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

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

The Islanders plan to submit a bid to build a new arena at Belmont Racetrack, NHL commissioner said Friday, according to Newsday.

Bettmann said the Islanders are reviewing their options, while noting the land near Citi Field could be another potential spot for a new arena.

He added that the recently renovated Nassau Coliseum is not a long-term option.

Read More

Brian Compton and Mike Carver are ready to wrap the season, and are joined by Islanders forward Anders Lee for a chat about all things Isles. Later, Brian and Mike do a deep dive into the official announcement that Doug Weight is the head coach, what needs to happen in the offseason, and the dirty pool which is more arena talk!

Click below to listen...

 

Tags: Anders Lee
Read More

Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans arrive before the start of the NHL game between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans arrive before the start of the NHL game between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

This summer stands to be one full of franchise-defining issues for the Islanders. In a series of roundtables, SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano will discuss these topics. Last week, the guys took on Garth Snow's fate and the possibility of a new team president. This week, it's the latest in talk of a new arena…

 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Read More

New York Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) guards his net against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)
New York Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) guards his net against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)

Jean-Francois Berube is not expected to return to the Islanders next season as he plans on testing free agency, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.

Berube started seven games for New York this past season, going 3-2-2 with an .889 save percentage and 3.42 GAA.

The Islanders already have goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss under contract next season.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
Read More

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images)

Islanders General Manager Garth Snow is likely not in danger of being fired, according to Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet.

"He is safer than many of us expected," Friedman said during Hockey Night in Canada. 

Read More

Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight talks to forward Andrew Ladd (16) during the time out against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight talks to forward Andrew Ladd (16) during the time out against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv: The NHL will conclude Game 2 of all first-round playoff series tonight as the Islanders begin their summer vacations after missing out on the tournament by one single point. A point that will lead to a summer that could be the most defining in franchise history.

One last time for 2016-17, I present my thoughts via the scratchpad. After writing plenty of wrap-up material this week, including my retrospective and what's next, in addition to friend and colleague Brian Erni and I discussing the future of Garth Snow, now it's my turn to sit back on the couch and appreciate the greatest game on its biggest stage.

You, the reader, are essential to the success of SNY's Islanders Point Blank. We thank you for staying with us throughout the season - visiting, reading and commenting. This job is thankless and unforgiving. At times, downright exhausting. But to know you're reaching a large contingent of passionate Islanders fans, feeding their hunger for information, makes it all worth it, whether you agree with us or not. 

Read More

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

This summer stands to be one full of franchise-defining issues for the Islanders. In a series of roundtables, SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano will discuss these topics. First up: Garth Snow's fate and the possibility of a new team president...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. We now know Doug Weight will be back, as he'll be the main man behind the bench, but what about Garth Snow? Are the Islanders going to bring in a team president, and if so, will Snow stay on in some capacity?

Read More

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

This spring will be the latest in a series that has tested the mettle of the Islanders from top down -- ownership, general manager, head coach and even players are not excluded from the exercise. The spring of 2017 could, however, prove to be the most challenging and defining of all.

We are officially at the end of year-one of the Jon Ledecky/Scott Malkin era of ownership, Garth Snow remains at the helm of hockey operations and Doug Weight, he of 40 games of NHL head coaching experience, was seemingly the only option in a summer that saw at least four others looking for work who had pedigree, and some even Stanley Cups, on their resume.

Read More

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

Latest Update (April 12)

8:00PM: The operators of Barclays Center are attempting to get the Islanders to return to Nassau Coliseum, according to a Newsday report

The offer to move the Islanders back to their former home would include adding seats to the building. 

Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders named Doug Weight head coach this morning, removing the interim tag from his name and assigning him the task of making it to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017-18 with a club that missed out by a single point this season.

GM Garth Snow, who looks to have retained his job for the upcoming season, joined Weight on a conference call announcing the move. And Snow addressed the three-headed goaltending drama that might have sunk the Islanders chances at competing for the ultimate prize a third straight season.

