No matter how you feel about the Islanders move to Brooklyn announced yesterday, it hit you like a ton of bricks. Whether you’re pro or con to the issue, you knew Brooklyn was a possibility and that Nassau County’s handling of the Islanders has been a mess with owners and politicians over more than a dozen years acting on behalf of themselves and their interests rather than doing what’s right for fans, the team, the Coliseum and the County. But none of us saw Wednesday’s announcement coming; certainly not quite so hard or so fast.  It was a slapshot to the gut that elicited all kinds of responses in Islander County from anger and sadness to joy and excitement.

Seeing many of the statements from the Islanders Hall of Fame Alumni and long-time fans upset at the situation lacks a certain perspective, but it also carries a certain weight of memories, history, and the character of what this franchise has been for so many on Long Island for so long, through the good times and the bad.

“The more I think about this, the more it makes me sad,” Denis Potvin told the Hockey News. Bob Bourne, Clark Gillies, and Jiggs McDonald also had quotes reported that made them sound less than thrilled. Potvin and other players won four Stanley Cups at the Nassau Coliseum, with McDonald calling all the action. Thousands of Long Islanders watched them do so first hand at the Coliseum.

The news hit home for everyone today and it hit hard. Maybe it hit you when a text from the old friend who you used to go to games with and since moved away or maybe it was from someone in your life who has never followed hockey, but with all the extra attention this was certainly the biggest day in Islander county in decades. For me, it was when dad texted to say he was excited about the new arena but there were “a lot of memories at the Coliseum as a dad and for us [at NVMC]."

There are many memories and nostalgia that are important to this team and its fanbase and none of it should be forgotten. The history and memories should be preserved, remembered and celebrated as they have been for 40 years.

Now, we can be sure that they will be celebrated for another 25 years – in Brooklyn.

Without the Barclays Center, we could easily be lamenting the outright destruction of this team and it’s rich history being packaged and shipped off to Quebec, Kansas or elsewhere.

Once upon a time, the Seattle Supersonics were owned by the CEO of a local coffee empire. The CEO eventually sold the team to Oklahoma Oil Barons and the Sonics, well, the Sonics are now just history. The Islanders could have easily suffered the same fate. Cashing out this team would have been easy.  The Islanders could be the NHL’s version of the Super Sonics. Instead fans will be able to watch the same team, the same prospects, the same logo, the same colors, for years to come rather than watching from afar as another fanbase finds out what comes next in this new chapter of the New York Islanders history.

For current and future generations of fans to relive their team’s rich history – and hopefully create new history – the Islanders needed to leave Nassau County once and for all.

There was no ‘plan b’ that would work in the final months or years of the team’s Nassau lease. There was no savior developer or County Executive whose master plan could reverse decades of mismanagement, political footballing, and selfish interests that handcuffed the team not only on the ice but also in their seemingly never ending quest for a new arena.

Here’s how long this sad arena saga went on: In 1998, owners Howard Milstein and Stephen Gluckstern – who rode in on horses of listening at fan forums and painted big arena dreams – slashed player payroll, tried to have the Coliseum condemned and attempted to have the team start the season on the road until their demands were met.

Wrote the New York Times 14 long years ago:

The immediate issue, unfolding over the summer and now threatening to hang over the 1998-99 season, has been the safety of the Coliseum. The Islanders say the arena is a hazard; the county says it is not. But it is hard to avoid the suspicion that the Islanders' safety concerns are somehow related to their expressed desire for a renegotiation of their current lease and a new arena that could be built and ready for action in three years.

''All we want is to be able to compete on the same footing as the other teams around the country,'' said David Seldin, the president of New York Sports Ventures, which bought the Islanders in February for $195 million. ''To survive we've got to attract more fans, and that means not only better players, but a state-of-the-art arena.''

Mr. Seldin said the franchise was currently losing $11 million a year. 

You could have written those words any time in the past two decades, changed a few names, and no one would know the difference.

We’re now 14 years past that point in time. The cold, hard truth is that there was no end in Nassau County. Not the Lighthouse Project -- Kate Murray murdered that -- not a public referendum as NIMBYs wouldn’t let that pass,  and not a last-minute salvo with all options exhausted.

Since 1991 when then-owner John O. Pickett Jr. tried to unload the team to anyone with a checking account – as former owner and crook John Spano showed, that’s about all you needed – the Islanders have been a tumultuous ship in the waters of Nassau, save for a few odd bits of good news and good play on the ice.

