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

New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire)
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension...

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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Mar 2, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates in his first career NHL game during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Mar 2, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates in his first career NHL game during the second period against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Islanders RW Josh Ho-Sang feels the media is trying to draw C John Tavares to Toronto, but he doesn't think his teammate is paying much attention to the noise. 

Tavares, who has one year remaining on his contract, has yet to receive an extension on his deal despite the Islanders saying he is the face of the franchise. Because of this, the 26-year-old has drawn speculation as to where he might land if he hits the open market.

The Maple Leafs are one of those teams, but Ho-Sang can't see Tavares even thinking about going to Toronto. Instead, he believes the media wants him up there. 

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
Read More

 (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.

Tags: Nikolay Kulemin, Andy Graziano
Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders' future at Barclays Center is unclear, but it looks like the arena may have scored some points in creating a better experience for hockey fans, according to J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power Fan Experience Study measured customer satisfaction of the major pro sports teams in four major markets across seven factors (in order of importance): seating area and game experience; security and ushers; leaving the game; arriving at the game; food and beverage; ticket purchase; and souvenirs and merchandise. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Andy Graziano: SNY.TV: 

For all the griping, some right and some wrong, it seems as if Barclays Center actually held up their end of the bargain in 2016-17, improving the fan experience as they said they would, according to... the fans themselves.

Read More

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

Barclays Center owner Mikhail Prokhorov would like the Islanders to play a large portion of their games at the renovated Nassau Coliseum for the 2018-19 season, reports Josh Kosman of the New York Post

According to the report, Prokhorov has about $165 million invested in the Coliseum as both Barclays Center and the Islanders continue to work on a new lease. Either side can opt out of the current lease in January. 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

The story that just won't go away continues to dominate the headlines for the New York Islanders this summer. And there's no reason it shouldn't, as there is some belief it is directly tied to the fact captain John Tavares remains unsigned with unrestricted free agency looming next summer.

Read More

 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Islanders captain John Tavares is not in a rush to sign an extension with the team, he told Newsday's Art Staple on Wednesday.

"For me, there's really no rush," Tavares said. "I'm trying to determine things, let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal and it's been good so far … In terms of signing a new contract, there's a lot that goes into it. To really dive into all the details, get into all the conversations I've had with Garth [Snow], the team and Doug [Weight], I don't think it's productive to the situation and the negotiating. I prefer to keep it all internal, that's the best way to keep it all open, honest and healthy."

Tavares recently said he's had "great open communication" with the team regarding a potential contrtact extension.

Tags: John Tavares
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Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Shane Prince (11) controls the puck in the first period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Nov 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; New York Islanders center Shane Prince (11) controls the puck in the first period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

The Islanders announced that F Shane Prince had ankle surgery and will be out 4-6 months.

As the press release mentions, Prince was battling a high ankle sprain at the end of last season. After rehabbing on his own, he felt more discomfort and alerted the Islanders' medical staff.

They tried to further rehab the injury, but they found it in Prince's best interest to have surgery. He received the surgery, and is doing well. 

Tags: Shane Prince
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New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee with the puck as Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel pursues during the first period at KeyBank Center. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee with the puck as Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel pursues during the first period at KeyBank Center. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.
 

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September.

Read More

New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point. 

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) celebrates his first period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) celebrates his first period goal against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV: 

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. 

Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.

66|Josh Ho-Sang|C/RW 

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Feb 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Stephen Gionta (24) skates against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Feb 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Stephen Gionta (24) skates against the Colorado Avalanche during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders announced they signed F Stephen Gionta to a one-year, two-way contract.

Newsday's Arthur Staple reports the contract is worth $650,000 for his time in the NHL, and $225,000 for AHL time. 

The 33-year-old played in 26 games have the Islanders last season where he notched one goal and five assists. He also played seven games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders AHL affiliate, talling one goal and two assists. 

Tags: Stephen Gionta
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New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Brock Nelson (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point. 

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Brian Erni
Read More

Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) reacts after scoring a short handed goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 19, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) reacts after scoring a short handed goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan told NHL.com's Jon Lane that he believes John Tavares will remain with the Islanders after his current contract expires. 

"He's not a guy to beat around the bush with those kinds of things," de Haan said of Tavares. "He's straightforward about things like that and there's no reason why he should lie about things like that. At the end of the day it's going to be his decision but I don't see him leaving, personally. It's good he's mentioned it a few times over the course of the summer." 

Tags: Calvin De Haan, John Tavares
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

 

Tags: Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have signed D Calvin de Haan to a one-year, $3.3 million contract just before his arbitration hearing, per NHL Network's Mike Kelly. 

de Haan was one of 30 NHL players to file for arbitration by the July 5 deadline. The two sides have been in contract talks since he completed his three-year, $5.9 million deal. 

"Calvin is a home-grown product of the organizatino and has developed into one of our top defenseman during his time with the organization," Islanders president and GM Garth Snow said in the Islanders press release. "He plays important minutes for our club and we're excited to have him back for one more year."

