The hottest team in the NHL right now is the New York Islanders. They have won 11 of their last 14 games; earning a point in all except one of those outings. During that time, they've outscored their opponents 42-25. It's been a heck of a run and one that seems destined to lead them into the playoffs, as Sports Club Stats has them at 97.3% to make it as of this writing.

On March 24th, prior to their game against Florida, the Islanders were tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-15-3 record. Now, they're 24-16-5 and in sole possession of sixth.

So, what's been the difference?

Secondary Scoring. The Islanders top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Brad Boyes have 13 of the team's 42 goals during the streak. That's only 31% of the team's total offense. Before the streak they had 37 of 88, which was 42% of the team's overall total. They're scoring a smaller percentage of the team's goals, as the Islanders are getting increased contributions from other lines.

A great example was Saturday night in Winnipeg, when the Islanders scored four non-shootout goals. All of those goals came from the bottom three lines.

The second line. Part of that secondary scoring punch has come from the second line; which has really turned it on in the last month. Josh Bailey has a 6-4-10 line in his last 14 games. In that same time frame, Kyle Okposo has ten points and Frans Nielsen has 12.

Those guys have 32 points combined during the 14-game streak, including ten goals. They had 36 points and ten goals in the prior 31 games.

Lubomir Visnovsky. It really can't be said enough what Visnovsky has done for this team offensively and defensively. The Islanders have been a completely different team with Visnovsky on the back end.

Visnovsky has allowed Mark Streit to play a reduced role with fewer minutes on the third defensive pairing, making the captain's miscues a non-factor, and given Streit a power play partner. (For years the Islanders have gone with four forwards on the top power play unit, but not anymore). He's also created a dynamic defensive duo with Thomas Hickey that is the team's second defensive pairing, giving the Islanders two excellent pairings. When's the last time the team could say that?

I mentioned it yesterday, but Visnovsky has the 26th best corsi relative in the NHL and the best on the entire team. If you don't like fancy stats, then here's an alternative assessment; he's got the 17th best +/- in the NHL among defensemen. Paired with Thomas Hickey -- another player worthy of praise -- the Islanders have had a very solid top two defensive pairings.

Evgeni Nabokov is playing better. The Islanders workhorse in net has played well this season, but has been much, much better lately. The NHL's average save percentage this season is 912. Here's how Nabokov's numbers have progressed throughout the season:

January: .906

February: .895

March: .910

April: .928

There's a big difference between a team with a netminder who is bordering on a .900 save percentage and one that has a nearly .930 save percentage. It shouldn't be a surprise then, that the Islanders were 4-6-1 in February and are now 7-0-2 in April. Nabokov hasn't been the team MVP throughout the year, but there's a good argument that he's the team's second half MVP.

Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic block a ton of shots, and they're not as unlucky. Earlier in the year, the Isles best defensive pairing was having a tough go of it. Pucks were banking into the net off Hamonic's chest and the pair was having some struggles. On March 23rd, Hamonic was a -15 and MacDonald was a -14. They've both raised their +/- considerably since then; Hamonic now at -6 and MacDonald now at -3.

These guys also block a ton of shots -- MacDonald leads the entire NHL in blocks with 119 and Hamonic isn't far behind with 101. Hamonic is blocking 3.1 shots per game over the streak, with MacDonald at 2.5. Prior to that, they were at 1.4 and 2.05 respectively.

Tags: Islanders

Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the third period against Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center. Islanders win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Anders Lee scored twice, John Tavares had a goal and two assists, and the Islanders defeated the Sharks by a score of 5-3 at the Barclays Center on Saturday night.  >> Read more

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New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and San Jose Sharks defender Joakim Ryan (47) battle for position at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) and San Jose Sharks defender Joakim Ryan (47) battle for position at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Tags: San Jose Sharks
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New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center Anthony Beauvillier (72) skates with the puck in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Islanders won 4-3 in a shootout. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

For the second consecutive game, the Islanders will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Sharks on Saturday, the team announced. 

However, unlike Thursday against the Rangers, Anthony Beauvillier will be in the lineup in place of Josh Ho-Sang. On defense, Dennis Seidenberg will play for Scott Mayfield

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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Mathew Barzal scored goals to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Rangers Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. >> Read more

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New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )

NEW YORK -- When the New York Islanders and New York Rangers meet, there is never a shortage of intensity and energy.

