After getting off to a solid 10-4 start to the year, the Sound Tigers hit a snag this past weekend as they lost all three of their games in regulation. It's not good but it's nothing to indicate the sky is falling either. They're still 10-7 and in second place in the division with a whole lot of hockey ahead of them (imagine that, lots of hockey left to be played).

One of the things the Sound Tigers have really seemed to have trouble with this year is road games. Of course most teams won't play as well away from home, but the Sound Tigers seem to have some extra issues. They're 5-5 on the road this year, compared to 5-2 at home, and have now had a bunch of blowout losses on the road. Four of those five road losses were by three goals or more and the one that wasn't was controlled by the opposition for the first two periods.

Young teams have kinks to work out, and one of this team's kinks sure seems to be getting up to play on the road. After a five-day layoff, the Sound Tigers head to Hershey on Friday. Let's see if they can come up with a better effort on the road this weekend.

Wednesday: ADK 5, BPT 1Like the Sound Tigers, there are some top prospects on the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers farm team. The lockout version of the Phantoms features two top picks in Sean Couturier (8th in '11) and Brayden Schenn (5th in '09). Schenn ended up with a goal and two assists in this game, helping his team to a decisive win.

To Mike Fornabaio and Coach Pellerin, the game was reminiscent to last Friday in Wilkes-Barre and losses earlier in the year in Worcester:

The way Scott Pellerin described this one, I had to ask him: Wilkes-Barre all over again? “It was very similar, to be honest,” he said. “Very similar to the two games we played in Worcester and the game in Wilkes. It’s something I’m not happy with at all, the way we played for two periods.” Not physical enough, not competitive enough. He wasn’t going to criticize Brown and Koharski, but he called some of the penalties “uncharacteristic,”

The games in Worcester Pellerin is referring to were 5-2 and 5-1 losses. The games all obviously are similar in score and, I'm reading between the lines, somewhat similar in lack of effort or execution from the team.

Friday: CT 7, BPT 5Yup, there were 12 goals in this game and both teams blew two goals leads before it was over. To add to that, fans got their money's worth with a couple of fights.

Connecticut scored two to open the game, followed by a barrage from Bridgeport that saw the Sound Tigers lead 5-3 early in the third. The game would end with four straight Whale goals. three straight Whale goals plus an empty netter to make it 7-5.

The Trio of Swedes -- Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, and David Ullstrom -- carried the scoring for the Sound Tigers in this game. They factored into four of the five Sound Tiger goals and each had a multi-point night. Sundstrom leads the trio with 11 points in 17 games, Ullstrom has nine in 12 and Persson seven in 17.

Pro Hockey Talk also quickly caught up with Travis Hamonic, on the topic of AHL rivalries as the CT Whale are the Rangers' farm team.

“We play ‘em lots, we see ‘em lots. We know what they’re all about and since they’re so close as well, about a 30-minute drive, it’s almost like you’re playing a home game.”

For a guy like Travis Hamonic, playing with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, matching up against forward talent like that presents him with his own set of challenges.

“I like it, I really enjoy it,” Hamonic says of facing other NHL guys there. “Those are good young players that are in the same situation I’m in. It seems like every team’s got a few of those guys so for me I enjoy it. Those are guys I play against on a regular basis so it’s nice to be able to compete against them.”

Saturday: BNG 6, BPT 1On Saturday night in Binghamton, the Sound Tigers turned in what sounds like another clunker on the road. The Senators took the game 6-1 and poured on 44 shots (the two teams combined for eighty shots), bouncing Kevin Poulin in the second period after four goals.

Tags: News, Editorial Aside, Sound Tigers

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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

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

Doug Weight will serve as interim head coach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Period

Third Period


Recap

Tags: Anders Lee, Boston Bruins, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, Josh Bailey, Nikolay Kulemin, Thomas Greiss
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Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Ah, the adventure that is Joshua Ho-Sang continues in Bridgeport. After his much publicized incident in Islanders training camp when he overslept, leading to an unscheduled training session on the steps of Nassau Coliseum and a ticket home, it seemed Ho-Sang had gotten his act together and came in this year with renewed vigor and a willingness to prove his detractors wrong.