Tags: Calvin De Haan
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 (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders captain John Tavares said he's had "great open communication" with the team regarding a potential contrtact extension.

"It's obviously a great place to play, I've enjoyed my time being an Islander and I want that experience to continue," Tavares told TSN. "For me, I just want to get ready for the upcoming season and work on being the best player I can be for the Islanders."

Tavares is reportedly still not ready to commit to the Islanders, Art Staple of Newsday reported last month.

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

New York state officials have released a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the 43 vacant acres at Belmont Park in Elmont.

The Islanders, who can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January, are expected to be a bidder.

Newsday's Jim Baumbach reported in February that the team is working with Oak View Group, a sports arena development company backed by Madison Square Garden, on their proposal. Now, Robert Brodsky reports the group already has rendering of a potential arena in anticipation of the team's bid.

Read More

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders have not had an arbitration case that actually went to the independent decision maker in some time. I'm not sure many can even remember the last time it happened.

The one that sticks out in my head, and maybe the only one, is Mike Milbury and Tommy Salo in 1997. The Lubomir Visnovsky case does not qualify, as that decided the status of the defenseman's contract clause, rather than salary.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Andy Graziano
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 (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Tags: Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey
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 (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
(Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have signed Connor Jones to a one-year, two-way deal, the team announced Thursday.

Jones, 26, made his NHL debut with the Islanders last April 2.

The Islanders had made Jones a qualifying offer on June 26 in order to retain negotiating rights.

Read More

 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: John Tavares
Read More

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

The Islanders have agreed with Adam Pelech on a four-year contract, the team announced Monday.

Pelech's new deal is worth $1.6 million per year, reports Art Staple of Newsday.

"Adam has proven at a very young age that he's capable of playing an important defensive role on our team," Islanders President and GM Garth Snow said in a press release. "He will be an important piece of our defensive core moving forward and I'm excited to watch him continue to develop at the NHL level."

The Islanders had extended a qualifying offer to Pelech on June 26 in order to retain negotiating rights.

Read More

 (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

While forward John Tavares is willing to wait on signing a contract extension with the New York Islanders, people around the league believe the franchise is right to be patient with him, according to the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis.

Tavares, 26, has one year and a $5.5 million cap hit and has been eligible to sign a contract extension since July 1, however the former No. 1 pick has not yet signed a long-term deal.

People around the league, according to Cyrgalis, believe the Islanders are right not to panic in this situation. Tavares reportedly prefers to stay with the Islanders, however several other teams could pursue him if he tests the open market. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018. 

Tavares recorded 28 goals and 38 assists in 77 games for the Islanders last season. He underwent surgery on his hand in April and is expected to be fully ready for the 2017-18 season.

Tags: John Tavares
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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)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares
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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders announced they promoted Greg Cronin to associate coach. 

Cronin had served as an assistant coach with the Isles for the past three seasons. He also served as an assistant coach from 1998-2003 before taking over as head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders affiliate, from 2003-2005.

Before his reunion with the Islanders in 2014, Cronin was an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs. He helped lead the Leafs to the playoffsf during the 2013-14 season. 

Cronin also has international experience, serving as an assistant coach for Team USA at the World Hockey Championsihops in 2011 and 2012. 

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Islanders captain John Tavares is reportedly still not ready to commit to the Islanders, Art Staple of Newsday reported earlier this month.

To that end, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet notes:

"I've said a million times that I believe John Tavares's first choice is to stay with the Islanders. But, if he does decide to leave, why do I have visions of him taking less money to play in Tampa Bay?"

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Brian Erni
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

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

Goalie Christopher Gibson and the New York Islanders agreed to a one-year, two-way deal, the team announced Friday.

Gibson, 24, played four games with the Islanders in the 2015-16 season, going 1-1-1 with 11 goals allowed, an .882 save percentage and a 3.40 goals against average.

Last season, he played seven games for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers, giving up 16 goals and recording a .912 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Nassau and Suffolk legislatures will host a bicounty news conference Friday to urge the Islanders to return to Nassau Coliseum, according to Newsday's Robert Brodsky and Jim Baumbach. 

Nassau legislature wrote to Islanders' owners Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin saying "give the idea of returning the team to its true home every consideration possible." Nassau Events Center put $165 million into the Coliseum to increase its capacity to host an NHL team. 

"We have been assured by NEC that they are very willing to make necessary modifications to accommodate an NHL team," the Nassau letter read. 

There has been opposition to the Islanders potential return as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said "we do not view Nassau Coliseum as a suitable option for the Islanders." Experts say that the Coliseum would also need to add luxury suites, and increase the size of the locker room to go along with adding seats. 

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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I continue our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Tags: Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

The Islanders are hiring another former teammate of head coach Doug Weight in Kelly Buchberger, the team announced Tuesday.

Buchberger served as head of player personnel for the Oilers last season. He was also an assistant coach for the team for six years. 

This is the second ex-teammate Weight has brought in from his days with the Oilers. Luke Richardson, who has been head coach of AHL Binghamton for the past four years, was also hired.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Islanders have announced they agreed to a two-way contract with G Krister Gudlevskis. 