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New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Ed Mulholland)
New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow (Ed Mulholland)

 The lead today comes from…Today's Tweeted Question:

@SP19hockey asked, "12 years of Snow. Love Game of Thrones but that's TOO much winter for Isles. Any chance at change of season?"

No...

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Thomas Greiss, Chris Botta
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 (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After six games in which the Islanders have collected five of a possible 12 points, partially due to a struggling power play which has now reached 0-for-20, Newsday's Arthur Staple reported today after practice that Ryan Pulock will indeed make his season debut tomorrow night against the rival New York Rangers in Manhattan.

The 23-year old defenseman from Dauphin, Manitoba has played only 16 career games over two seasons despite being one of the most highly regarded prospects in the organization, due to injury and defensive deficiencies that reared their ugly head in Bridgeport under Brent Thompson and stuck around for training camp.

Tags: John Tavares, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Hickey, Andy Graziano
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) drives the puck up ice against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. (Andrew Villa-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders have opened the season at 2-3-1 (five points) and sit in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, largely due to an offense that has struggled. 

Through the first six games, the Islanders have scored just 15 goals and sit at 24th in the league with 2.50 goals per game. Head coach Doug Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple that the top line will need to get things going. 

"Chances have been few and far between, but they've gotten their share," Weight said. "When they go in they'll go in. I think it was a rolling puck. I don't think he's fighting anything."

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Like every story, there are at least two sides to the drama surrounding John Tavares and his future with the New York Islanders. Let's start with the dark side.

Beyond only certain corners of the New York metropolitan area, the real, hard truth is that it's difficult to find anyone who believes Tavares will sign another long-term contract with the Islanders.

If you were to run into any NHL power broker, influencer, or insider who is unaffiliated with the Islanders and bought them a few shots of Jameson, they might tell you any or all of the following...

Tags: John Tavares, Chris Botta
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Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)
Adam Pelech brings the puck around the net pursued by Alex Iafallo. (AP)

First Period 

Second Period 

Third Period 

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Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

As Islanders Scratchpad returns for another season, the New York Islanders are five games into the 2017-18 campaign and sit with 50 percent of possible points (2-2-1). The team will wrap up their west coast swing on Sunday night in Los Angeles. 

 

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New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)
New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier (72) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. (Eric Bolte)

LW Anthony Beauvillier was a late scratch from the Islanders' lineup on Saturday night against the Sharks. 16-year veteran LW Jason Chimera will take his place.

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier
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 (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Islanders (1-3-0) continue their annual swing through California after falling 3-2 to Anaheim on Wednesday.

"We have to get some pucks in and find a way because these are games that I feel like we should win," coach Doug Weight told the Islanders' official website.

Tags: San Jose Sharks
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New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss (1) guards his net during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Thomas Greiss will get the start in net and Jordan Eberle told reporters that he is ready to play Saturday night against the Sharks. 

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Thomas Greiss
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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

From Scott Gordon to Jack Capuano and now Doug Weight, the legacy continues.

On the MSG postgame show Wednesday night -- almost always the "Happy Recap," win or lose -- Weight talked about how the Islanders "did some great things." Moments after, in speaking with the press, Weight pointed out, "We did a lot of good things on the power play."

The Islanders lost in Anaheim, 3-2. They have won one of their first four games. After going 0-5 last night, Weight's team is now 0-15 on the power play this season...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
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New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )
New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak can't stop a goal by Anaheim Ducks' Rickard Rakell during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (AP )

Brock Nelson scored his first two goals of the season, but the Islanders fell to the Ducks in Anaheim, 3-2, at the Honda Center. >> Read more

Tags: Brock Nelson
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 (Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))
(Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today))

Jaroslav Halak will be in goal tonight for the Islanders against the Ducks in Anaheim.

The Isles will use the same skaters as their last game, with Cal Clutterbuck (hip) still not ready to return.

Head coach Doug Weight strongly considered putting Ryan Pulock in the game, but said he's "very happy" with Scott Mayfield's game, according to Art Staple of Newsday.