First,n Weight began by saying he thought long and hard about this decision over the past two days. And after discussing the matter with family and friends, came to a quick decision after being told he was the man, first and foremost, that management wanted to be the new bench boss.

Read More

 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

The Islanders have taken the interim tag off Doug Weight, naming him head coach on Wednesday.

"Doug has earned this opportunity from the tremendous work he has put in over the past five seasons in our front office and especially from the time he took over as interim Head Coach earlier this season," President and General Manager Garth Snow said in a release. "His leadership and experiences from both playing and behind the bench are valuable intangibles that not every coach can translate into a winning formula. He's gained the trust and respect from our entire team, making him the best choice to become Head Coach."

Weight guided the Isles to a 24-12-4 record after taking over this season for the fired Jack Capuano.

Read More

Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his game winning overtime goal with his teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Islanders defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Mar 14, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his game winning overtime goal with his teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Islanders defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders finished the 2016-17 season on a six-game winning streak, which included wins over four teams that did not advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the end, it wasn't enough to continue their modest two-season playoff streak.

An ugly first quarter, marked by questionable defensive coverage, poor transition play, a powerless play and questionable management decisions will have them watching 16 teams compete for the ultimate prize from their living rooms. The fact that their 94 points are just two shy of the NHL record for most while missing the postseason (2014-15 Bruins had 96, 2006-07 Avalanche and 2010-11 Stars had 95) is no consolation, especially to the captain.

"Overall, as a team, it's disappointing, not making the playoffs," John Tavares said. "There are so many games to look back on, the opportunities we let slip away, and that's definitely frustrating. In a sense, it's a step back. What did we have, 94 points? So, three wins off last year. But, it's such a fine line. We need to step back, reflect and prepare to get where we need to be."

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

The Islanders cleaned out their lockers and had their exit interviews on Monday.

Eliminated from playoff contention Saturday, the Isles wrapped up the 2016-17 campaign with a 4-2 win over the Senators on Sunday.

They finished 41-29-12 (94 points), one point behind the Maple Leafs, who snagged the second and final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin, Travis Hamonic
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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)

The Islanders missed the playoffs by one point, but could their 2016-2017 failure lead to bigger things in the future?

"That's the margin for error these days," Josh Bailey said. "There's so much parity now, all it takes is that one point. You sometimes don't think of it at the time necessarily, but those are the ones that get you in or keep you out."

"We're going home and we're packing up," Anders Lee, who scored his 34th goal of the season in Sunday's season finale, added. "Our season is over without a chance to continue. It's a bitter feeling."

Though the disappointment stings, interim coach Doug Weight said he believes that this near-miss doesn't change the positive path the organization is on.

Tags: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey
Read More

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Doug Weight is still unsure whether he wants a career in coaching, but it sure looks like he's the perfect fit for this Islanders club.

The Isles went 24-12-4 during Weight's interim tenure, and the former NHL All-Star seemed to have earned the respect of the locker room over that stretch.

"His communication and his leadership were followed. The guys want to play for him," Anders Lee said of the coach. "Dougie came in and really changed the mindset of the team. He's got a bright future in coaching. If he wants to do it, he'll be successful."

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss defends the goal against Ottawa Senators center Christopher DiDomenico in the first period at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss defends the goal against Ottawa Senators center Christopher DiDomenico in the first period at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Sunday at Barclays Center in their season finale. >> Read more


First period:

  • 3:23 NYI Andrew Ladd; Assists: Alan Quine, Johnny Boychuk

Second period:

  • 8:17 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson
  • 13:52 NYI Brock Nelson; Assists: Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield
  • 18:54 OTT Bobby Ryan; Assist: Ryan Dzingel

Third period:

  • 2:34 OTT Jean-Gabriel Pageau; Assists: Alexandre Burrows, Chris Neil
  • 18:52 NYI Jason Chimera (ENG); Assists: Nelson, Leddy
Tags: Alain Quine, Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Jason Chimera, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ottawa Senators
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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)

The Islanders briefly maintained their playoff chances with a win over the Devils on Saturday, but were later eliminated when the Maple Leafs defeated the Penguins and clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Islanders will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

The Islanders will wrap up their season on Sunday when they will host the Ottawa Senators at The Barclays Center.

