goals for the Islanders in a 3-1 win over the Capitals on Monday night.  << Box score

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Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

NEW YORK -- It took a little longer than expected, but the Washington Capitals are right where most forecasters predicted.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Bruins F Brad Marchand did not face punishment by the NHL after hitting John Tavares up high during the Bruins' 3-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday.

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

The Islanders and New York City FC both revealed their proposal plans for the redevelopment of Belmont Park at Elmont Memorial High School on Sunday. 

The Isles plan consisted of a 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would be host to about 150 events each year, according to Newsday's Jim Baumbach and Stefanie Dazio. Along with the arena, 435,000 square feet will be available for retail as well as a hotel and 10,000 square-foot "innovation center." This center will be built with input from residents in the area. 

NYCFC plans for a slightly larger arena with 26,000 seats as well as 400,000 square feets for retails. They also want to add a 5.2-acre community park and a 2-acre soccer facility on the grounds. 

 

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New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)
New York Islanders left wing Nikolay Kulemin celebrates his goal with teammates against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

What we're seeing lately with regard to the New York Islanders is not unprecedented. The team is suffering from what I warned of, in print and on the Secondary Assist podcast: A regression. All teams go through it. The larger question is, how soon until they get out of it?

The answer to that will ultimately decide their 2017-18 fate, not the sole fact that they suffered one...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders travel to Boston and fall to the Bruins 3-1. << Box score

First period: No goals

Second period: 

  • 10:51 BOS  Brad Marchand; Assists: Tory Krug, David Pastrnak

Third period: 

  • 6:45 BOS Jake DeBrusk; Assists: David Pastrnak, Tory Krug
  • 16:52 NYI Anders Lee (Unassisted)
  • 19:18 BOS Danton Heinen (empty net); Assist: Patrice Bergeron
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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

BOSTON -- Back in June 2015, the Boston Bruins owned three straight picks in the first round of the NHL draft.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the Penguins scoring two power-play goals in Thursday night's 4-3 overtime loss, Isles head coach Doug Weight devoted a full hour at practice Friday to fix his team's penalty kill. 

The Islanders definitely need help in that area as they currently sit 30th in the league with a 73.3 percent efficency on penalty kill opportunities. Thursday night marked the fourth straight game the team has allowed two power-play goals as well. 

After a 45-minute video session, the Isles took the ice to practice their penalty kill for a full hour, which Weight thought was necessary to figure out what is going wrong. 

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Joshua Ho-Sang clears a loose puck from in front of his own gaol as Pittsburgh Penguins center Riley Sheahan tries to score during the overtime period at PPG PAINTS Arena. (Don Wright/USA TODAY Sports)

Today's subject is assistant coaches. The premise: it's unfair to make the special teams failings of the Islanders or any other team all about one or two assistant coaches.

But I'd like to start by asking you rabid hockey fans to rack your brains for a moment.

For as long as you have been following the NHL, can you think of ANY assistant coach who was or is regarded as an absolute special teams genius, a maestro of the power play or penalty kill?

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Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)
Dec 7, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) steals the puck from New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports (Don Wright)

Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored goals in the third period help the Islanders tie the game, but Pittsburgh's Matt Hunwick scored the game-winner in overtime to lead the Penguins to a 4-3. win >> Box score

Tags: Brock Nelson, Mathew Barzal
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Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) (John Geliebter)
Nov 24, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates a goal by center Mathew Barzal (13) (John Geliebter)

PITTSBURGH -- After winning the past two Stanley Cups, the Pittsburgh Penguins usually find themselves circled on opponents' calendars. Despite some inconsistency, they lived up to the billing recently.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Head coach Doug Weight believes his goaltender situation needs to be addressed as he doesn't have a definitive starter between Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak.

Greiss has been struggling of late, owning a 3.79 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage this season. Though Greiss says he's fine, Weight thinks he needs to figure out what is plaguing the veteran goalie. 

"Thomas is such an easygoing guy, he's always, 'I'm fine, I'm fine, it's all good.' But I think it's something we have to address rather than ignore," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "We've got to help him through it. He's not dreadful. He's had some bad luck, some games he's played well where his numbers weren't great. Now you pair it with what you've seen the last couple weeks, we've got to fix it."

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Penguins on the road tonight at 7 p.m., head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Alain Quine, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuk
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

The New York Islanders have been valued at $395 million, which ranks 22nd on Forbes list of NHL teams' valuation.

