Posts Tagged ‘new york islanders’

The New York Islanders sent former first-round pick Joshua Ho-Sang down to the AHL on Wednesday, the team announced.

Unlike his previous demotion, in which Ho-Sang was returned to the OHL because he slept in and was late for training camp, it appears his alarm clock went off Wednesday morning, as he was a participant in the Islanders’ morning skate, according to Brian Compton of NHL.com.

In six games with the Isles this season, Ho-Sang has zero goals, four assists, and six shots on goal while averaging 13:28 minutes of ice time per game.

He’ll return to Bridgeport, where he played 50 games a season ago, recording 10 goals and 36 points.

New York used the 28th overall pick on Ho-Sang in the 2014 NHL Draft, but he has played in just 27 NHL games thus far, picking up 14 points.

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The New York Islanders appear to have a temporary arena plan in place.

Co-owner Jon Ledecky confirmed the club will remain at Barclays Center in Brooklyn until at least the end of the 2018-19 season, according to Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post.

Additionally, the Islanders remain wholly committed to building a new arena at Belmont Park, which is just outside of New York City, as per a bid submitted in late September.

What happens after next season and prior to the opening of a new rink remains a bit of a mystery, but a move back to Long Island appears to be out of the question.

The Islanders have called Barclays Center home since 2015-16. Along with the long-term arena uncertainty, the team faces the prospect of losing franchise center John Tavares to unrestricted free agency next summer.

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The New York Islanders are one step closer to finding a new home.

The Isles say they’ve turned in “a comprehensive proposal to create a world-class sports and entertainment destination” at Belmont Park, according to Jim Baumbach of Newsday Sports.

The Islanders had played their home games at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island since 1972, but began playing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015-16. The facility was built primarily for basketball, and has drawn some heavy criticism for hosting NHL hockey.

Belmont Park, located just outside New York City and about 20 minutes from the old Coliseum, has been under discussion as a possible location for a new arena since April.

The Islanders’ ownership group is reportedly visiting Detroit on Thursday to tour the new home of the Red Wings, Little Caesars Arena, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.

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John Tavares will keep an eye on the business side of hockey this season.

The New York Islanders captain, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018, is willing to negotiate terms of an extension during the regular season, he told NHL.com’s Brian Compton on Thursday.

That obviously gives both sides a much bigger window within which to reach an agreement, although a bit of a cloud of uncertainty will hang over the situation until a deal is reached with the Islanders or otherwise.

Ownership has made it clear the face of the franchise won’t reach a state of free agency, while Tavares recently stated things are a lot more complicated than people realize.

Meanwhile, the countdown to July 1, 2018 rolls on.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Part of the deal between Nassau County and Barclays Center, where the Islanders play now, but which operates the renovated Nassau Coliseum, is that the Islanders either play four regular-season games and two preseason games at their traditional home, or the county gets an extra $1 million in rent.

Because Sunday’s preseason contest between the Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers is the only scheduled NHL action at the Coliseum in 2017-18, Nassau County is getting its extra million bucks.

Sunday’s game also was little more than a tease. Gary Bettman said earlier this month at the Winter Classic press conference that “my gut reaction is it’s not a viable option” for the Islanders to return to an arena that got a $165 million renovation but still has many of the same issues as it did before the Islanders moved to Brooklyn, simultaneously 22 miles and light years away.

John Tavares nearly blew the top off the old barn when he scored his second goal of the game, an overtime winner to give the Islanders a 3-2 verdict. The level of sound in the old barn is the same as ever when the building is full, and the sellout crowd serenaded the Islanders all the way off the ice.

“It was pretty close to what we had in the playoffs,” Tavares said. “It was through the roof coming out in warmups and certainly the start of the game. Hearing the ‘Let’s go Islanders’ chants and the ‘Yes! Yes!’ chants (for goals) were prominent again. This fan base has got a tremendous identity, and they don’t want to lose hold of that. As players, we recognize that, and we want to reward them with good hockey, so this was fun.”

During the break between the third period and overtime, the fans made their opinion known, loudly chanting, “BRING THEM BACK.” The chant rose up again after Tavares’ game-winning goal.

“They certainly wanted to be heard,” Tavares said. “That’s above my pay grade, but I think certainly this place is very meaningful to this organization and the identity of this organization for a reason.”

 

The identity lives on in the Islanders’ logo, which has not changed since the move to Brooklyn. The tip of the “I” in the word “Islanders” points directly to the location of Nassau Coliseum. Keeping the team’s identity exactly the same is one of the reasons the move has felt half-baked for a lot of people, and why a return to Nassau County, even for an afternoon, was priceless.