From the New York Times in ’91:

"If you take the expansion criteria, we wouldn't qualify right now for expansion," Torrey said of his team's less-than-lucrative and outmoded venue. "But I can't visualize someone moving the team from a New York market to a smaller market."
It reads again like a time capsule from any year since; ‘the venue isn’t any good and we can’t make due with it’. What may be most amazing is that the venue was cited as out-dated in 1991, 21-years ago, at the very beginnings of the modern arena and stadium building boom of the 1990s.

This was a situation that left the Islanders with no plan, no future, no way to preserve the history, no viable way to move forward and create a new history.  The team, right along with the Coliseum, has rotted and was dying a slow death. Whether you blame a current owner who wouldn’t spend, free agents who wouldn’t sign, horrendous General Managers, corrupt and self-interested politicians, NIMBY voters, or someone else entirely, the last two decades have been a viscous cycle that has fed on itself with no end in sight.

In one day, there’s stability to what has been a very rocky ship.

Brooklyn is a way out, a way to start anew without abandoning the rich history and tradition; placing it a 45-minute train ride away.

There’s no guarantee that the Islanders will become a perennial winner in Brooklyn. They’re not going to all of a sudden be able to afford every free agent on the market. But it's going to be a lot better. There’s a shiny new arena in a major metro area with over 100 suites, the key to unlocking arena revenue in the 21st century. Finally, at long last, there will be no more articles about the Islanders trying to escape a decrepit Coliseum.

There’s new hope and most importantly these are still your Islanders, that you’ve followed your whole life. These are still your parent’s Islanders, who they took you to see when you could barely walk. These are still your friends Islanders, who you watched with your buddies growing up.

Maybe they moved further away but for too long everyone involved suffered. It’s not going to be easy for the people that spent incalculable amounts of time, money, and effort on this team in Nassau County.  But these are still your Islanders and they will still be here – just on the other side of town.

Tags: arena, Arena News, howard milstein, Islanders, john pickett, Editorial Aside, steven gluckstern

New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal shoots the puck in the third period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal is among three finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy that honors the NHL's top rookie.

The 20-year-old Barzal is considered the favorite for the award after scoring 22 goals, 63 assists and 85 points in 82 games for New York this season.

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

Co-owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky are in the process of identifying a top executive to join the Islanders' hockey operations department, two NHL sources confirmed on Tuesday to SNY's Point Blank.

Since current Islanders President/GM/Alternate Governor Garth Snow has not been relieved of his duties more than a week since the end of another disastrous season, it is believed that the new hire would become Islanders general manager while Snow would remain President (or given a new title).

The process includes asking other NHL teams for permission to speak to some of their executives. Among those expected to be on Malkin and Ledecky's list of highly-regarded hockey people to interview are Julian BriseBois (Lightning), Paul Fenton (Predators), and Tom Fitzgerald (Devils), who are assistant general managers with their respective clubs.

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

Islanders RW Josh Bailey has been added to Team Canada's roster for the IIHF World Championship in Denmark, marking World Championship of his career.

Bailey is replacing Blues rookie D Vince Dunn, who is suffering from an upper-body injury.

The 28-year-old forward had a career year with the Isles this season, posting a career-high 71 points on 18 goals and 53 assists over 76 games.

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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

Former Islanders second-round pick G Mikko Koskinen may be seeing a reunion with his only NHL team as he is reportedly leaving his KHL club SKA, per Sport-Express' Igor Eronko.

Though multiple sources have said Koskinen is expected to sign somewhere in the NHL next season, The Athletic's Arthur Staple says the Islanders haven't spoken on him yet. Eronko believes Koskinen signing with the Isles isn't a likely scenario.

After the team drafted him back in 2009, Koskinen played just four games with the Islanders during the 2010-11 season. But that was all the action he saw with the NHL club before shipping off to Finland to play in the SM-liga, or Finnish pro league.

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Islanders GM Garth Snow expressed optimism on Monday in the future of the Islanders despite the team missing the playoffs for the last two seasons.

Snow, who along with head coach Doug Weight has expressed the belief that he'll be back next season, said the Islanders are close to a championship. And noted how far the team has come since he took over.

"For me, 2006, when I took over this position, it was a situation where it was an all-out rebuild where we had to bring in talent through the draft," Snow told reporters. "Now we're in a situation where we feel we can compete for a Stanley Cup."

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A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)
A general view of the ice surface prior to the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin)

When it comes to his career as Islanders general manager, Garth Snow is a blessed man. Despite a twelve-year run of failure, the kindness shown Snow by his employers has been extraordinary. Perhaps one of these years he will pay it back, and pay it forward.

Many people outside Islanders Country, and even some of the residents, do not have a grasp of the lengths two ownership groups have gone to keep Snow in his position. A brief recap is necessary.