It doesn't appear to be working, as all Ho-Sang has done is give those who spoke out against his character more ammunition. A season that has seen him shoot too little (37 in 30 games) and defend with the enthusiasm of a Star Trek fan having to watch all the Star Wars films, his latest episode deals with that pesky detail of showing up on time for a game.

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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

With the Islanders struggling to get out of the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings, Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes the Islanders and GM Garth Snow should look toward acquiring Avalanche forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene to play alongside John Tavares.

Part of this trade, Brooks writes, should include defenseman Nick Leddy. Leddy fits the criteria of a top-four defenseman that Colorado is seeking and does not have a large cap hit that would slow down trade talks.

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Islanders center John Tavares scored two goals Saturday. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Islanders center John Tavares scored two goals Saturday. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina scored three unanswered goals to close out the second period and three more in the third in a 7-4 win over the Islanders Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.  

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 (James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)
(James Guillory/USA Today Sports Images)

The Islanders visit Carolina Saturday a night after scoring five goals in a win at Florida.

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Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders laid an egg on Wednesday in Brooklyn, losing to the Florida Panthers, 2-1, in a totally uninspired effort. Last night, they took the rematch in Sunrise, 5-2, led by John Tavares' hat trick. 

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders' 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Friday night was their best game of the season, a reprieve in a campaign that has been full of let downs.

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 (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders captain John Tavares pushed his career point total over 500 with his sixth career hat trick in New York's win over the Panthers on Friday night. 

Coming into the game with 498 career points, Tavares tallied one goal in the first period and two in the third to finish the day at 501 points, good for 10th on the Islanders' all-time list. 

Tags: John Tavares
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 (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period

  • 2:22 NYI Jason Chimera; Assist: Anthony Beauvillier
  • 3:48 NYI John Tavares; Assists: Nick Leddy, Josh Bailey
  • 9:55 FLA Vincent Trocheck; Assists: Jaromir Jagr, Keith Yandle
Tags: Florida Panthers
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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55). (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders take on the Panthers in the back end of their home-and-home series on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. 

According to STATS...

  • The Islanders lost, 2-1, to the Panthers on Wednesday night at Barclays Center, dropping their third straight tilt while scoring exactly one goal in each setback. The last time New York scored one goal or fewer in four consecutive games was in 2014-15 (March 10-17).
  • Florida has won two straight and three of its last four tilts, allowing one goal or fewer in each of the victories. The Panthers have six wins when lighting the lamp two or fewer times in 2016-17 -- tied for third most in the Eastern Conference.
Tags: Florida Panthers
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 (Brad Penner - USA Today)
(Brad Penner - USA Today)

Thomas Greiss will be in net Friday night against the Panthers, head coach Jack Capuano said.

Anthony Beauvillier will be in for Shane Prince and the Islanders will also roll out two new lines.

Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, and Ryan Strome will skate on one of the new lines, with Alan Quine, Beauvillier, and Jason Chimera on the other.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Brock Nelson, Jason Chimera, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV

Snap your fingers…go ahead, just do it.

Just like that, the Islanders went from a team that won four of five and looked to be righting their wobbly, patchwork ship to set sail toward at least getting back in the playoff conversation, to a team that has now lost four of their last five, including back-to-back loser point 'efforts' in Colorado and Arizona -- the two easiest buildings of 2016-17 to win in.

Tags: Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Stephen Gionta, Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano
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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The Islanders have placed D Travis Hamonic on IR (retroactive to Jan. 7) due to a lower-body injury.

Scott Mayfield has been recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL to take Hamonic's place on the roster.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Wednesday that Hamonic was expected to miss "a couple of games."

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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 (Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Images)
(Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Jiggs McDonald, former lead play-by-play man for the Islanders, called Wednesday night's game against the Panthers on MSG Plus and was honored by the team in a pregame ceremony for his 50 years of NHL broadcasts.  