Read More

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

Anders Lee scored two goals and Jaroslav Halak saved 37 shots as the Islanders beat the Devils on Saturday at the Prudential Center. >> Read more


First period

No goals

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New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) and New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders and Devils play each other for the final time this season at 6 p.m. at the Prudential Center. 

According to STATS: 

  • The Islanders beat the Hurricanes, 3-0, at PNC Arena on Thursday night, keeping their slim postseason hopes alive in the process. New York has won four straight games -- its longest win streak of the 2016-17 campaign.
  • New Jersey lost, 7-4, to Pittsburgh at Prudential Center on Thursday night, dropping to 1-5-2 in the last eight games overall. The seven goals scored by the Pens were the most allowed by the Devils in any game this season.
Read More

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)

In what has been a common second half occurrence, Andrew Ladd found the back of the net again on Thursday to help the Islanders walk out of Carolina with two huge points.

With the Islanders already leading 2-0 and New York on the power play to start the second period, Ladd took a pass from Josh Bailey, ripped a wrister, and beat Eddie Lack for his 22nd goal of the season.

"We tried to stick with it, especially losing the personnel that we've lost," Ladd told reporters after the game. "We had guys step in and I think we've simplified our game a little bit."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
Read More

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

The Islanders need wins in their final two games and some help to reach their third straight postseason.

To qualify for the final Wild Card spot, the Islanders need all four points in their final two games, and need the Maple Leafs to get no more than one point over the course of their last two. The Islanders visit New Jersey on Saturday and host the Senators on Sunday. Toronto will host the Penguins on Saturday and the Blue Jackets on Sunday.

"I think it's a credit to the guys in the locker room," Anders Lee said of the Isles' run to the final spot. "We are a resilient group and we've fought out of a lot of stuff this year and we're not going to go down easy."

Tags: Anders Lee
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Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) and New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) celebrate after the victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)
Apr 6, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Islanders defensemen Nick Leddy (2) and New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) celebrate after the victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Islanders defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

Jaroslav Halak had 29 saves to lead the Islanders in a 3-0 shutout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at PNC Arena. >> Read more


First Period

1:27 NYI Brock Nelson

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Brian Compton and Mike Carver discuss John Tavares' hamstring injury, Jaroslav Halak's resurgence, and the team's knack for coming up small in certain games. Later, the TV voice of the Isles, Brendan Burke, calls into the show to give his take on Josh Ho-Sang, the goaltending drama, and the future of Doug Weight.

Click below to listen!

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Islanders prospect Devon Toews of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers has been named to the 2016-17 AHL All-Rookie Team, it was announced Thursday.

Toews, a defenseman who has played in 71 games this season, leads all AHL rookies with 37 assists. 

He was selected by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Tags: Nick Leddy
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 (AP)
(AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Matt Moulson wants hospitalized Buffalo Sabres teammate Kyle Okposo to know he has the team's support.

"You're family here," Moulson said after the Sabres closed their home schedule with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. "And no matter what type of injury or what you have, you always feel for them and their family and giving them support."

Okposo has spent the past three days in a Buffalo hospital undergoing a battery of tests to determine an undisclosed illness that has sidelined him for more than a week.

Tags: Kyle Okposo
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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)

Jaroslav Halak has been red hot since rejoining the Islanders for the stretch run.

Halak made 22 of 23 saves in the Isles' overtime win, his fourth victory since March 24.

"Obviously, I'm happy that I'm playing right now," Halak told reporters after the game.

Halak even got on the score sheet, as he assisted on Thomas Hickey's game winner.  