Let's start at the beginning, in 2006, when Snow was given his dream job by Charles Wang after the expiration of Neil Smith's 40-day summer internship. At the time, Snow was just a few months removed from his playing career. As a manager of any kind, he did not have a single hour of practical experience.

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

With the Islanders' 2017-18 season officially under wraps, the biggest storyline for the offseason will be what captain John Tavares decides to do for next season.

At the moment, his mindset is staying with the team that drafted from first overall back in 2009. But Tavares didn't close the door on checking out the free agent market as well.

"This is obviously where I hope to be. I've always stated that," Tavares said. "But obviously, I have some time to think about my situation and go from there...

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

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky apologized on Monday for ownership failing the fans, but refused to speak specifically about the future of GM Garth Snow, head coach Doug Weight, or any players.

"We are committed to long term success," Ledecky said. "Any decisions we make are for the long term success of our hockey club."

CLICK BELOW TO READ LEDECKY'S FULL STATEMENT

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Islanders are reportedly expected to retain GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight for next season, according to Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Snow, Weight and co-owner Jon Ledecky will address the media on Monday after the Islanders finished 35-37-10, the second-worst record in the Metropolitan Division.

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Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Apr 7, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck against Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen (51) during the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Islanders rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to score three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in their season finale on Saturday. << Box score

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

DETROIT -- Saturday night's game could be center John Tavares' last with the New York Islanders.

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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Doug Weight, Jordan Eberle and the Islanders organization as a whole expressed their sorrow over the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.

The hockey community is in mourning after 14 people died as a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team, collided with a semi-truck on Friday night. Various members of the Islanders organization have given their thoughts and prayers to the team before their season finale on Saturday night.

"Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to the Humboldt Broncos and all of those affected by the devastating tragedy," the Islanders' official Twitter posted...

Tags: Jordan Eberle
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New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers right wing Malte Stromwall and New York Islanders defenseman David Quenneville come together during the third period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders signed 20-year-old defenseman David Quenneville to a three-year entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

Quenneville, the Islanders' seventh-round pick in 2016, led the WHL with 80 points this season, scoring 26 goals and totaling 54 assists in 70 games for the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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

On Thursday night, the Islanders played their last home game of the season. For John Tavares, it could be his last home game as a member of the team.

Tavares' contract is up after the season and he will be one of the most coveted free agents of the summer. After the game, Tavares tried to downplay its significance and reaffirmed his public desire to stay with the team...

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1 in their home finale behind goals from Thomas Hickey and Anthony Beauvillier. << Box score

First period

  • 4:25 NYR Kevin Hayes (PPG); Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Brady Skjei

Second period

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New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)
New York Islanders forward John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders know Thursday night will be their final home game of the season as well as the last time they call Barclays Center their sole home.

But the most important bit of information remains unknown, and will likely remain a mystery for almost three more months: Will Thursday night also be the final time John Tavares suits up at home for the Islanders?

An uncertain future will overshadow the waning days of a disappointing season Thursday night when the Islanders host the New York Rangers in a battle of teams playing out the string.

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New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares skates before a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. (Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports)

If Isles fans want a little reassurance that captain John Tavares would be in blue and orange next season, don't ask Tavares himself. 

Finishing up the final year of his six-year, $33 million deal, Tavares notes that he wants everything to work out with the franchise, but he wouldn't promise that he will still daunt an Islanders jersey next season. 

"The fan base has been tremendous since I got here," Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "People say certain things. I hope it all works out, too, and I'm back as well. I just want to focus one game at a time and finishing the season strong and in the days and weeks ahead there will be plenty of time to think about it and start looking at the future and move forward."

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

As is often the case when it comes to this franchise, the Islanders need their fans once again.

Thursday night. For John Tavares.

There should be no mistaking this. If you care about keeping Tavares in orange and blue, this is a code red...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Matthew Barzal and John Tavares scored two goals apiece and the Islanders overcame a late rally by the Flyers to win on Tuesday night, 5-4.  >> Box score

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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

NEW YORK -- For the last week, the New York Islanders received reminders of what could have been. But at least they won't have to worry about watching another team celebrate clinching a playoff berth Tuesday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in the penultimate home game of the season at Barclays Center.

 

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Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Nov 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) makes a save in front of Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Thomas Greiss will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Tuesday's matchup against the Flyers, head coach Doug Weight said.

Also, Cal Clutterbuck and Josh Bailey return to the lineup, replacing Brandon Davidson and Dennis Seidenberg out. Bailey has been out the past two games with an upper body injury. On the other hand, Clutterbuck's injury after leaving Saturday's game was undisclosed. He didn't practice on Monday, but he will be good to go tonight. 