McDonald started with the Islanders in 1980 and was the team's primary TV voice for 15 seasons. 

On Wednesday before the start of the first period, McDonald was honored a bronze microphone, a customized jersey and he dropped the ceremonial first puck. 

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Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Alan Quine (10) and Florida Panthers right wing Paul Thompson (15) come together at the boards during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

  • 5:47 FLA Keith Yandle; Assists: Vincent Trocheck, Jared McCann
  • 10:47 NYI Nick Leddy; Assists: Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck

Second Period 

  • 1:09 FLA Jason Demers; Assists: Jonathan Marchessault, Jussi Jokinen

Recap: NEW YORK (AP) Jason Demers scored the tiebreaking goal early in the second period, Roberto Luongo stopped 29 shots and the Florida Panthers held on for a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.


Next Game: The Islanders finish off a home-and-home series with the Panthers on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the BB&T Center. 

Tags: Florida Panthers

New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) sets up in front of the Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Andy Marlin)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) sets up in front of the Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Andy Marlin)

The Islanders take on the Panthers in a rematch of last year's first-round playoff matchup at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. 

According to STATS...

  • The Panthers beat the Devils, 3-0, at Prudential Center on Monday night, winning their season-high third straight road game by a combined score of 9-2. Monday night's shutout was Florida's first in the last 77 games (dating to January 23 last season).
  • New York lost, 2-1, in a shootout with the Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday night, garnering a point in its third straight tilt, and for the sixth time in the last seven games overall (4-1-2 record). The Islanders have eight overtime/shootout losses in 2016-17 -- tied for second most in hockey.
Tags: Florida Panthers
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 (Sergei Belski)
(Sergei Belski)

The Colorado Avalanche are shopping their top offensive stars, but they have a steep asking price. Should the Islanders engage? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss… 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

The Avalanche are seeking a "top-level" defenseman, a first round pick, and more in a deal for Gabriel Landeskog, according to TSN's Darren Dreger. Andy, have you heard if the Isles have had any talks with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic on Landsekog?

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Dec 29, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Islanders 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV: 

The Islanders are guilty of a crime. The charge: The misuse of Anthony Beauvillier.

Once again, Beauvillier will sit and watch from afar, as Jack Capuano announced he'd be sticking with the same lineup for Wednesday's game against the Panthers. Beauvillier has not played a game since the calendar turned to 2017, and has appeared in 26 of the team's 38 games (68 percent).

What is this organization thinking? That's the line that keeps racing through my head, along with others that are littered with words that SNY probably wouldn't take too kindly to be dropping in this space. What is the point of carrying the 19-year-old for an entire season, burning a year of his entry-level contract in the process, to have him watch from the press box

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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

Travis Hamonic will miss "a couple of games" due to his lower-body injury, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Thomas Greiss will be in net when the Isles face the Panthers.

Hamonic played in the Islanders' 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, but he missed Monday's practice with a

Tags: Thomas Greiss, Travis Hamonic
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver are at a loss for words (not really) after two more losses -- this time to the league's two worst teams. The guys talk about John Tavares' All-Star Game selection and the team's plan for the trade deadline. Later, former Islander goaltender Jamie McLennan calls in to explain why JT won't end up in Toronto and what Garth Snow did wrong last offseason.

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas after scoring during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Barclays Center. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

Andy Graziano, SNY.tv

The New York Islanders believe a turnaround to their season has to "start now" as they sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

Speaking to News 12 Long Island on Monday, via Newsday, the Islanders believe there is a lot of hockey to be played, however as they rank 28th in the league, it is likely too late. That said, the players' expected "never-say-die" attitude is admirable.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Andy Graziano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Travis Hamonic is day-to-day due to a lower-body injury and will likely not play Wednesday night, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Tuesday.

Adam Pelech, who was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Jan. 5, "is going to get a chance," according to Capuano.

Pelech had been activated off injured reserve and loaned to Bridgeport late last month.

