(Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders Point Blank founder and former SNY contributor Chris Botta will be back with us this season, posting multiple columns each week.


When we last left off about five years ago, the New York Islanders were a franchise without a long-term home -- a team entering each season merely yearning to grab one of the final playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

While many faces - including the latest batch of intriguing young players - have changed, in the big picture, not a lot else has.

As another season starts this week, we will get caught up in the glory of John Tavares, the promise of Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang, the underrated artistry of Nick Leddy, a likely return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and all the highs and lows that come with being a passport-carrying member of Islanders Country.

This is hockey, the best game around, and heck yeah…we're going to enjoy every second of it. But not let's lose sight of what's at stake: the future of the franchise in New York, and the future of the team as a perennial contender any time soon.

Oh, is that all?

The Islanders need a new arena deal. They also need to re-sign Tavares to a long-term contract. After a quarter-century of Howard Milstein and "pigs at the trough," the tragicomedy of John Spano, and Charles Wang's "Paris Has Her Tower," it has come to this. The Islanders don't have a true home, and soon they could be without their franchise player, who wants to stay.

An end must be put to the uncertainty and mediocrity. Forget for a moment the debate over the commute, or whether the Islanders could ever prosper in the beautiful borough of Brooklyn. Forget, at least until the next guy gets hurt, that the Islanders play on a surface adequate for Moana on Ice, but sub-standard for Tavares's tap-dancing or Cizikas and Clutterbuck crashing into opponents - and that everyone knew this when the Islanders did the deal to play at the Barc.

The Islanders play in an arena built specifically for basketball. Except when they're in the playoffs - when you can play anywhere and the place would rock - the Barclays Center experience stinks. They need to get out of there soon, they're running out of time, and they have two options.

One of those options, no one wants to think about. The other is the property around Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island, New York. This is where second-year majority owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky have 100 percent of their focus and more than 99 percent of their hopes. There is reason for legitimate optimism that something can get done in Elmont.

Islanders ownership has put itself in the best position to succeed. Malkin and Ledecky have deep pockets and, unlike their predecessors, they appear to know how to finesse community leaders and decision-makers. They are also being consulted on the bid by Oak View Group.

Some people have asked about the "optics" of this because OVG is owned, in part, by Madison Square Garden. This is the sports business in 2017. If you were going to build a fifth major arena in the New York-New Jersey area, you sure could do a lot worse than having the MSG Company, sports kingmaker Tim Leiweke, entertainment mogul Irving Azoff, and the highly-respected NHL and venues veteran Peter Luukko on your side.

But also remember, OVG is working on an arena in Seattle.

As we all have to accept by now, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on the Corner of Mangano, Murray and Yormark is not an option. It's a nice little venue for a minor league town, like a Providence or Springfield. It is not a long-term NHL option in New York. Way to go, Nassau politicians!

So what's an Islanders fan to do?

The same as always. Support your team, which should be entertaining this season. Support the latest owners' latest efforts on the latest new arena plan - yeah, all over again. Put your faith in them until they prove unworthy of it.

Because keep this in mind. The following is a series of substantial quotes from Ledecky and Malkin on the future of the franchise in New York in the year since they took charge:

  •  
  •  
  •  

Their silence is not a threat. But in time, the other option could be a reality.

Hope for Belmont.

And for Tavares to stick around.

And for Doug Weight's team to take a step forward.

This is not just another year in the life of a historically successful and epically-battered franchise. You've been waiting for the Islanders to be relevant again? They're plenty relevant this season.


Today's Tweeted Question

@HockeyRebel asked via Twitter: Is Eberle the missing link for JT? Did we win the Strome trade?

The joyful, majority reaction to the trade was understandable. As of this very second, Eberle is a more accomplished and effective player than Ryan Strome. But it also felt like Strome, the talented kid the Islanders picked fifth overall in the 2011 draft, wasn't even part of the discussion. It was like people thought, "Yay, we got Eberle" and "We gave up nuthin."

This isn't the Reinhart Rip-off of 2015, when Peter Chiarelli lost his mind trading for a struggling defense prospect whose upside was misjudged by Islanders' scouts when they took him fourth overall. Credit to Garth Snow for fixing the mistake by acquiring the 16th and 33rd picks in the 2015 draft for Reinhart. The picks, the latter in a roundabout way, turned into Barzal and Beauvillier, who got out of their respective beds this morning already better hockey players than Reinhart - and could be very, very good NHLers.

Eberle has his flaws and was known to disappear for long stretches in Edmonton. Playing alongside Tavares will remedy that. Eberle should score at least 25 goals this season. Is he the missing link? No. He's just another good hockey player.

It doesn't really matter who won the trade, just that Eberle does his part. As for Strome, it's not like the Islanders gave up nothing. He has skill and he cares. He has a 50-point NHL season behind him at a young age. He's going to get a chance to play with some great players over time. I look forward to seeing if Strome gets back on track and believe he will.