The Islanders have just three games to go in their 2017-18 campaign, with the Rangers on Thursday and Red Wings on Saturday as well.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Thomas Greiss
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 (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
(Anne-Marie Sorvin)

For some Islanders players, there is still something to play for with three games left in a disappointing season. 

One of those players is RW Tanner Fritz, who is trying to showcase his skills to be a mainstay with the Islanders next season. Recently, he is doing a good job of that by collecting two points in the past three games, with one being a goal against the Devils this past Saturday. 

"I want to try to get them thinking over the summer that I can be a player that can play in the NHL and prove to them that I'm worthy to play in this league," Fritz told Newsday's Andrew Gross.

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mar 31, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) reacts after scoring a goal against New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Taylor Hall scored back-to-back goals in a high-scoring second period and Blake Coleman scored the decisive goal in the third period to fuel the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Islanders on Saturday night.  >> Box score

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Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The New Jersey Devils have held a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference every day since winning their season opener on Oct. 7.

Yet with only five games remaining on their schedule, the Devils are clinging to the eighth and final playoff berth in the East, trying to stave off a late-season push by the surging Florida Panthers.

On Saturday night at the Prudential Center, the Devils (40-28-9) look to take another step closer to their first playoff appearance in six years when they host the New York Islanders (32-36-10).

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

Despite a high octane offensive performance, the Islanders couldn't keep the Leafs off the board in a 5-4 loss at home.  >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight wasn't a fan of what Josh Ho-Sang said about the team sending him to the AHL this season. 

Ho-Sang was sent down to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the team said he needed to work on his defense. Weight said he was "disappointed" by the comments, but noted the team will talk to him soon.

"I think the natural reaction, the defensive reaction is to tell him to look in the mirror, look at his production, look at what he's done," Weight told Newsday's Laura Albanese. "The other reaction should be from us. We should look in the mirror. We should all learn from these events and look to them. Most importantly, we should discuss it with him rather than discuss it through these cameras and we will do that."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk celebrates his goal (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are two weeks away from embarking upon a pursuit they hope will allow the franchise to achieve something it hasn't done in more than 50 years. The New York Islanders will have far more modest and shorter-term goals in mind Friday night, when they host the Maple Leafs at Barclays Center. >> Read more

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Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Mar 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders forward Josh Ho-Sang (66) skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

You can describe the Islanders with many different words and adjectives -- whatever your heart desires -- but coherent would be far from the list.

It's difficult to gauge what plans this team has in store for the future other than being in a constant state of mediocrity and in perpetual rebuild mode.

Even when there are positives, like Mathew Barzal's incredible rookie campaign, there are plenty of distractions that keep you wondering if this team has any real leadership in the front office...

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight (top) reacts after a video review disallowed an Islanders goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Monday night made final what was seemingly inevitable for the better part of the last two months or so.

In the midst of quite the disappointing season, the Islanders will miss the playoffs for the second straight time.

What makes it more disheartening was how well the team got off out of the gate this season. After a 5-2 win against the Canucks on Nov. 28, the Islanders were riding pretty high at 15-7-2 and looked like a bona fide playoff team, although there were holes that needed to be corrected.

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Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Mar 27, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (86) chase the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Andrew Ladd scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes to help the Islanders beat the Senators in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. >> Box score

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier
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Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

OTTAWA -- Two teams sliding toward the regular-season finish line and early tee times will meet up on short rest at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night.

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

With the loss to the Panthers Monday, it's official. The Islanders have missed the playoffs for the second straight season. 

New York was shutout in their own building, as the Panthers continued their push to secure a wild card berth with just a few games left in the regular season. Now, the Isles have nothing to play for, and captain John Tavares doesn't like that feeling again. 

"The odds just kept getting worse and worse with every loss,' Tavares told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "We just sealed our fate. It's tough to know you're not going to be playing postseason hockey."

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson makes a save against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson makes a save against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Christopher Gibson allowed three goals as the Islanders' losing streak reached three games with a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 11:38 FLA Keith Yandle; Assists: Evgenii Dadonov, Aleksander Barkov

Second period:

Tags: Christopher Gibson, Florida Panthers
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New York Islanders center John Tavares plays the puck against Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares plays the puck against Florida Panthers right wing Evgenii Dadonov and Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The last time the New York Islanders hosted the Florida Panthers, the Islanders harbored legitimate wild-card hopes and the Panthers appeared to be the longest of long shots to reach the playoffs.

But the roles will be reversed Monday night when the Panthers visit the Islanders at Barclays Center.

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Monday's matchup against the Panthers, head coach Doug Weight said.