Tags: Travis Hamonic
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 (Russell LaBounty)
(Russell LaBounty)

Islanders forward John Tavares will represent New York at the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 at the Staples Center.

Tavares, 26, leads the Islanders with 27 points, while his 11 goals and 16 assists rank second on the team.

Tavares will make his fourth All-Star game appearance, having been selected to the game in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Bailey
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

Islanders captain John Tavares, who can become a free agent after next season, reiterated how much he wants to have success with the team.

"I think for myself, I've always shown and talked about my commitment here,'' Tavares said Monday, according to Steven Marcus of Newsday. "Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we've done. Obviously, this [low] point's been disappointing.''

What Tavares said Monday was similar to what he said on Dec. 8 during an interview with Joe and Evan of WFAN.

"Yes, I'd like to be, for sure," he said at the time about remaining with the Islanders long-term. "I try to not think about it a whole lot. Obviously, I'm getting closer to the end of this contract but I've always stated how much I love being in New York and being an Islander, how well people have treated me here and the organization as a whole...

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

What will the Islanders trade deadline strategy be? It's anyone's guess, but ESPN's Craig Custance suggests GM Garth Snow should entertain being an aggressive buyer.

In his Eastern Conference trade season preview, Custance says that, while he would normally advise teams as out of it as the Islanders are to sell off some useful parts (Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan are two pieces he mentions by name), he thinks the John Tavares situation complicates matters.

"If the Islanders start selling off parts and continue the slide backwards, it gives Tavares little reason to commit long-term, even for someone who has been as loyal as Tavares has been to the team that drafted him," he writes. "Keeping Tavares has to be the priority, and Snow has to give him a reason to stay. Instead of selling, the better strategy would be to aggressively pursue another cornerstone to add to Tavares long term."

Tags: Calvin De Haan, John Tavares, Thomas Hickey, Brian Erni
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

The days of the Islanders' black-and-white third jersey appear to be numbered.

NHL teams will not have alternate jerseys in 2017-18 in order to ensure a smooth transition for Adidas, who is taking over as the league's uniform supplier next season, according to a report in the Minnesota Star Tribune that was later confirmed by Sportslogo.net's Chris Creamer. 

Newsday's Art Staple said a source has told him this will indeed be the last season for the current third jersey. The traditional blue and orange sweater will remain the primary home uniform

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) battle for control of the puck in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) battle for control of the puck in the first period at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV: 

If you looked at the standings, coupled with the Islanders hot streak just before the new year, and convinced yourself that the Isles could make one last-ditch effort at the playoffs, New York went and stomped out that flame of optimism before the embers could even truly get burning.

One goal on Friday in Colorado, one on Saturday in Arizona. Two of the worst teams in the NHL, and the Islanders couldn't mount more than a goal a game. Absolutely brutal.

There's no blaming the goaltending anymore. In a far cry from anything Jaroslav Halak was able to manage this year, Thomas Greiss was brilliant in both games, stepping up to ensure the Isles' anemic offense had a chance to get the four points on this road trip they desperately needed. Even the defense played better, as the club blocked 20 shots on Friday and 21 on Saturday and eased some of the onus on Greiss.

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Alan Quine scored for the Islanders Saturday. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
Alan Quine scored for the Islanders Saturday. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders missed both shot attempts in the shootout and the Coyotes made both of theirs to take a 2-1 victory Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) celebrates his power play goal with defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and center John Tavares (91) in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) celebrates his power play goal with defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and center John Tavares (91) in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Arizona Coyotes couldn't wait for a New Year's break. The New York Islanders wanted to keep playing. There was a simple reason for both desires.

Arizona had lost eight straight games without registering a point before their five-day break. Then came Friday's overtime loss in Anaheim -- the Coyotes' first point since Dec. 15. The Islanders had won four of five before their five-day break, but dropped a 2-1, overtime decision on Friday in Colorado against the Western Conference's worst team.