Despite there being a 3-percent increases from a season ago, it is less than the $485 million Jon Ledecky, Scott Malkin, and the rest of the group paid for Charles Wang's controlling interest in the franchise. 

The biggest statistic that stands out is the team's $8.6 million loss in operating income last season compared to a $2.7 million income in 2015. 

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 (Jonathan Dyer)
(Jonathan Dyer)

Despite the Islanders making a comeback, lack of penalty kills forced their hand in the loss to the Lightning, 6-2, on Tuesday night. 

It was a slow first period with the Isles only taking three shots on net. However, the second saw a different team that would muster two goals to tie the game up. Momentum looked to be on the side of the road team, but two penalties would change all of that as the Lightning capitalized on both power-play chances at the end of the second to take a controlling 4-2 lead that they wouldn't surrender the rest of the way. 

After awful penalty kills of late, head coach Doug Weight is confused as to what happened to his unit. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss
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Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Dec 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (42) passes the puck s Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Lightning scored four unanswered goals -- including two by Yanni Gourde -- to run away with a 6-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. >> Box score

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Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)
Oct 26, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) drives to the net during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports (Marilyn Indahl)

TAMPA -- Two weeks ago, when the New York Islanders came to Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked mortal for the first time this season.

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Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Oct 28, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Russ Farwell, the longtime general manager of the Western Hockey League's Seattle Thunderbirds, knows how difficult it is to select the best teenage hockey players in the NHL Draft. As a former GM of the Flyers in the early '90s, like his colleagues he had his share of hits and misses.

But even Farwell was surprised to see the uniquely gifted Mathew Barzal, one of the best players in Seattle history, go unselected for 15 picks - including selections 13, 14 and 15 by the Boston Bruins - before Garth Snow and the Islanders snapped him up in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We were aware of teams across the NHL that had Mathew as high as fourth or fifth overall in their rankings," Farwell said in a phone conversation from Seattle. "I know Carolina liked him a lot, but decided to go with a good defenseman [Noah Hanfin, fifth overall]. And sure, I was bit surprised he went by those picks Boston had."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Chris Botta
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 (Robert Mayer)
(Robert Mayer)

It was a crazy game down in Orlando, but the Islanders managed to squeak out two points on the road thanks to Mathew Barzal

This game saw everything from a star goalie in Roberto Luongo carried off the ice with an injury to Cal Clutterbuck needing to be held back from an official. The cherry on top was the 4-4 tie that couldn't be settled in overtime, and needed a shootout to determine a winner. Luckily for the Isles, Jaroslav Halak was a brick wall and Barzal was the only player to find the back of the net. 

It was wild, but the Islanders will be happy leaving Florida with two points...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
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New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anders Lee celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with left wing Josh Bailey, defenseman Calvin de Haan and defenseman Adam Pelech (50) in the first period at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers in a shootout after scoring four goals apiece in regulation on Monday at BB&T Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 10:25 FLA Keith Yandle
  • 13:15 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Calvin de Haan, Adam Pelech

Second period:

  • 5:35 NYI Thomas Hickey; Assist: Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 8:45 FLA Aaron Ekblad (power play); Assists: Yandle, Vincent Trocheck
  • 10:34 FLA Aleksander Barkov (power play); Assists: Yandle, Trocheck
  • 16:19 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Ho-Sang, Jason Chimera
  • 18:21 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Josh Bailey, Nick Leddy

Third period:

  • 5:06 FLA Denis Malgin; Assists: Trocheck, Jamie McGinn
Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Florida Panthers, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey
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New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators by center Anders Lee during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders, who lead the NHL in scoring, expect to go up against one of the league's all-time great goalies, Roberto Luongo, on Monday night when they face the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.

The Islanders (15-8-2) are led by center John Tavares, who ranks third in the NHL with 16 goals. His team is first in the league with an average of 3.72 goals per game.

Tags: Florida Panthers, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The bid for Belmont Park is now only two as the Islanders and New York City Football Club are the final bidders for the arena project, per Newsday's Robert Brodsky

Both organizations will be able to outline their visions for their respective projects this Sunday during a public meeting. The third bidder, Blumenfeld Development Group, withdrew its bid for Belmont after saying the state's "extraordinary requirements" for the property make it appear the selection was predetermined to include the final two candidates. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think Ledecky is playing his cards perfectly. He knows that the Belmont site is, at best, NYCFC's third choice. Every time he says that there is no Plan B, he gently reminds ESD that awarding the site to the Islanders not only means guaranteed development, but immediate development, to an organization that wants to be a part of the Elmont community. 

