An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Islanders and Belmont: Done Deal

The rumors of the Isles and Belmont have heated up a lot lately. According to Jim Baumbach yesterday, “The Islanders’ proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park was selected as the winning bid, according to people familiar with the situation.” Isles social media exploded in a bevy of excitement, “what ifs” and “finallys.” After a news conference was scheduled, an announcement was set at the race track around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, it definitely got the attention of Islanders Country. Even N.Y Governor, Andrew Cuomo was slated to be in attendance. The hard work and commitment of John Ledecky, Scott Malkin continued the efforts of Charles Wang and the Isles are finally on the road to stability and true free agent lure. Even more so than their then, life preserving move to Brooklyn. Billy Joel, John Tavares and Cal Clutterbuck are expected to attend as well.

It’s now official with the official press conference scheduled for 11 am today. So Jim Baumbach tweeted the letter of approval from the Empire State Development to ‘NYAP’ or the New York Arena Partners to redevelop the 43 acres detailed in the proposal. “NYAP proposes to build a mixed-use entertainment complex that will include an approximately 60,000-square foot, 18,000-seat multi-use arena that will be home to the New York Islanders; a 435,000-square foot retail, dining and entertainment village; a 193,000-square foot hotel; and 10,000 square feet of offices and parking (see Proposed Site Plan attached). The proposed project and any contractual documentation remain subject to all public approval processes as required by law, including but not limited to review by the ESD Directors.” It should also be noted that there is a group of residents trying to file a lawsuit to challenge the project.

Per Jim Baumbach, “State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who co-hosted a hearing on the dueling proposals last week, said the development would benefit Elmont, Floral Park and the communities surrounding Belmont Park … Governor Cuomo, my colleagues in government, and I have worked very hard to make the best use out of Belmont,” Kaminsky said in a statement. “I believe that tomorrow’s announcement will benefit Long Island and the surrounding communities.”

“Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran, a Democrat who takes office Jan. 1, said she was “excited to finally welcome the Islanders home to Nassau County, and I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo for helping make that possible.”

We Know John Ledecky has said the Isles will finish their obligation at the Barclays Center next season, but with the time crunch necessary to build a new facility, would that be enough time? Probably not. Per Baumbach, “The team is currently negotiating with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, on amending their lease. The window for those negotiations, according to their lease, closes on Jan. 1 and both sides have until Jan. 30 to formally deliver “opt-out” notices, a formality at this point.” But wait, that’s not all. Russ Cohen (@sportsology) told NHL radio the Islanders would be allowed to play at the 13,900 seat, $160M renovated NVMC as a bridge deal for a year while the new arena is constructed. What are your thoughts?

But in order for this whole endeavor to be a true success, the complete destination package needs to exist around the new $1 Billion dollar Islanders-centric complex. More infrastructure around roadways and railways will need to be tweaked to make the transition more seamless. A new rail station was said to be in the plans, but the costs could cause a problem. In a Newsday editorial, the possibilities for profit are there, but it won’t be easy.

“…Belmont’s little-used LIRR station is on a short spur off the Main Line — one track in each direction. The station got an upgrade two years ago, after it couldn’t handle the prior year’s crowds, but it likely will need work, too. And it’s at a congested spot between Queens Village and Bellerose. Although there are four Main Line tracks, the spur only feeds into the southernmost, eastbound track. For trains to head west, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will have to find slots between existing Main Line train traffic and likely build new track infrastructure. Even then, managing the train traffic will be complicated.

A full-time station is on the state’s radar screen and the MTA is willing to try, but it likely will be expensive. Public improvements such as these can be paid for through future property tax revenue from the development. And it’s possible that Genting New York LLC, which operates Aqueduct’s Resorts World and wants to use the expanse of land there to expand its casino and amenities, could play a role in funding Belmont’s needs.”

Failure at the new “Stable” (Thanks Brian Nystrom of Real Islanders Fans) is not an option and there is more at stake than just a new building for the Islanders. The extension of John Tavares was said to partly based on the move and we all know what a key piece of the future Tavares is to the Islanders. Will it be enough for Tavares? Andy Graziano sums it up well. “Pretty simple as it stands currently re: Tavares. Organizational ownership secure, practice rink five minutes away, new building approved 15 miles away, cap space no issue, contract length no issue...becomes all about how he feels about team's chances to win.”