Tags: Arizona Coyotes
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

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

Bellows was the Islanders' first-round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) scores the winning goal past New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) in overtime at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV: 

And on the fifth day, let there be practice. … The New York Islanders returned from their league-mandated bye week a day early by approving a practice in Denver on Thursday, a day before they were defeated by the Avalanche, 2-1, in overtime. Tonight, it's on to Arizona to take on another of the league's bottom dwellers, the Coyotes.

The time immediately after the holidays is always the toughest to get through. Family, some you don't get an opportunity to see much, have gone. Decorations come down, leaving a vast expanse of emptiness, the air gets noticeably colder and yes, it's back to work. No wonder why there is such a thing as "seasonal depression." I get it, I get it.

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Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) defends his net in the second period Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 6, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) defends his net in the second period Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

First Period 

  • 6:06 COL Gabriel Landeskog; Assists: Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon

Second Period 

  • 17:34 NYI Johnny Boychuk (power play); Assists: Nick Leddy, Ryan Strome 

Overtime 

  • 4:43 COL Nathan MacKinnon; Assists: Jerome Iginla, Tyson Barrie

Next Game: The Islanders finish their road trip and take on the Coyotes on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Tags: Colorado Avalanche

Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. New York Islanders win 6-2. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. New York Islanders win 6-2. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders head to Colorado to open up the 2017 portion of their schedule to take on the Avalanche at 9 p.m. 

According to STATS...

  • The Islanders throttled the Jets, 6-2, at MTS Centre on New Year's Eve, recording their fourth win in the last five games overall. New York is 3-2-1 in its last six road tilts (1-6-1 in first eight road games of the season).
  • Colorado dropped a 4-1 decision in Calgary on Wednesday night, losing its fifth straight tilt, and for the 10th time in the last 11 games overall. The Avs have lost 10 straight games at Pepsi Center -- the longest home losing streak in franchise history.
Tags: Colorado Avalanche
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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV:

Entering play Friday night, the Islanders trail the Metro's third place (and last guaranteed playoff spot) Rangers by 19 points with five games in hand. In other words, not happening. Look elsewhere for your entry.

They are nine points behind the second Wild Card team in the Eastern conference, the Flyers, with four games in hand. Not too shabby, you think, especially when you peek at their next five games and see Colorado, Arizona, Florida (twice) and Carolina.

But wait…to even get to the Flyers, New York has to jump seven other teams. Yes, I said seven...

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 (Brad Penner (USA Today))
(Brad Penner (USA Today))

Thomas Greiss will be in net Friday night when the Islanders face the Avalanche, head coach Jack Capuano said.

The Islanders will stick with the same skaters as last week.

Brian Erni, SNY.TV :

Tags: Thomas Greiss
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New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)
New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement)

Brian Erni, SNY.tv

There's a crunch coming to the Islanders defensemen. That's because the upcoming NHL expansion draft, set to take place this June, is undoubtedly going to mix some things up on New York's blue line, and it should create some urgency for Garth Snow in the next few months.

The rules of the draft allow teams to protect either seven forwards and three defensemen, or eight skaters overall. Players with no-move clauses must be protected, so Johnny Boychuk isn't going anywhere. The Isles will also undoubtedly protect Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic. And if they choose to protect Ryan Pulock, which they will have to do based on his eligibility if they don't want him exposed, that will leave them room for four more skaters (three once you factor in John Tavares).

It all adds up to the reality that Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey will both be left unprotected, which forces Garth Snow to make a decision. Either trade one (or both) before this year's trade deadline and not risk losing one of them for nothing, or roll the dice and watch his old assistant snatch one up for the Knights' inaugural roster.

Tags: Calvin De Haan, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Brian Erni
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Brian Compton and Mike Carver are back with their first show of 2017, and this year is, well, pretty much the same as the last. The guys discuss the departure of Jaroslav Halak and Jack Capuano's perplexing decisions behind the bench.