The deal is one year, worth $650K/$200K depending on which league he is playing in. The Islanders acquired Gudlevskis in a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning who received F Carter Verhaeghe.

Drafted by the Lightning in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Gudlevskis has played in three NHL games, earning a 1-0-1 recorded with a .959 save percentage. He was also selected to the AHL All-Star Game during the 2015-16 season.

Gudlevskis went 15-10-7-4 (W-L-OTL-SOL) last season with the Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning's AHL affiliate. He posted a 2.65 goals-against average and .897 save percentage for the year. 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders have hired Fred Brathwaite as their goalie coach, the team announced Monday.

Brathwaite replaces Mike Dunham. who had been part of the organization for 11 years.

"Fred's experiences at just about every level of hockey make him a tremendous addition to our hockey club," Islanders coach Doug Weight said in a statement. "Not only has he had a solid NHL career, but he's also worked with some of the top net-minder's coming out of Hockey Canada. He's ready for this next step and we look forward to him working with our organization's goalies."

Brathwaite, 44, played in the NHL from 1993 to 2004, with stints with the Oilers, Flames, Blues, and Blue Jackets.

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 (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
(Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

Islanders captain John Tavares could've signed an extension with the Islanders at noon on Saturday when free agency began, but he is not yet ready to commit, reports Art Staple of Newsday.

The eight-year, $106 million deal Connor McDavid is reportedly close to signing with the Oilers is one of the factors delaying a resolution between the Islanders and Tavares.

"With all the leverage in any negotiations with the Islanders, given how clearly the team has made it that they want Tavares locked up, an eight-year deal worth between $10-11 million per year always seemed like the end result." writes Staple. 

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Nick Leddy, Brian Erni
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan filed for arbitration on Wednesday, the NHLPA announced. 

Newsday's Arthur Staple reports the Islanders and de Haan are having discussions about a new deal. 

Tags: Calvin De Haan
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New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) takes the puck from Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) takes the puck from Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Brian Erni and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 New York Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September 2017. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward and oh, yeah, that pesky John Tavares extension.

Tags: Casey Cizikas
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver bid farewell in the final Point Blank Podcast. The guys look back at a wild week in Islanders Country, discussing the Jordan Eberle-Ryan Strome deal, the rumors surrounding Matt Duchene, Travis Hamonic's trade to Calgary, and the expansion draft deal to protect the team's forwards.

Click below to listen

 

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

Goaltender Ilya Sorokin has signed a three-year extension to remain with CSKA Moscow in the KHL, reports Russian hockey reporter Tomas Vorcak

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

A relatively low-risk gamble by Garth Snow doesn't appear to be working out as originally planned, as Sorokin, in what seems to be a money grab, decides to extend his KHL contract by three years.

Already signed for 2018 anyway, and with no current NHL-KHL transfer agreement in place, it seems that it will be some time, if ever, Islanders fans can see if the hype was real with what was assumed to be the goaltender of the future. Trade value, at this point, is lowered as well.

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Seth Helgeson (25) awaits start of the play against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Arena.The Vancouver Canucks won 2-0. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Seth Helgeson (25) awaits start of the play against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Arena.The Vancouver Canucks won 2-0. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have agreed to terms with defensemen Seth Helgeson and Kane Lafranchise on one-year, two way deals. 

Helgeson, 26, will make $650,000 in the NHL and $250,000 in the AHL, with $275,000 being guaranteed, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. He had one goal and a plus-two rating with the Devils last season. He has four points and 50 penalty minutes in 50 career NHL games. 

A fourth-round pick by the Devils in 2009, Helgeson has 38 career points in 218 AHL games.

Lafranchise tallied five goals and 16 assists with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season. In 171 AHL games, he has recorded 59 points. 

Tags: Seth Helgeson

Kristers Gudlevskis (50) works out prior to game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Kristers Gudlevskis (50) works out prior to game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have acquired goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Carter Verhaeghe. 

Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning
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Washington Capitals forward Justin Williams (14) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. (John E. Sokolowski)
Washington Capitals forward Justin Williams (14) carries the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. (John E. Sokolowski)

Forward Justin Williams has signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced.

The Islanders had reached out to Williams, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Read More

GEICO SportsNite: Isles practice 00:00:44
The New York Islanders held a scrimmage and skills competition at their mini-camp on Thursday.

New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)
New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Brian Erni and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.

We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.

Tags: Jason Chimera, Andy Graziano
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 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

The Islanders and Avalanche have not been close to a deal for C Matt Duchene, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. 

Staple believes that the deal would have been completed if the offer had been closer. Islanders GM Garth Snow had an offer with D Travis Hamonic, the team's 2018 first-round pick, and a prospect on the table. However, Snow would not include 20-year-old center Mathew Barzal in the deal. 

At the June 23 NHL Draft, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said he didn't like any of the deals offered for Duchene.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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GEICO SportsNite: Isles camp 00:00:44
Josh Ho-Sang talks to the media about his desire to show the Isles that he can make an impact, and Doug Weight calls him a special player.