New York State and the Empire State Development group needed to buy into this process and despite politics and lobbying, the success of the project is something many in local and state government are counting on. “It’s a chance to add economic vitality to what’s now asphalt, and to boost that entire Queens-Nassau border area with a new Long Island Rail Road station that can become a public transit hub.” That hub should bring business to the race track, shopping, restaurants and public facilities for a long time to come. And best of all, it means the Islanders are officially back on the Island and their hard work and results in the win column are sure to help them gain status on the ice. Now all we need is for the defense and especially the goaltending (Greiss, 2nd to last in 5v5 sv%) to get back on line. Last night’s let down against Detroit is proof positive of that. The Isles are now last in gaa with dismal 3.50 goals per game surrendered, last on the normally solid PK at 72.3% and have gone 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. I am pretty confident in Weight’s leadership and the staff will have to figure out what components need changing and what systems need reorganizing.

Per Chris Botta, “Congrats to #Isles and their fans. Biggest day for the team in a generation. Ledecky and Malkin’s wisest step was knowing they couldn’t do it alone. A collaboration with Wilpon, Dolan, Leiweke, Azoff, Luukko and others - and deep connections to Cuomo - got it done.” John Ledecky has been an approachable and visible man of the people since taking over his part of the majority team ownership. Carol Schram of Forbes magazine recalls when the shot was fired across the bow. “Islanders owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky called Belmont their “singular focus” at a media luncheon in October, signaling their strong commitment to bring their team back to a location less than 15 miles from its old home at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.” 

He has made the rounds on the political side, the organizational side, made the trips to the newest state-of-the-art arenas in the hockey world as part of his homework and made himself available to Islanders fans on the train and around the concourse to hear what they had to say and share his own story as a fan. I am sure all of Isles Country feel as I do when I feel so fortunate to have a champion of the cause push this organization to the next level and give it a serious chance to become an elite franchise in the NHL. The pieces are almost all in place. Let’s hope the organization can honor Al Arbour in the naming of the new Arena.

John Tavares had this to say on the Belmont news “Great for organization, players, our families but mostly our fans and fan-base. Much deserved, where identity is. Won't determine or change anything at this point regarding my personal situation.” Tavares is having a huge year with Lee and Bailey and the team looks good, but do they look good enough for Tavares?

With Arena future in hand, the all-important John Tavares watch continues, but one thing is certain. We as fans once again deserve to celebrate the long enduring and hard fought coming of age. The Islanders have a legitimate and permanent place to build in their image and call home.

Thank you for being among the faithful and keep that snarl. We are going to need it.

Isles Notes:

Per NHL Player Safety, “Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for spearing NY Islanders’ Scott Mayfield.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Star Wars Night: Isles & Sound Tigers Style

Most of my supporters here at KoC know I am a member of the 501st, an official Lucas Film costume group that make appearances for charity and promotions for Star Wars sponsored events. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Star Wars nights at the Webster Bank Arena, home of the Isles affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers as well as a Star Wars night at the Barclays Center for our own New York Islanders.

Now, I realize a man dressing like a plastic spaceman might seem nerdy to a few of you and maybe even a bit of a mid-life crisis, but let me make my case. Since I joined the 501st in 2015, I found it a hugely rewarding experience. Not only do I get to be around selfless people who share my childhood passion, but we also work hard to help local and national charity’s raise money for many causes that are near and dear to my heart. And having my wife and personal friends join up and participate makes these events even more special to me.

As members, we put together movie quality costumes that meet strict standards of Lucas Film and the 501st. We meet at local or NY based locations from Long Island to the Hudson Valley and lend our support through fundraising, charity work and volunteering for select appearances. I can’t really explain in words how a Troop (the term for one of our appearances) helps reinforce the spirit of a child, their family or someone whose health or situation has made life a challenge, day in and day out. 

I’ve gone to Sloan Kettering Hospital, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Intrepid Museum community events or local Library’s and have had profound experiences that I’ll never forget. While I won’t get into the specifics of my experiences from a children’s cancer ward or an event to support the homeless, I can share a brief visual history of my Troops in Bridgeport and In Brooklyn from the last few weeks. It might help you see why what we do means a lot to a great many people.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers Star Wars Night
Our Dressing Room on BST Star Wars Night

Some Unforgettable Fans

New York Islanders Star Wars Night

Our Dressing Room on Isles Star Wars Night

Me and the Maestro

The Fans and Friends Experience

Relationship Goals. My wife and I making a difference.

If you think you might have what the Empire is looking for, go to (@501ecg) and (@501stLegion) for more details. In the meantime, see you here at KoC and on the concourse.

TI13222 Signing Off ...