Also, James Wagner will be in for Casey Cizikas. Wagner was the return of the Jason Chimera trade with the Ducks back in February.

With just seven games remaining, the Islanders would be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with a loss on Monday.

 

Tags: Casey Cizikas, Christopher Gibson
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Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)
Mar 11, 2018; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports (Sergei Belski)

With another loss Saturday night to the Chicago Blackhawks in what could have been billed as a tankathon, the Islanders slide into disappointment (and potentially into a better draft slot) continued. 

Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 18, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a pad save against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

John Tavares broke up a shutout late in the third period, but the Islanders were unable to complete a rally and fell to the Blackhawks, 3-1, on Saturday at the Barclays Center.  >> Box score

Tags: John Tavares
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

NEW YORK -- Two teams who hoped to spend the final few weeks of the season vying for playoff positioning will instead continue playing out the string Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Chicago Blackhawks in a battle of last-place clubs at Barclays Center.

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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo famously asked this question of Mike Milbury in 2003, and now it is appropriate to ask of Garth Snow:

How is he still the GM?

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Tampa Bay center Brayden Point (21) is the one the keys to the Lightning's offense. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
Tampa Bay center Brayden Point (21) is the one the keys to the Lightning's offense. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Ryan Pulock, Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals each, but their offensive outburst couldn't top the Lightning's output in a 7-6 loss on Thursday night at Barclays Center. Christopher Gibson allowed six goals before he was pulled in the second period.  >> Box score

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Thursday's matchup against the Lightning.

Also, Cal Clutterbuck will be back in the lineup, while Ross Johnston is out, head coach Doug Weight said.

The Islanders are coming off a huge win over the Penguins on Monday, and will look to keep things going as the regular season winds down.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Christopher Gibson, Ross Johnston
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Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 17, 2017; Uniondale, NY, USA; General view of the ice before a game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Islanders have agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with forward Otto Koivula, who was the team's fourth round (120th overall) selection in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Koivula, 19, had nine goals and 18 assists in 53 games this season for Ilves of Finland's Liiga. He was the Liiga Rookie of the Year last season while leading all rookies in points (30) and assists (20).

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

It was a shocker to say the least when the final score at Barclays Center read 4-1 in favor of the Islanders over the defending Stanley Cup-champion Penguins on Tuesday night. And Isles fans can thank Mathew Barzal for the offensive production.

The dynamic rookie continued his Calder Trophy-worthy season with his 20th goal and an assist for two more points, marking 75 on the season. That total is third most in Islanders rookie history.

Barzal said his confidence this season has been the same since the beginning up until now, and head coach Doug Weight loves hearing that from his budding star. 

Tags: Mathew Barzal
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Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Mar 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders right wing Chris Wagner (21) attempts a wrap around on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Christopher Gibson saved 36 of 37 shots and the Islanders dominated the first and third periods to beat the Penguins on Tuesday night. >> Box score

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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) moves the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders will get the first of two consecutive reminders of what once was and what could have been Tuesday night when they continue a five-game homestand by hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Barclays Center.

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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)

Christopher Gibson will be the Islanders' starting goaltender for Tuesday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Christopher Gibson, Ross Johnston
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New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck battle over the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Jordan Eberle and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck battle over the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders lost their third straight game after falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Sunday at Barclays Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:50 CAR Jaccob Slavin; Assists: Joakim Nordstrom, Victor Rask
  • 4:44 CAR Lee Stempniak

Second period:

  • 10:29 NYI Josh Bailey; Assists: Ryan Pulock, John Tavares
  • 12:22 NYI Anders Lee (power play); Assists: Tavares, Mathew Barzal
  • 14:04 CAR Rask; Assists: Joakim Nordstrom, Slavin

Third period:

  • 8:05 NYI Lee (power play); Assists: Bailey, Tavares
  • 13:11 CAR Trevor van Riemsdyk; Assists: Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho
Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 22, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) talks to right wing Josh Bailey (12) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The New York Islanders' 2017-18 season is speeding down an icy highway in a blizzard with no brakes, as a 15-24-8 record since Dec. 1 has all but assured another season out of the playoffs, sitting home watching other, better teams contend for the Stanley Cup.

  • Surely, big decisions are looming on the horizon for a franchise that can never seem to sustain any sort of consistency or dependability. After beating Florida in the 2016 playoffs, its first series win in two decades, and coming off back-to-back 100-point seasons, this season can only be classified as a severe regression.

  •  
Tags: Anders Lee, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Andy Graziano
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Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Mar 3, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

NEW YORK -- For the first few weeks of 2018, a jam-packed Metropolitan Division offered hope to the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes that their final regular season game against each other would carry major playoff implications.

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