Tags: Cal Clutterbuck, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Pulock
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 (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

With the question lingering about where the Islanders will play in the near future, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said the organization is putting all of its efforts to build an arena at Belmont Park. 

On Tuesday, Ledecky spoke to reporters and said the Islanders plan to play next season at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but beyond that, ownership hopes that the team can get their desired arena in Elmont. 

"We are locked and loaded on Belmont," Ledecky said, according to Newsday. "We have blinders on for Belmont. We are not looking at other places or other opportunities. We want to make Belmont a reality. ... The best home and the only home for the New York Islanders moving forward should be the Belmont arena." 

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New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang controls the puck against New York Rangers left wing Andrew Desjardins during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang controls the puck against New York Rangers left wing Andrew Desjardins during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

"I believe they are learning. We have a nice five and a half hour plane trip ahead of us and I got about 15 minutes with each of them that will probably end up being 30. They're good kids, good players and have earned their spots. This is big boy hockey and that's a great defensive core over there (St.Louis). They'll figure those things out. They got better as the game went, but had some guys who played pretty well and demanded more ice time. I feel like I can rely on them, put them out in almost any situation. Barzie (Mathew Barzal) has been good, Josh (Ho-Sang) is fine."

Those comments made by Islanders head coach Doug Weight after yesterday's 3-2 come-from-behind shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn tell you something about how he might manage his rookies as the 2017-18 season moves along.

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Andy Graziano
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 (Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)
(Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE)

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO, Brett Yormark, doesn't believe the Islanders stay at the Barclays Center makes any economic sense. 

Yormark recently spoke with Sports Business Daily's John Lombardo about his company, and how the Barclays Center has evolved since its inception five years ago. Everything has gone smoothly for the new arena except for the Islanders, who have not produced the numbers Yormark expected. 

"The economics just don't work," Yormark said. "It's a Long Island team trying to create a fan base in Brooklyn, and to date it has ben met with very modest success andnot at the numbers we have hoped."

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Picture ARod going on Fox in the middle of this Yankees playoff series, and saying he hears that Joe Girardi will be fired no matter what. Or Ron Duguay going on MSG Network early in this Rangers season, and declaring that Rick Nash will be traded before Christmas.

This just doesn't happen. Usually, former athletes straddle the line in their broadcast jobs when talking about their old teams.

But this is Islanders Country, where…oh, for once, can everybody just leave this franchise alone?

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock, Chris Botta
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Anders Lee tied the game up at two with a minute left, but the Blues earned the win in the shootout, 3-2, at the Barclays Center >> Read more

Tags: Anders Lee
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Islanders will carry the same lineup as last game against the Sabres with G Thomas Greiss starting over Jaroslav Halak in net against the Blues at 1 p.m. 

Greiss allowed five goals in the season opener against the Blue Jackets before head coach Doug Weight pulled him with Halak taking over. He gets a shot to redeem himself today. 

Tags: Thomas Greiss
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 (Nicole Sweet)
(Nicole Sweet)

Two teams hoping Saturday night victories were a sign of things to come will square off Monday afternoon when the New York Islanders host the St. Louis Blues in a Columbus Day matinee at Barclays Center.

The Islanders scored three second-period goals in a span of 1:47 in a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Saturday's home opener.

The host Blues, who also played their home opener Saturday, scored the game's first three goals in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

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Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Oct 7, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) scores against Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) in the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

John Tavares scored the game's first two goals to help set the pace for the Islanders in a 6-3 win over the Sabres on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.  >> Read more

Tags: John Tavares
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New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) shoots past Buffalo Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) during the second period at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Islanders begin their third, most pivotal and possibly even final season of playing home games at Barclays Center on Saturday night. They hope Friday night wasn't a harbinger of things to come.

A pair of teams looking to bounce back from season-opening losses will meet when the Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres.

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 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The Islanders also are hoping to make a run at the playoffs this season. They're led by captain John Taveras, who is in the final year of his contract, and they added Jordan Eberle in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers to provide more offense.

"I think we're a little more talented than we've been," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

The Islanders' top defensive pairing is Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy.