Oh, and I'll have a full Isles to Belmont official announcement blog up tomorrow after the press conference.

Per Jim Baumbach of Newsday, "The hockey team was informed Tuesday that its proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park in Elmont was selected as the winning bid, according to people familiar with the situation." 

Isles Notes:

Calvin de Haan had an MRI and has been listed as day-to-day. Per Arthur Staple, “Isles will look at all options, cited Toews and Aho in BPT, but feels seven D they have up now can make up for CdH’s absence.” Thomas Hickey has been taken off IR and will most likely get a conditioning sting with the BST.

Per Chris Botta, “Isles announced attendance in Brooklyn this week: Mon: 11,000 Wed: 10,000 Sat: 13,000 Nassau Coliseum isn’t an NHL building, but neither is the Barc. There’s your argument for playing in Nassau next few years before Belmont. Bet Tavares would be all for it, too.”

12/15   Isles recalled Bernier and sent Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport.
Per Arthur Staple, “Weight said today he needed more "professionalism" from his bottom two lines. Translation: More consistency and stability. JHS was starting freewheel last few weeks. Bernier will not for however long he's up.”

Per Brian Compton, Weight: "We're running with Jaro a little bit. He's earned it. It doesn't have to be a controversy. The fact is he's playing pretty well right now. He's going to play the majority until things change."

Sound Tigers Notes:

Eamon McAdam (G) has been reassigned to Bridgeport from the @RailersHC.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Belmont or Bust: A New York Islanders Story

On December 10th, Stefanie Dazio and Jim Baumbach released some of the details in tweets (featured in Newsday) from the proposal presentations held at Elmont Memorial High School before 100 or so attendees and elected officials. Proposals from the New York Islanders organization and New York City FC. Those details were related to the site available at Belmont Park and how the organizations commented on their development plans and projections for their future ‘would-be’ facilities on the 43-acre state owned site. Both the Islanders and NYCFC vowed to create more local jobs and set aside space for community outreach and events. Neither presenter went into details on costs or financing at the time.

Per Newsday article, “The Islanders’ proposal includes an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would host 150 events annually, as well as 435,000 square feet of space for retail, a hotel with 200 to 250 rooms, and a 10,000 square-foot “innovation center” that would be developed with input from residents.”

“NYCFC, a professional soccer team partially owned by the Yankees, is calling for a 26,000-seat open-air stadium in addition to 400,000 square-feet of space for retail, a 5.2-acre community park and a 2-acre soccer facility.”

“Both teams’ plans call for opening the Long Island Rail Road’s Belmont Park station year-round. The teams would build north of Hempstead Turnpike, adjacent to the train station.” That LIRR station would also include park & ride and Isles group promised to work with MTA to make it a reality.

The Q&A saw both teams explain why their plans were most the beneficial use of the property. The Islanders group included Sterling Project Development (Wilpon) and Oakview Group (MSG funded) as developers. A year-round outlet store-retail village, entertainment district, sports fields and a Hotel were included in the plans for a state of the art Isles facility built by residents and unions. Populous would be the arena’s designer. Jason Carmello’s firm designed the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

“Per Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet, “A representative from Populous, the design firm in charge of the Islanders’ new proposal, stressed the fact that the potential new arena would correct many of the issues that drove a wedge between the public and the Islanders’ current home in Brooklyn.

‘A couple of elements that’ll make this a great, special hockey venue will be the enhanced sightlines which are dedicated around an NHL ice sheet,” the representative said, according to a video of the presentation posted by Newsday’s Jim Baumbach. “And it will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, like ice-sheet systems.”

Per Newsday article, “The Islanders expect to bring more than 5,500 temporary construction jobs to the site with 2,000 full-time, permanent, year-round jobs. NYCFC said it would need 4,500 temporary construction jobs and have 1,600 direct and indirect jobs through retail and the soccer stadium.” Both organizations balked at the idea of build a dual-purpose facility for their franchises and said the joint venture would not be “feasible.”

Islanders co-owner Jonathan Ledecky reiterated that Isles organization “have blinders on for Belmont.” The team has until January 25th to enact a built in opt-out clause from their 25-year lease with the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. No matter what, an interim deal needs to be struck if the Isles intend to move and the new facility needs to be built. I’m doubtful on the reality of the Coliseum, but Barclays could be short term option if a deal could be struck. The Islanders have recently completed a $60M renovation of the Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park and unveiled it on October 31st of this year.

