Posts Tagged ‘new york islanders’

image1

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.

Advertisements

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.”

connor-mcdavid-1

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.

image

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.

cut3

The ongoing contract saga between John Tavares and the New York Islanders seems to be farther from a resolution than ever before.

Last week, it was reported that the two sides had yet to even discuss financial details of a new deal, and this week, Tavares himself fanned the flames of speculation.

“Things are a lot more complicated than they think,” Tavares told Brian Compton of NHL.com. “I think everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s circumstances are different, but you look at some of the situations with guys in similar situations that I’m in, it doesn’t always happen the first day or that first month. It takes time.

“It’s a big decision in your life and you want to make sure you’re thorough and you understand everything going forward, so I think anybody making any decision like this in life would approach it the same way.”

Before Tavares commits to the Islanders long term, it’s obvious he’s waiting to see where the club will even be playing its future home games, as the team is expected to put forth a new arena proposal for the Belmont Park site within the next few weeks.

“I’ll take everything into consideration,” Tavares said.

“When the time is right, it’ll all work out. It’s hard for me to just sit here and say what-ifs, because I don’t like to look at it that way. You obviously have an idea of the future and things you want to understand and have an idea, but at the same time, I really try to live in the present.”

Unless the Islanders and Tavares have some unforeseen breakthrough in contract talks over the next few months, he will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2018.

image

John Tavares says he’s no longer in a hurry to agree to a contract extension with the New York Islanders.

“For me, there’s really no rush,” Tavares told Newsday’s Arthur Staple on Wednesday. “I’m trying to determine things, let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal and it’s been good so far.”

The Islanders captain said back in April that he’d like to get a new deal done “as soon as possible,” and while he is under contract with the Islanders for one more season, he’s been eligible for an extension since July 1.

Tavares told Staple he’s waiting to see how the club’s potential bid for a new arena in New York’s Belmont Park plays out. The state issued a request for proposals for development of the area on July 30, and while the Islanders are expected to propose building a new facility there, the bids aren’t due until late September.

Newsday reported back in the spring that the club was likely to offer the star forward an eight-year extension worth upward of $10 million per season, and Tavares essentially confirmed Wednesday that an offer of that length is on the table.

“The possibility with Belmont and that RFP coming out, there’s great potential there,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes. A lot of those things are out of my hands. Some things I don’t try to worry about them too, too much. I’m just a hockey player. I try to be as best prepared as I can be. It’s a big decision obviously because it’s eight years of my career, really entering into my prime years and a great opportunity for myself to achieve what I set out to achieve when I was a kid, making it to the NHL, wanting to win a Stanley Cup and wanting to do that with the Islanders.”

Tavares will become an unrestricted free agent if he’s not signed to an extension by next July 1.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

A group of local lawmakers is proposing the New York Islanders return to Nassau Coliseum, the barn which the team called home for more than 40 seasons before it uprooted for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in 2015.

Nassau and Suffolk county lawmakers will hold a press conference Friday, urging the firm redeveloping Nassau Coliseum to make the required upgrades needed for the Islanders’ return.

“We have been assured by (developer) Nassau Events Center that they are very willing to make necessary modifications to accommodate an NHL team,” Nassau lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Islanders’ ownership, according to Robert Brodsky and Jim Baumbach of Newsday.

Seating capacity was a primary concern why the Islanders left Nassau Coliseum, a 1971-built arena that had 16,170 seats. The ongoing renovation has reduced it to 13,000. The Winnipeg Jets are home to the NHL’s smallest arena by seating capacity, coming in at 15,294.

In a statement to Newsday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Nassau Coliseum is not a “suitable option” for the Islanders.

However, the move to Brooklyn has not been without its own concerns, as the arena was initially built for basketball, leaving many seats with an obstructed view of the Islanders’ ice surface.

The Islanders have a 25-year lease at Barclays Center, but can opt out of the agreement as early as 2018. In April, the team submitted a request for proposal to build a new arena at Belmont Park in Nassau County.

While the location of the team’s future home remains uncertain, the Islanders will play at least one more game at Nassau Coliseum, as it was announced last month that the arena will host a preseason game next season between the Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.