“It means a lot,” said Matt Mead of Rockville Center, wearing a vintage Dave Scatchard jersey. “It’s kind of sad, because you know we’re going to have to head to Brooklyn after this, so it’s nice to have one little last hurrah here. It’s a good turnout, and I got to see a lot of old friends that I haven’t seen in a while.

“I’m enjoying it. It’s a 30-minute train ride to get to Brooklyn – it’s not that bad, but I miss coming here, tailgating, being with friends and family. Brooklyn’s a little bit of a pain.”

That pain is measurable in the fact that the Islanders ranked 28th in the NHL in attendance last year, at 13,101 per game, 82.9% of capacity in Brooklyn. That was down from an average of 13,626 (86.2%) in the first season in Brooklyn, while the Islanders averaged 15,334 per game, 94.8% of the final-season capacity at the Coliseum.

Sunday’s crowd of 13,917 not only filled the Coliseum, but the parking lot as well. Arriving in the morning, fans set up their tailgates and Islanders flags flew all over.

“I think we had a good sense that was going to happen,” said Tavares, who owns 89 regular-season goals at the Coliseum, plus five in the playoffs. “That was such a great part of Islanders hockey and who the Islanders are, is a lot of weekend afternoon games or evening Saturday home games, people out in the parking lot with a lot of space, just enjoying the atmosphere of what it was to be an Islander fan. It was great that they got to enjoy that again.”

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Connor McDavid was disappointed to see two teammates and friends get traded, but he understands that’s just part of the game.

The reigning Hart Trophy winner is still processing the departures of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, who were traded away in separate deals about a year apart.

“It never gets easier,” McDavid told Postmedia’s Mike Zeisberger. “Jordan’s a great friend. We’re really close. He did a lot for me coming in as a young guy, taking me around Edmonton and kind of taking care of me.

“It’s never easy to lose a friend like Jordan or Taylor. It sucks.”

Eberle was sent to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome on June 22, and Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils on June 29, 2016 in a controversial deal for defenseman Adam Larsson.

McDavid said he was first struck by the frequency of player movement back in his junior days.

“Two months into my second season my roommate got traded. And for me, it was like: ‘This is insane … You can’t get close to anyone.’ It was so hard for me.

“And then a week later, my other buddy got traded. So, it was like two of my best buddies in the whole world on the team got traded in a week. So for me, it was kind of a rude awakening.”

The 20-year-old superstar knows it’s a reality of the sports world, but the departures haven’t stopped him from keeping in touch with his former teammates.

“Now, in the past two seasons, losing (Hall) and (Eberle) and all these different guys, it just goes to show you that it is a business,” McDavid said. “But friendships do last. I talk to Taylor all the time, I was at (Jordan’s) wedding … so, like I said, friendships last. Those are the types of bonds you get when you are on a team.”

McDavid and Eberle played together for the last two seasons, and Hall played with McDavid during the 2015-16 campaign. Hall and Eberle were teammates for six seasons beginning in 2010-11.

All three players were first-round picks, with McDavid and Hall going first overall in 2015 and 2010, respectively. Eberle was Edmonton’s 22nd overall selection in 2008.

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Gary Bettman doesn’t sound keen on the idea of the New York Islanders returning to their old barn for the long haul.

“I don’t view the Nassau Coliseum as a viable option,” the NHL commissioner said Friday at a press conference announcing next year’s Winter Classic at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., according to Newsday’s Jim Baumbach and Steve Zipay.

“Ultimately, whether or not the Islanders want to consider that and bring it to the league or something, you’ve had to ask them about it,” Bettman said. “But my gut reaction is it’s not a viable option.”

Nassau lawmakers held a press conference of their own back in July in an attempt to woo the Islanders back to their original arena, even as a temporary solution.

The club will soon submit a proposal for a brand-new facility at Belmont Park. Bettman declined to specifically address that possibility Friday.

“The Islanders have very good options and they’re in the process of evaluating what makes the most sense for the franchise and their fans,” he said.

Bettman did say he believes the New York metro area can support another arena.

The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as it’s officially known, has been renovated over the last couple of years since the club left for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2015.

If officials with the Brooklyn-based facility want to opt out of their 25-year lease, as they’ve reportedly considered, that would have to happen before Jan. 30, according to Newsday.

The Islanders will play a preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on Sept. 17 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but Bettman said Friday he doesn’t think playing additional games there “makes a lot of sense.”

The club has dealt with several issues at Barclays Center, including piping systems that don’t meet NHL requirements and poor sightlines.