The Isles minor league affiliate, BST intends to stick around as well. This only shows the commitment of ownership to stay right where they want to be. And wait. There’s more. The Sound Tiger’s home facility, Webster Bank Arena has entered into a partnership with Mohegan Sun in an exclusive, multi-year partnership.

There were about 20 protestors outside the presentation that they wanted the site reserved for education, research and technology centers built on the site instead of sports complex of any kind.

NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman was quoted as saying, "Scott Malkin (Isles Co-Owner) bought the team to have the team to have the team in New York. He didn't buy the team to have it anywhere else."

The Empire State Development Corp has provided no timeline for its decision. Neither has John Tavares. 

Keep the faith.

Isles Notes:

After a 3-1 win vs Washington last night, the Islanders are currently 2nd in the Metro with a 17-10-3 record and 37 pts. in 30 games.

Per Eric Hornick, The Isles are 9-1-2 at home (best in NHL) and they have scored 54 goals at home in 12 games this season (4.50/game) and “have scored at least five goals eight times at home (7-1-0) and twelve times overall (11-1-0). The Isles scored five goals (including shootout winners) in only 10 games all last season.”

Per NHL PR, “John Tavares scored his 18th goal of the season to help the @NYIslanders improve to 9-1-2 at Barclays Center in 2017-18. He trails only Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov for the most goals in the NHL this season.”

Mathew Barzal has drawn 17 penalties (1st among rookies and 4th in NHL). Josh Ho-Sang has drawn 9, putting him in top 6 among rookies, playing in just 20 of Isles 30 games this Ssn.

“Doug Weight is now 41-22-7 as an NHL coach. On December 4 in Florida, he reached 40 wins faster than any coach in Islander history.”

Isles have Dallas tomorrow night at home and at Columbus on 12/14. They will host at the Barclays Center for six of next seven games, taking them through December 27th.

Sound Tigers Notes:

12/7  The Sound Tigers have recalled Yanick Turcotte (F) and loaned Patrick Cullity (D) to the Worcester Railers.

# # #

Happy Hannukah to those who celebrate.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Why the Islanders Offensive Output Lines Up

Some 23 games into the 2017-18 season, our New York Islanders are 3rd in the Metro, 2 pts out of 1st (Devils) and sit 5th in the east for playoff positioning with a 14-7-2 record around the Thanksgiving holiday with 30 points. They have won 3 straight, are the only NHL team to remain undefeated at home (7-0-2) and have a +10 goal differential. Per Eric Hornick, “The Isles are 7-0-2 at home in regulation, matching their best-ever record through 9 home games (7-0-2 in 1978-79 and 8-1-0 in 1984-85).” I guess we can just call the Barclays Center, Fort Neverlose, Brooklyn. Their offensive snarl has been the biggest factor to their success so far this season and has kept them undefeated when scoring first with a 9-0-0 record. They lead the Metro with 84 goals scored (3rd in east behind TOR 88 & TBL 86) and are getting contributions from several sources, going 5-1-0 in their last 6 games over a 10-day period.

The Isles top two lines are buzzing and, to me, it’s about skill and chemistry. Josh Bailey is on fire, leading the Isles with 28 points (5 & 23) in 23 games and 10th in league scoring. Captain and elite playmaker, John Tavares, 11th in league scoring, has 26 (15 & 11). And if anyone needs further proof of what the JT-JB combination can do, just look at the video from 1st O.T. winning goal against Philly at the Barc from 11/22. The still improving Anders Lee has 23 (12 & 11) pts and has become a priority for opposing defenders. Would be, Calder candidate, Mathew Barzal leads the NHL for rookie with 6 & 17 for 23, has points in 15 of his last 18 games and has more points than players like Austin Mathews and Sidney Crosby with 22 each. Per Hornick, “Barzal now has 2 point streaks of at least 5 games this season -- only NHL rookie to do so.” 

Jordan Eberle (17 pts in 23 games and team high 3 gwg) has scored 2 goals in his last 3 games and 9 in his last 15. Andrew Ladd is a +8 (tied with Boychuk for team +/- lead) with 11 points (5 & 6) and has helped anchor a solid 2nd line chemistry. Nick Leddy has once again taken center stage on the Isles blue line and should be given Norris consideration with an impressive 20 points (6 & 14) and has a league leading 8 multi-point games as a defensemen. Islanders' statistician, Eric Hornick points out, “An Islander defenseman has earned a point on 11 of the team's last 12 goals.” Hornick also adds, “With 21 points in 23 games this season, Leddy is averaging .91 points/game … No Islander defenseman without the surname of Potvin has ever averaged .91 points/game over a full season (Denis did it 10 times and Jean once).”