Snapshots of…Zigmund Palffy

(whereby in some columns I share the first few memories that pop into my head of figures in Islanders history)

  • When Ziggy was drafted in the second round in 1991, an endearingly crusty Canadianfirst Islanders scout grumbled at the table, "Kinda early to be picking a Czechoslovakian, eh"? (Ya, he was wrong about everything).
  • Palffy wore number 68 before switching to 16. "I am not Jagr," he said. "I am Ziggy."
  • Coaches tried to turn the gifted sniper into Bob Gainey or Patrice Bergeron. To his credit, Ziggy really tried. One day, he walked off the ice after practice and through staggered breath shouted, "This backchecking is [bleeping] killing me"!
  • Ziggy learned English from watching '80s movies. His favorite was John Candy. He'd often say something so irrelevant that we'd be asking each other, "What movie is that from"? And, as some of you know, he even used movie dialogue during contract disputes. On the rare night Ziggy would have a bad game, Mike Milbury would sometimes point it out: "Hey, if he wants to be paid like a star…" When Palffy heard this, he muttered, "What does he think…every day is Christmas"? We figured it came from "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," but movie buffs are welcome to factcheck in the comments section.
  • Palffy was an absolutely wonderful player. Check out how many goals he produced on some pretty, pretty thin rosters. Even in some dark times for the franchise, he was a joy to be around. Thank you, Ziggy.

Notebook

Biron says Oui: Reached out to Martin Biron, the Sabres studio analyst on MSG Networks, for his take on the Islanders' expectations this season. Marty was a good goalie for just about every team in the area, so he's unbiased. He's also an outstanding commentator. Here's his response:

"The Islanders are going to be in a battle all the way until the end, but I believe they will make the playoffs. I really like Barzal and Ho-Sang, who I see as young stars in this league. Tavares is great, Lee works well with him and Brock Nelson should have a good season. The Islanders play a tight defensive game as a team and they'll be able to come out of top in enough low-scoring games to reach the postseason."

Watch the Flames: Always glad to see Jaromir Jagr in the NHL, but sure seems like a late, panic move for Calgary. GM Brad Treviling made the ill-advised decision to give up the Flames' 2018 first round pick in the overly-generous package to acquire Travis Hamonic. Feeling here is that a GM should never give up a first-rounder unless it's more than mid-way through the season and you know for sure that pick is going to be 20th or later. If the Flames stumble - and, like the Islanders, they have a lot of uncertainty around them - Calgary management is going to start sweating through their shirts. That first round pick could turn out to be a lot earlier than 20th.

R.I.P., Giz: The Country lost a good man on Sept. 20 when Gerry Ianarelli passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 55. Gerry was an equipment man for the Islanders during the '90s and was a hard worker and a really kind and generous man. He will never be forgotten.

****

I'm not writing too much about the John Tavares contract situation in this first column because, well, that would be too obvious. And besides, I'm going to need the material when I come up dry down the line. Like as soon as column two.

With our thoughts with the victims of the tragedy in Las Vegas, and so much devastation in Puerto Rico, Houston, Florida and too many other places, one thing those of us far away can always do is give blood. So consider a visit to the Red Cross, New York Blood Centers, Long Island Blood Services or any collection outlet in your region.

Favorite Tom Petty song: "The Best of Everything."

As we get set for another season, this is also my wish for you.


Chris Botta worked a long time for the Islanders, started Point Blank, then wrote for The New York Times and SportsBusiness Journal. In July 2016, he started a communications consulting business, working with sports leagues and teams. Since none are affiliated with the NHL, he is writing this column from his home office, the RVC Library and the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place. He is very grateful to Islanders fans for their support and encouragement over these many years. Please send ideas and feedback by replying to him on Twitter @ChrisBottaNHL


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.

Read More

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.

Tags: Josh Bailey
Read More

 (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
Read More

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."

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

 (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
Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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

Read More

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.

 

Read More

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
Read More

 (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
Read More

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

Read More

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).

Read More

 (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
Read More

 (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
Read More

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

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

 (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
Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

 (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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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

Read More

 (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
Read More

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).

Read More

 (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
Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

 (Evan Habeeb)
(Evan Habeeb)

With 11 games left, the Islanders know they're season won't see a playoff berth despite not being mathematically out of the race. In turn, head coach Doug Weight is doing a little experiment with his star players. 

Weight wants to see what John Tavares and Mathew Barzal can do on the same line, which is why he is moving Tavares to left wing ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Hurricanes at Barclays Center. However, he warned not to take the move to heart being that Tavares has played center all these years. 

"It doesn't mean he's going to play wing and it doesn't mean he's not a centerman," Weight told Newsday's Andrew Gross. "It's an experiment. Moving forward, it gives them some experience together. I'm excited to see it."

Tags: John Tavares, Mathew Barzal
Read More