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Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 1, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders lost their first game in regulation at Barclays Center this season Friday night to the Ottawa Senators, a wild 6-5 affair, and the reaction on social media from some was….well, sadly, expected.

Tags: Anders Lee, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Nov 25, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a save on a shot from New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

NEW YORK -- The hottest team in the NHL will face one of the league's coldest squads Friday night when the New York Islanders host the Ottawa Senators at Barclays Center.

The Islanders earned their season-high fourth straight win as well as their seventh victory in eight games Tuesday when they beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 5-2. The Senators' worst skid in nearly six years continued Wednesday, when they suffered their seventh straight loss with a 2-1 defeat to the host Montreal Canadiens.

The four-game winning streak by the Islanders (15-7-2) is the longest in the NHL entering Thursday night. The run has been fueled by versatility up and down the lineup for New York, which has outscored the opposition 16-10 and received goals from 11 players during the run.

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New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)
New York Islanders left wing Andrew Ladd (16) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. (Rick Osentoski)

Last season, Andrew Ladd didn't have the greatest start to his Islanders career. But, over the second half of the season, he picked up his form. 

This season, he hasn't taken long to get off the bus, something that both he and head coach Doug Weight attribute to his health.

"My body is feeling better as a whole, which for me, has given me the opportunity to be more aggressive," Ladd told Cory Wright of the Islanders official website...

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

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterBad, choppy, slushy ice. Off-center scoreboard. Obstructed view seats. Not enough Islanders branding around the concourses. The LIRR. John Tavares' contract extension.

We've all heard the many complaints lodged over the course of the two-plus seasons the Islanders have called Barclays Center in Brooklyn home. However, the fact remains that the deal struck between former owner Charles Wang and BSE CEO Brett Yormark saved the team from relocating after the township of Hempstead decided it wasn't worth much of a fight to properly refurbish the Nassau Coliseum and keep the team where it played since their inception in 1972.

The relationship hasn't been perfect -- it's now known to be downright rocky at present -- but both sides have found a way to co-exist until a permanent solution is found. With the Jon Ledecky-Scott Malkin RFP for Belmont submitted last month, it's the Islanders' only known hope for getting a modern building of their own and remaining in the area...

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Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders former player Bryan Trottier is honored before a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Hockey hall of famer and Islanders great Bryan Trottier hopes current Isles captain John Tavares never leaves the organization.

"We hope Tavares stays with us forever and dies an Islander," Trottier said Wednesday. "It just should be ... He wears the 'C 'so well."

Although he last played for the Islanders in 1990, Trottier and other former Islanders want to see their former franchise succeed. The 61-year-old spent 15 years on Long Island and was a key part of the Islanders' winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.

Tags: John Tavares
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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he is "wholly, fully, unequivocally supportive" of the Islanders' effort to land an arena deal at Belmont Park, according to Neil Best of Newsday. "I think it would be great," Bettman added. "I think it would be great for the Islanders. I think it would be great for the people of greater New York. I think it would be great for Long Island."

The Islanders submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park on Sept. 28.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bettman has always been publicly supportive of the Islanders staying in the New York area, preferably Long Island. Say what you want about the man, like him or hate him, he knows the business of running a professional sports league and he has seen the NHL grow in a market where it's not second fiddle, but fourth.

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 (Marc DesRosiers)
(Marc DesRosiers)

Another strong effort, another win at the beloved Barc…fun, right?

Garth Snow and Doug Weight's club has been a blast the first 24 games of the season. To the people who cover the league closely but the Islanders not closely enough, they are one of the surprise early hits of the season.

Like a lot of things when it comes to the Islanders, and this has almost always been the case throughout their history, it's like no one saw this coming.

Tags: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Chris Botta
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Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Nov 28, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Derrick Pouliot (5) gets a stick up on New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Islanders mounted a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period and tacked on two more later on en route to a 5-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Calvin De Haan, Jordan Eberle
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Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Apr 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders when they play the Canucks tonight at 7 p.m. at Barclays Center, head coach Doug Weight said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for the injured Casey Cizikas.

The defensive pairings will be the same as they were on Saturday in Ottawa. 

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak
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