The Islanders PP is 12th at 21.9%, having clicked for six straight games. Their normally dominant PK is 16th in the NHL at 80%. The Isles are just 27th in face off percentage (46.9%) and turn the puck over often, tied with Buffalo with a league leading 7 short handed goals allowed. On the goaltending side of things, Jaroslav Halak improved to a 6-6-0 record with a 2-1 win against OTT. Halak has a 2.96 gaa and .903Sv%. Thomas Greiss has been solid as a starter, winning 5 straight with an 8-2-0 record (3.34gaa and .903Sv%.)

The Islanders will face the Vancouver Canucks at home on Tuesday. It will be the first head-to-head meeting of the two (currently) top scoring rookies, Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser.  On Friday, Ottawa comes to Brooklyn. The Isles start a 4-game road trip (in 6 days) on Monday, 12/4 against FLA, TBL, PIT & BOS.

Isles Notes:

Face-off specialist and lock down player, Casey Cizikas left the game against OTT with a lower body injury early in the second period and did not return. He is being evaluated.

Isles Prospect Report.

11/16:  Josh Ho-Sang emergency recall has been terminated and changed to regular recall.

Isles placed Nikolay Kulemin on IR (upper body), retroactive to November 7, expected to be out for 6 months.

And after the smoke cleared, the Isles got Barzal, Beau and Eberle for Reinhart and Strome.

Eberle:  Per Edmonton Journal, “The Edmonton media can be pretty brutal and your confidence goes and this is a game you can’t play if you don’t have confidence. It’s that simple. It’s the Edmonton Oilers and everything around it. When you read the articles every day about how much you suck, its tough … It affects you and I lost my confidence. The biggest thing for me since I got here (New York) with the Islanders is trying to get that back”.

Sound Tigers Notes:

The BST Bridgeport are now 10-7-1 so far this season and 7-2-1 in their last ten games.

Bridgeport amphitheater approved by council.

Shameless 501st plug:  I hope to be at the BST Star Wars Tribute Night on 12/2 again, this time with the 501st Connecticut Garrison. Be sure to stop by and say hello to the 181st Tie Pilot ;).

NHL Notes:

Per Michael Farber, “NHL was formed 100 years ago today at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal with the Original 4: @CanadiensMTL, MTL Wanderers, @Senators and the snappily named Toronto Hockey Club.” More Centennial information can be found here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

How Islanders Improved: My 5 Keys

What’s bigger news than Matt Duchene finally being traded last night after only 3 shifts on the ice in Brooklyn to a team that’s not the Rangers? I would say that our New York Islanders have been winning games. They are currently 4th in the eastern conference (8-5-1 with 17 points) and two points out of first place with two games at hand. After a decent, but mostly lackluster start, struggles to score, hold leads, apply pressure, tighten up defensively and a PP that was a dismal 0-20, New York put a few things in line to start their trend towards the top of their division. They’ve also been impressive in some problem areas and have showcased some big-time performances by Vets and Young Guns along the way. Tonight, I want to share my 5 keys to the Isles latest surge and talk about the assets that have finally clicked all at once helping to aid the surge.

John Tavares:  When asked once again about a contract extension, the trade deadline and the chances of relocating, he answered the same way he always does. “Not from my standpoint,’’ he said. “I don’t expect to be traded or want to be traded. I want to play here. That’s my goal, it hasn’t changed . . . I’m here as an Islander, really enjoy being the captain and try to give these guys everything every day.’’ Tavares had a slow start, but has come on to lead by example as expected with 18 points (12 & 6 with a +3 rating, a 25% S% and a 50% rating in the FO circle) in 14 games.

Mathew Barzal:  Mathew Barzal has 13 points in last 9 games and is the first Isles rookie to score five points in a single game since John Tavares (2-3-5) did it on Mar. 16, 2010. Barzal had 5 assists against the Avalanche last night and it was the first time an Islanders player accomplished that feat since LaFontaine did it in 1990. Per Eric Hornick, Barzal “is the first Isles rookie in at least 30 years to have 13 points in the first 14 games of a season.” Barzal also now has a 5-game point streak (2-8-10). Barzal spoke to reporters after last night’s win. "It's a pretty cool thing to do," Barzal said. "I'm growing more confident every day and nights like tonight don't really hurt. I'm just trying to fit in and make an impact." Barzal continues to be a standout rookie and asset for New York. I forgot to remind everyone that Avs GM,  Joe Sakic wanted Hamonic, Barzal, Sorokin and a 1st for Duchene.