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

C Josh Ho-Sang will be a healthy scratch (with Jason Chimera in) on Friday night when the Islanders open their season agains tthe Blue Jackets in Columbus at 7 p.m.

Thomas Greiss will start in net over Jaroslav Halak.

On defense, Scott Mayfield is in with Ryan Pulock out.

Tags: Jaroslav Halak, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss
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 (John Geliebter)
(John Geliebter)

The players are no longer getting coffee in the locker room and whispering to each other, "Cappy still here?"

A third goalie isn't being stashed on the roster, and limiting the reps of the excellent No. 1 and 1As, because of the long-shot notion he's the next Patrick Roy.

As a result, and because of the simple fact that they have the player personnel to get it done in a conference that is not steeped in quality, the Islanders will qualify for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs...

Tags: Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Jaroslav Halak, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss, Chris Botta
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 (Paul Sancya/AP)
(Paul Sancya/AP)

Former Islander Mike Bossy thinks the team willl deal pending free agent and captain John Tavares if the team isn't in the mix around Christmas.

"If the Islanders are no longer in the run-up to Christmas," Bossy said, according to 91.9 Sports, "it's sure that Tavares is gone!" 

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter : Bossy, who no longer works in the Islanders organization, doing only spot-duty on behalf of Barclays Center, has pulled no punches over the course of the past year when discussing Tavares' potential departure from the only team he has ever known...

 

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New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy (2) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Barclays Center. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Islanders head coach Doug Weight not only has high hopes for Nick Leddy this year, but he also believes the defenseman can become one of the elite players in the entire league. 

Leddy, who finished last season with 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists), is entering his fourth season with the Islanders and eighth in the league. Weight believes he can only get better this year. 

"He should be in the conversation for those [All-Star] teams and Norris Trophies," Weight told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "He can skate, he can shoot, he's a savvy player as well. Maybe he doesn't have the deception of a [Brent] Burns or a [Erik] Karlsson, but there's probably three people in the world that do so I wouldn't hold that against him. He's right there in that upper echelon of D and he's going to be big for us this year for sure."

Tags: Nick Leddy
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Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (Brad Penner)
Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) (Brad Penner)

The Islanders open up their 2017-18 season on Friday night in Columbus. How will the season shake out? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss…


Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts

Alright, Andy. We're on the precipice of a new season, and everyone is curious how this campaign will go for the Islanders. Is it me, or are the outlooks that are rolling in for this team all over the map?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (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.

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New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg celebrates his goal during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. (John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony Beauvillier scored twice in New York's preseason finale as the Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 2:21 PHI Michael Raffl; Assists: Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier
  • 13:10 NYI Dennis Seidenberg; Assists: Cal Clutterbuck, Stephen Gionta

Second period:

  • 2:22 NYI Anders Lee (power play); Assists: Devon Toews, Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 3:07 NYI Anthony Beauvillier; Assists: Casey Cizikas, Adam Pelech

Third period

  • 0:32 NYI Beauviller (power play); Assists: Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock
  • 6:32 PHI Wayne Simmonds (power play); Assists: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek
  • 19:36 NYI Steve Bernier (ENG)
Tags: Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Cal Clutterbuck, Casey Cizikas, Josh Ho-Sang, Philadelphia Flyers, Stephen Gionta
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New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)
New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd (16) celebrates his second period goal with teammates forward Anders Lee (27) and forward Josh Bailey (12) against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory)

Anders Lee had two points, Mathew Barzal had three points and Jordan Eberle added the go-ahead goal in the second period to lead the Islanders to a 3-1 win over Sabres on Friday evening at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. >> Read more

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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

After years of veterans seemingly playing without fear of repercussions -- even over younger players who might have been out-performing their elder counterparts -- the Islanders find themselves entering the 2017-18 season under new leadership and counting on an infusion of young talent more than ever.

Doug Weight, speaking to the media on Wednesday after practice, said Mathew Barzal has done enough to make the team coming out of training camp. Weight is also happy with Ryan Pulock's preseason, even though he did add the caveat, "there's a pretty darn good battle going on back there for starting jobs" (via Brian Compton, NHL.com on Twitter).

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Islanders have submitted "a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination" at Belmont Park, NY, reports Jim Baumbach of Newsday. Bidders had until today to submit a proposal.