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) after scoring a goal during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel)
New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) after scoring a goal during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Brock Nelson broke out of a cold streak and scored a clutch third period goal in the Islanders' 2-1 overtime victory in Nashville.

A minute-and-a-half into the third period, with New York trailing 1-0, Nelson ripped a wrist shot past Pekka Rinne for his18th goal of the season.

For Nelson, the goal was his first since March 24, a stretch of five games without a goal, and just his second in his last 11 games.

Tags: Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome
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Apr 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-0.  (Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))
Apr 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-0. (Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))

Recap

Thomas Hickey scored 1:25 into overtime, and the New York Islanders beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Tuesday night to preserve their thin playoff hopes for at least another game.

Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders, and goalie Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves as they won their third straight in chasing the Eastern Conference's second wild card.

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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)

Anders Lee scored twice in the third period to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at KeyBank Center. >> Read more


First period:

  • 9:31 NYI Cal Clutterbuck; Assist: Nick Leddy

Second period:

  • 10:08 BUF Evander Kane; Assist: C.J. Smith
  • 11:04 NYI Joshua Ho-Sang; Assist: Dennis Seidenberg

Third period:

  • 5:17 BUF Zemgus Girgensons; Assists: Matt Moulson, William Carrier
  • 9:19 NYI Anders Lee
  • 14:33 NYI Lee
Tags: Anders Lee, Cal Clutterbuck, Nick Leddy, Buffalo Sabres
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New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)
New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight on his bench against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

Barring a miraculous event of biblical proportions, this will be the final week of the New York Islanders 2016-17 season.

They currently trail the Boston Bruins by six points with a game in hand but only five games remaining. Since it's now impossible to catch the Bs in regulation wins (40-34), that deficit is seven points. That would mean picking up 70% of remaining possible points with the Bruins picking up zero points in their final four games.

I don't need to tell you that's very….very….very unlikely. 

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The Islanders' Thomas Hickey, left, and center John Tavares show their frustration during Thursday's home loss to Winnipeg. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
The Islanders' Thomas Hickey, left, and center John Tavares show their frustration during Thursday's home loss to Winnipeg. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

In what has been a difficult season and with time running out, the New York Islanders will have to get around a roadblock at the worst possible time in a last-ditch effort to secure a playoff spot.

With leading scorer and captain John Tavares out for the foreseeable future, the Islanders open a four-game road trip Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

While still mathematically in the mix, the Islanders' chances of a third straight playoff appearance are slim. New York (36-29-12) and Carolina trail Boston by six points for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Islanders and Hurricanes each have five games remaining and the Bruins have four.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders said Saturday captain John Tavares is "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury sustained late in the Islanders' 2-1 victory over the Devils Friday.

That likely means he is out for the remainder of the regular season as the Islanders try to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Islanders are four points behind the Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with five games to play.

Tavares, who has 66 points this season, had to be helped off the ice with 3:14 remaining iafter getting tangled up with the back of the net and a Devils player. Tavares was clutching the back of his left leg in the hamstring area.

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

Recap

Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier scored to help the New York Islanders preserve their slim playoff chances with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots as the Islanders pulled four points behind Boston for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. New York won at home for the first time since beating the Devils here on Feb. 19, going 0-4-1 at Barclays Center in between.

Tags: Anders Lee
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 (John E. Sokolowski (USA Today))
(John E. Sokolowski (USA Today))

Reports have started to indicate that John Tavares wants to have his mind made up about what to do about his next contract this summer. Have the Islanders given him enough reason to stay? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. Lots of John Tavares murmuring of late, with the Canadian media luminaries (like Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger) alluding to the idea that JT wants to have his mind made up on a course of action by June. Where do you think things stand at this very moment?

Tags: John Tavares, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic did not return to the game against the Flyers after suffering an upper-body injury in the first period. The 26-year-old dropped the gloves and fought Philadelphia's Dale Weise in the opening period.

Hamonic was seen following the Islanders' loss with a cast on his left hand.

The 26-year-old has tallied three goals and 11 assists in 48 games this season.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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