Coaching Staff:  Per Eric Hornick, “Doug Weight is now 32-17-5 as an NHL coach. On October 28 in Nashville, he reached 30 wins faster than any coach in Islander history.” His new look staff has the Isles keeping it together and starting to make some significant noise in the east. Whether it’s shuffling lines, working on face-offs, special teams (PP 8th at 22.4% and PK 13th at 81.3%) or just pushing for his players to play a more disciplined game that had been lacking before, Weight has made a difference after taking over as coach & doesn’t hesitate to call them out as a group and make the difficult choices to support what he wants from his team on the ice. Demoting Josh Ho-Sang was not a popular move among fans, but Ho-Sang has 5 points in 5 games (2 & 3) with the Tigers and is a +2. Exactly what he needed to work on and he has responded so far. The Islanders have gone 3-2 since Ho-Sang was sent down and the turn overs continue, but they have played better as a unit and their PP has vastly improved. But they still have some major challenges to work on. The goal-tending could be better overall and if they could just buckle down on a league high 6 SHGs (4 for Halak and 2 for Greiss) surrendered and 4th worst 0.5 takeaway/giveaway rating.

Offensive Depth with a newly effective Power Play: The Islanders are 3rd in the NHL for goal scoring (54), scored in 17 straight periods and the 3rd has been the most impressive for New York, with 16 goals for in their last 7 games. The offensive attack has been varied and balanced. Tavares and Bailey have 18 points, Lee (50% FO%) and Barzal (48% FO%) with 13 and Eberle, 11 and Nick Leddy has 10 after just 14 games. Josh Bailey (3 & 15 for 18 pts) is on pace for another huge season. Bailey was named 2nd star of the week (1st time being named an NHL star in career) and is riding an NHL high 9 game point scoring streak. Josh Bailey is the first Islander with 15 assists (currently 2nd in NHL) in the first 14 games in the last 30+ seasons; he now has 3 consecutive multi-assist games and has tallied 11 assists in the last five games. – Hornick. Per Arthur Staple, “Since the start of 2016-17, Josh Bailey has 56 assists. Only 10 players have more — McDavid, Backstrom, Karlsson, P. Kane among them.” As a team, the Isles have scored 6 goals for the third time in 4 games. More importantly, it appears they have finally found their PP touch. “The Isles' power play scored on both of their opportunities and is now 9-16 (56.3%) in the last four games after starting the season 2-33 … They are 5-1-0 when they score at least one power play goal and 3-4-1 when they dont.  The Isles are 5-2-0 when they allow at least one power play goal and 3-3-1 when they do not.” – Hornick. They have scored 2 PPG in each of their last 4 games. Wow. I pinned the success of the team on the PP this year. Lets hope this is for real. And maybe they can find a way to win a few more face-offs throughout the line up.

Home Ice Advantage: Despite the constant complaints about the poor ice at the Barclays Center, wavering attendance and enough off-ice Arena uncertainty to make most fans crazy, Our New York Islanders are 52-23-13 (5-0-1 so far, this season) since moving to Brooklyn at the start of the 2015-16 season. After last night’s “mostly” thrilling win against the Avalanche, The Isles hold a 25-5-4 record against western teams who come to Brooklyn and the Organization still can’t wait to leaveLong standing rumors have the John Tavares extension based on a stable relocation that includes a custom-built NHL compatible arena, in which the Islanders would be able to hang their many proud banners. There is no official time table for the Belmont approval, but Isles co-owner John Ledecky has set his sights there and nowhere else. After a $7M upgrade to their practice facility, Ledecky and Isles brass have started an infrastructure to make the Isles a first-class organization that will attract fans and free agents alike.

The Isles face Edmonton at home on Tuesday at 7 pm in front of the New York Isles faithful. 

Advantage: Islanders.

Isles Notes:

Shane Prince practiced with the Isles today.

VGK, Griffin Reinhart was put on waivers 10/29. Reinhart trade turned into Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier for garth Snow and the Islanders.

Per @Zeb_Habs, “Linus Söderström, Isles goalie prospect gets the nod for the National team in the Karjala Cup tournament.”

Former Isles Captain, Mark Streit announced his retirement on Oct.30th and is returning to Switzerland.

The BOAHC, @Section_329 need your support: It's time once again for their annual food drive, from now until 11/19. A collection to donate to those in need will take place at any Isles home games. Go to section 228/229, to any of their posted viewing parties or contact Craig Richardson, James Francis Fess or Tom Ballantyne for more details. #BOAFoodDrive

NHL Notes:

Calgary Flames place Travis Hamonic on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 2.