The Islanders can opt out of the remaining 23 years on their lease with Barclays Center in January. Barclays Center is reportedly unhappy with the Islanders as tenants, and the team has been seeking other options.

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV TwitterWhat was the worst kept secret in the NHL and all across New York and its surrounding suburbs became reality today.

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 (James Guillory)
(James Guillory)

The Islanders are just 10 days away from Opening Night, and the roster is beginning to take shape. What will the 23-man squad look like? SNY's Brian Erni and Andy Graziano discuss...


Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

Welcome back to another season of Shooting from Point Blank Range, my man. We had lots of fun with this last year, so let's kick this season off by taking a look at the 'almost' final 23-man roster, which needs to be finalized by 5:00 p.m. on October 3. With some cuts already made, and Bridgeport camp underway, you can make some strong assertions of who will make the team and who won't. Any thoughts on how it's shaping up?

Tags: Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, Calvin De Haan, Casey Cizikas, Jason Chimera, John Tavares, Josh Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Nikolay Kulemin, Ryan Pulock, Travis Hamonic, Andy Graziano, Brian Erni
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Islanders RW Josh Ho-Sang supports the NFL and NBA players who took action following President Trump's comments about kneeling during the national anthem. 

Being a Canadian, Ho-Sang can't relate to the athletes personally. But he does support their protest because they are standing up for what they believe in. 

"I think what the NFL players are doing is amazing. It's good that they're all sticking together," Ho-Sang told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "I mean, I'm Canadian, so I don't have too much input on the matter itself. It will affect me living in the States, but the biggest thing is it's unfortunate that the message may have gotten lost a little. Now it's becoming a battle between the NFL and the president and originally [the protests] started because of police brutality and the mistreatment of different races."

Tags: Josh Ho-Sang
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

If training camp ended right now, Mat Barzal would break the team with the big club.

After the Islanders' 3-0 preseason victory over the Devils on Monday night, head coach Doug Weight was asked, based on what he's seen so far, if Barzal would make the team. 

Brian Erni, SNY.TV Twitter | Archive Posts: I think we all wanted to see more of what Barzal could do when he got his look with the Isles early last year. But he seemed tentative in the mere two games he cracked the lineup, and with the team struggling, Jack Capuano didn't exhibit much patience before Barzal was ultimately sent back to Juniors.

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

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal recorded first period goals for the Islanders and they held serve the rest of the way to topple the Devils in a split squad game, 3-0. >> Read more

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

As the regular draws closer, the Islanders announced they have slimmed their training camp roster to 31 players. 

Michael Dal Colle was among the players cut from pro camp, as he was assigned to the AHL squad. The fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft tallied 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games with the Sound Tigers last year. He has yet to play in a regular-season NHL game. 

The team sent 11 others to the AHL, placed four players on waivers and cut six players on professional tryout contracts. 

Below is a full breakdown of the moves:

Tags: Michael dal Colle
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows has agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal, the team announced Friday.

The 19-year-old, who is the son of former NHL All-Star Brian Bellows, was the Isles' first-round selection (19th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

He had seven goals and seven assists in 34 games last year during his freshman season at Boston University.

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

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Doug Weight
Doug Weight

Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter

The Islanders are preparing to open their first full season under head coach Doug Weight in 2017-18, looking to return to the playoffs after coming within a point of making a third straight appearance last year.

What we have seen out of Weight during his 40-game run in 2016-17 and so far this summer has been a drastic change from his predecessor, Jack Capuano.

Practices are harder and more up-tempo with a clear focus on physicality and cardiovascular work. He doesn't seem shy about giving his young players responsibility and an avenue to succeed. He has brought a relaxed, casual yet business like feel to the dressing room, with the ability to reach and communicate with his players on a more personal level...

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 (Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)
(Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports)

In split squad games against the Flyers, the Islanders earned a 3-2 win at home while dropping an overtime decision of the same score on the road. >> Read more


Islanders-Flyers Game 1 (PPL Center)

First Period: 

  • 2:24 NYI: Matthew Barzal (Power Play); Assists: Joshua Ho-Sang, Ryan Pulock
Tags: Philadelphia Flyers
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