Later, Isles TV voice Brendan Burke calls in to talk about the return of JF Berube, the emergence of Andrew Ladd, and his thoughts on his first season as the Islanders play-by-play man.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak
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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Islanders can start talking about an extension with Tavares on July 1, but that hasn't stopped everyone from weighing in on the matter. SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

Andy, John Tavares and his eventual contract extension seem to be popping up in every story written about the Islanders lately. ESPN said the Isles should force the issue with their star player to find out where he stands. What's your take on Tavares? Do the Isles need to extend him this summer, no matter the cost?

Tags: John Tavares
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Defenseman Adam Pelech (50) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals at Barclays Center.  (Brad Penner - USA Today)
Defenseman Adam Pelech (50) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner - USA Today)

The Islanders have recalled defenseman Adam Pelech from Bridgeport of the AHL, the team announced Thursday.

Pelech had been activated off injured reserve and loaned to Bridgeport late last month.

He was placed on IR in early December due to an upper-body injury.

The 22-year-old defenseman has three points (one goal, two assists) in nine games with the Islanders this season. 


New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal battle for a loose puck during the first period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Matthew Barzal continues to turn heads at the IIHF World Junior Championship, and it led to him receiving a top accolade for the second consecutive year.

Barzal, along with the Ottawa Senators' Thomas Chabot and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Anthony Cirelli, was named as one of the tournament's top three players for Canada by the coaches.

This is the second consecutive year being named to the top-three for Barzal. According to Elite Prospects, no other Canadian has received the honor two years in a row since the award was first given out in 2007 (h/t to Corey Pronman).

Barzal has three goals and four assists and has a plus-3 rating on the ice in six tournament games. He and the rest of Team Canada will square off against Team USA in the tournament's gold medal game on Thursday. 

Tags: Mathew Barzal, Brian Erni
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 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

The Avalanche are open to trading C Matt Duchene, with Colorado perhaps seeking a young defenseman or defensive prospects in return, reports Elliotte Friedman of TSN.

Duchene, 25, has 13 goals and 11 assists in 33 games this season.

He has 169 goals and 232 assists in 528 games spanning eight seasons in the NHL -- all with Colorado.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Mikhail Grabovski, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic
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Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle are two of the Islanders' best prospects, and only a few months into their first AHL season, they have their sights set on the big club.

"I know that they're in last place right now," Ho-Sang told WFAN's Peter Schwartz. "I just want to play better and force their hand. They obviously need to figure out some stuff up there. I can just control what I can and play as well as I can down here and, ultimately, they make the call whenever they feel like it. My phone is always on."

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

I know a lot of people's expectations are quelled on these two guys for a number of reasons.

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 (Brace Hemmelgarn)
(Brace Hemmelgarn)

ESPN has a plan for how the Islanders can turn their franchise's fortunes around.

Matthew Coller lists (Insider required) letting Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen walk, signing Andrew Ladd, and poor goaltending performances as the primary factors that got the Islanders into this mess. To get out of it, Coller suggests selling at the deadline, exercising patience with their young talent, and most notably (and controversially), getting an answer on John Tavares' future as ways to fix things.

"One player holds the key to the Islanders' future: Tavares. He is set to hit free agency in 2018, and his decision to stay or go will ultimately decide if the Islanders have to go back into rebuild mode or keep swinging for a Stanley Cup," Coller writes. "If their former No. 1 overall pick is willing to sign a long-term deal, Snow, or whoever the GM is after this debacle, can start moving assets to acquire win-now players around Tavares. If he decides to test the market, then he needs to be traded as soon as possible. Even if other teams knew the Islanders' hand was forced, 29 teams would be making a call to see if they could acquire one of the NHL's elite centers."

Tags: Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, Mikhail Grabovski
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The Islanders have been playing solid hockey over their last 16 games, offering the slightest glimmer of hope that a berth in the playoffs for a third consecutive season, while still slim thanks to a rocky beginning, might still be possible.

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Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano reacts on the bench during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 31, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano reacts on the bench during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Erni, SNY.TV:

The new calendar year is upon us, and with it always comes resolutions to try to work on one's self over the next 365 days.

Everyone could use a little self-improvement, right? The Islanders are no different, so what should their resolutions be for 2017? Here are three suggestions to get them started.

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