Sound Tigers Notes:

“Sebastian Aho scored four times last weekend and goaltenders Christopher Gibson and Kristers Gudlevskis each recorded a shutout as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (6-5-0-0), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, swept a three-game series against the Providence Bruins and Springfield Thunderbirds.

The Sound Tigers outscored their opponents 10-2 over the weekend, including Aho's three-goal performance on Sunday, which put the 21-year-old into Bridgeport's record books as the first Sound Tigers defenseman to ever record a hat trick. It was also the first time Bridgeport has registered a hat trick against the Bruins and team's first overall since Alan Quine did it on April 2, 2016.”


Matt Gaudreau (F) has been loaned to the @RailersHC.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Josh Ho-Sang Reassigned to Sound Tigers

After the Isles 5-3 win over Arizona, Head Coach Doug Weight said Josh Ho-Sang could be back in the lineup on Thursday when New York visits Minnesota to face the Wild. This afternoon, the Islanders sent Josh Ho-Sang down to Bridgeport. While Anthony Beauvillier got a full season to make his case last year and any of Mathew Barzal’s shortcomings are over-shadowed by his developing offensive threat level, something in Ho-Sang’s game must not be sitting right with management. Its clear age has nothing to do with it. Beauvillier and Barzal are a year younger than Ho-Sang, but are playing their games and getting big minutes. So, you can ask yourself, why was Josh Ho-Sang scratched twice at home, then sent down? I have a poll on twitter to gauge fan reaction and will update this article when the results come in tomorrow.

Ho-Sang is clearly a dynamic forward that can control the pace of a play and move the puck well, enabling his team to score points. He even had 4 points in 6 games and was tied for the team lead in assists going into last night, but he wasn’t shooting enough (6 shots on goal), needs to improve defensively, make better decisions moving the puck and avoid regular turnovers, 6 in his last 6 games. Not earth shattering based on the turnovers committed by other current veteran team mates, but the Isles need him to be better and I’m sure he knows he must be better as well. He has matured a lot over the past year and is a favorite of Coach Weight by media reports. He will get his chance and should take this time to do what Anders Lee did when he was sent down to the AHL during the start of the 2014-15 season, netting 5 points in 5 games. Produce, work hard and impress management while creating chances regularly enough to never be sent down again.

Because he doesn’t need waivers, he was sent down to the Islanders AHL affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers to work on his game and what probably amounts to allowing him to get some premium minutes in big spots for the BST. I know he needs reps with the big club to fine tune his game at the NHL level, but he also needs to get the message. I get the frustration seeing older players, not in the future plan, getting playing time while Ho-Sang is scratched and now demoted, but the team moves players in and out based on injury, need and accountability.  I also see resentment of fans with Alan Quine making the trip to Minnesota (Staple) while Ho-Sang goes to the BST, but there is a plan for the team on the ice and in the locker room. Each player needs to be a working part of the machine and mesh with one another. I also realize Ho-Sang’s game play and snarl got him drafted 28th overall in first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Isles in the first place, but he needs to take the next step to be taken seriously as a pro. I’m not saying Ho-Sang has been backsliding as a player, just that he has room to improve his game if he wants to be a regular contributor on this team. I have no clue why the determination to send him down was ultimately made, other than to tighten up his play and get more big minutes available on the farm.

Let’s look at a defensive model with other young players. Ryan Pulock was a regular scratch, then helped the team get its first PP point after starting 0-20 and has begun to make a case for himself. I’ve always said Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield were closer to a regular role with the team and I think they are proving it. Dennis Seidenberg had a great season with New York last year and he was signed on short term to see which one of the young defenders would secure their spots, especially with talented Calvin de Haan on a bridge deal heading into next summer. The benefit of competition is that it gives each guy a chance to out play the other. It doesn’t work when the player in question isn’t given a fair shake or get enough of an opportunity to prove his worth. Josh Ho-Sang should be a big part of their success moving forward and hopefully makes the most of his time in Bridgeport.

The Islanders are 5-3-1 with 11 points in 9 games (3rd in metro division, 5th in eastern conference) and have scored 10 goals in their last two games and won their last three. John Tavares is trending upwards in a big way coming off his 7th career hat trick and leading the team with 10 points in 9 games played. Brock Nelson scored Isles 1st PP goal at home this season, Jordan Eberle is the team leader in assists with 6 and had his first multi-point game an Islander while Scott Mayfield opened scoring for Isles defensemen (1-4-5 pts/Hornick) for the first time this season. The team is far from perfect, needs tons of improvement on the PP and more of that ever-elusive consistency, but they are starting to do more things to keep them in or climb back in to a game lately. It’s a start.

Isles Notes:

Per Eric Hornick, “Adam Pelech had three primary assists as he became the youngest Islander defensemen with a three-assist game since Kenny Jonsson as the Isles improved to 3-0-1 at home, matching their best home start in 33 years.”

Arron Asham sat in with Shannon Hogan for intermissions & post game during Coyotes game.

Wilpon donates to Cuomo campaign with eyes on new stadium.

Jonathan Ledecky reveals location of proposed Islanders’ arena at Belmont.

10/14   Ken Hitchcock passes Arbour in on NHL’s all-time list with 783 victories.

Sound Tigers Notes:

Steve Bernier, Scott Eansor & others have been big factors lately.

10/11   Eamon McAdam (G) has been reassigned to the @RailersHC.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Isles Arena News: Ownership Answers Yormark, Adds Intention is Belmont

On October 9th, Brett Yormark of the Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment group gave an interview to John Lombardo of Yormark contends his aim is a Brooklyn centric approach to marketing the Barclays Center. When asked about the Islanders relationship while playing at the Barclays, Yormark said, “The economics just don’t work. It’s a Long Island team trying to create a fan base in Brooklyn, and to date it has been met with very modest success and not at the numbers we have hoped.” In January, Bloomberg News reported, "the owner of both Barclays and the Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, shared a financial projection with prospective investors that showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season.

John Ledecky, co-owner of the New York Islanders responded in kind with Newday. “I guess he’s saying that perhaps that the people on his side didn’t make a good deal … Unfortunately when the facility (Barclays) was built it was not built with hockey in mind,” Ledecky said.” The bad ice coupled with the many obstructed views and bad sight-lines has been a sore spot for most fans since the Islanders signed a 25-year lease in 2012 (started in ’15-16) that has an opt out clause built into the agreement for either side.

Yesterday, Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky wrote how Ledecky feels about the Islanders and their future venue plans. Those plans are to focus on putting a new state-of-the-art building on the Belmont property. Per Kevin Maher on Ledecky, “Islanders will win the RFP for Belmont site. At one point he corrected himself while talking to say "when we win it."

“We are locked and loaded on Belmont,” Ledecky said at a luncheon with reporters in Manhattan. “We have blinders on for Belmont. We are not looking at other places or other opportunities. We want to make Belmont a reality.” Newsday repeated, “The Islanders last month confirmed that they ‘submitted a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination at Belmont Park.”

Brian Compton’s point is well taken on other destinations or rumors the team will move, “Ledecky and Malkin have pumped $60M into practice facility. Doesn’t sound like a team leaving town to me. Ledecky said he wants his legacy to be getting this building done and winning more Cups.” He wants it to be a legacy project for the franchise in an area that is “strategically located” with easy access to LIRR.

Jon Ledecky says Isles are contractually obligated to play at Barclays Center next year. He had no comment when asked where the team would play if the Belmont bid was turned down or even accepted and not ready for the team the following season. Per Newsday, “Ledecky said the Coliseum, which underwent a $165 million renovation and seats 13,900 for hockey, was not in consideration, citing its capacity and lack of luxury boxes and suites. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said last month that the Coliseum “is not a viable option” for the Islanders, even on a temporary basis.”

“Nassau and Suffolk lawmakers have urged the team to return to the Coliseum, with many expressing concern that a new Belmont arena could irreparably hurt the Coliseum’s ability to attract shows and drive revenue to the county.” Ledecky says total focus is on securing Belmont arena.

“We don’t want to be nomads,” he said. “We don’t want to be wandering folks. We want to be in our own home in a custom-built arena.” I think John Tavares and a legion of fans would agree.

The most used KoC JT picture in blog history because its awesome.

Isles Notes:

The Islanders are 1-1-1, 3 games in and sit 6th in the Metro ahead of the Penguins and last place NYR. They play in Anaheim tonight at 10pm, SJ (10:30pm) on Saturday and LA on Sunday at 10:30pm. They conclude their road trip against the Rangers in MSG on Thursday, 10/19 at 7pm before a 2 game homestand against SJ (10/21) and ARI (10/24).

Sound Tigers Notes:

Eamon McAdam (G) has been reassigned to the @RailersHC.

The Islanders had 22 AHL grads on their opening night roster. There were 640 league wide.