IPB Podcast: Anders Lee calls in

tavares quick

Jonathan Quick sings John Tavares’ praises

Jonathan Quick has two Stanley Cups to his name, so suffice it to say, he doesn’t impress easily. Unless, of course, he’s watching John Tavares on the ice.

In the second of his two part series for The Players Tribune, Quick breaks down who he feels are the best snipers in the NHL.

“Just like with [Sidney] Crosby, Tavares doesn’t kill you with one thing, he kills you with how insanely balanced his game is in all aspects,” Quick writes of the Islanders’ captain. “Tavares can deke you, or roof a shot, or make a great pass, or if nothing is there, he’ll do the smartest thing and chip it in deep to live another day. He’s similar to Crosby in another way, too. He’s one of the most tenacious guys I’ve ever played against. A lot of guys that skilled might choose to work the perimeter and wait for their linemates to open up space for them. Tavares gets right into the dirty areas and mucks it up. You’ll see him score just as many greasy goals as pretty ones.”

Brian Erni

Of course, we know lots of these guys who appear on The Players Tribune are assisted by ghost writers, but the sentiment behind the carefully-crafted words still equate to high praise from one of the NHL’s best netminders. Quick is right: Tavares gets plenty of those dirty goals in front of the net, and I think that’s one of the aspects of his game that make him so beloved by the Islanders’ faithful. He isn’t Alex Ovechkin, who is standing at the dot waiting for a feed. He’s right there, creating space for himself and his teammates, and it makes everyone on the ice better.

Quick also praised JT for how sturdy he is on his skates, and it’s remarkable to think about how far Tavares has come from his rookie season in that aspect. Back in 2009-10, he spent a lot of time on his behind, as he got knocked off the puck in the corner seemingly-countless times. But he worked so hard to combat that weakness that it’s now one of his strongest attributes, which is a true testament to JT’s determination.


Extra LIRR service being added for Islanders’ home games

NHL: Preseason-New Jersey Devils at New York IslandersThe Long Island Railroad will be adding extra service to and from Barclays Center during Islanders’ home games this upcoming season (Newsday, Aug. 3).

The LIRR will add two additional eastbound trains to Farmingdale and Babylon that will depart Atlantic Terminal 20 minutes after the end of weekday home games. Fans looking for other lines will transfer at Jamaica. In addition, two west bound trains will be added to the schedule on the weekend along with two extra eastbound trains after games.

“Throughout the Islanders relocation to Barclays Center, we have made it a priority to ensure that the team’s fans on Long Island follow the team to Brooklyn,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said in a statement, according to Newsday. “We are proud to partner with the LIRR to announce additional trains that will make that process easier and more convenient for our Long Island fans.”

Yormark hinted on Twitter last month that an announcement regarding train service for Islanders’ games would be forthcoming, and fans would be happy about it (IPB, July 23).

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

As Brian Erni speculated last month, Barclays Center and LIRR have added trains that will run directly from Atlantic Terminal to two major hubs on Long Island. This should make leaving the game a bit easier for fans who have to head back to Long Island.

The trip to Brooklyn isn’t the tough part, rather the journey back home can be a bit dicey at the later hours. Trying to make connections at Jamaica can be tough, so the addition of extra trains and two additional direct routes will hopefully mitigate some of the hassle.


Claude Lapointe will miss Coliseum, still wonders what could have been

Claude Lapointe was one of the few Islanders mainstays in the lean years of the late ’90s and into the early 2000s. But Lapointe has nothing but found memories of his time at the Old Barn.

Lapointe, who played in a celebrity softball game hosted by the Frank Catalanaotto Foundation at Bethpage Ballpark on Sunday, said he’ll miss the Nassau Coliseum (Aug. 3).

“Overall, I have nothing bad to say,” Lapointe told Newsday’s Jordan Lauterbach of his time on Long Island. “I had a great [seven] years here on Long Island, and I feel sad that they have to move to Brooklyn […] At the Coliseum, it was special. There was a few games where I felt the intensity of the atmosphere. It was totally different than anywhere else. I only have great memories.”

Lapointe, who won team’s Bobby Nystrom Award three times (1997, 1999 and 2000), said he often still wonders what the Islanders of the early ’00s could have achieves had Michael Peca stayed healthy. Peca tore his ACL in Game 5 of the first round of the 2002 Eastern Conference playoffs as a result of a nasty hip check by Toronto’s Darcy Tucker.

“You speculate a lot when you look back five, 10 or 15 years later,” he said. “It would have changed a lot of things.”

Brian Erni

I, too, always wonder what would have happened if Peca had never been on the end of that Tucker hit. He was such an integral part of that 2001-02 team, and — at the time — was one of the best two-way players in the game. Unfortunately, Peca was never the same after that hit. It’s a shame, too, because I think there was enough firepower on that team to win a playoff series in that three-year window before that lockout had that not happened.

It really is great to read Lapointe is doing well. As someone who was in the building 20-25 times a year during the late ’90s, it’s hard to properly put into words what he meant to this franchise. Those were some very dark times for this organization, but Lapointe was a consummate professional.

He never wanted out of his situation here. He just wanted to make it work on Long Island. When the Isles clinched their playoff spot in 2002, I remember feeling so happy for him and Kenny Jonsson, two guys who struggled through it all and finally saw the light at the other end of the tunnel.

new coliseum

The new Coliseum complex could have a corporate name within 30 days

Say goodbye to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum as you knew it.

The Islanders’ lease with the building ended this past weekend, and Forest City Ratner’s redevelopment of the Old Barn will begin after the Billy Joel concert on Tuesday. Thanks to a report from the Sports Business Journal, details are beginning to surface on what the new tenants have in mind for the inside of the renovated Coliseum (Aug. 3)

SBJ’s Don Muret said the management group for the arena — Nassau Events Center, which is run by Brett Yormark — intends to bring premium seating and concession offerings to the refurbished building. Included in these plans is “A Taste of Long Island” program, that presumably will feature vendors from throughout the Island.

Brooklyn’s feel will also be felt throughout the look of the arena. The design and construction will be done by the same firms that gave life to Barclays Center, and — when completed — the walls inside the concourse will incorporate the same dark colors that can be found in the Islanders’ new home.

But the look may not be the biggest change. Yormark told SBJ that he expects to announce a naming rights deal in the next 30 days. Late last year, Newsday reported that the refurbished building would keep its name, but the surrounding complex would have a sponsor.

“We wanted to be respectful of the community,” Yormark told Newsday’s Robert Brodsky last December. “Keeping the existing name is the right thing to do.”

Brian Erni

Okay, deep breath, everyone. I know that Yormark isn’t a favorite among a good chunk of the Islanders fan base, and I doubt renaming the building site will ingratiate him to those who don’t have much of an opinion. I suppose, some will argue, it’s not that big of a deal. The Islanders will be gone, and unless you head to the Coliseum for some other concert or live event, most fans won’t interact with the remodeled arena that much. But to say that ignores how entrenched that building is in the fiber of many Long Islanders.

To me, the Coliseum always felt like home. It wasn’t corporate like Madison Square Garden. It felt like a place you could escape the constant bombardment of ads and hashtags and the like. Renaming it — even if its just the complex that surrounds it — after some faceless, soulless corporation just doesn’t sit right with me. Especially because of the name it has carried for 43 years. I guess it could be worse if it turns out to be just the surrounding complex. And maybe I’m just being naive. After all, what new building opens with a non-corporate name (save Yankee Stadium) anymore, right? But it just feels wrong, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: I’ve had one reader ask me if the lease is predicated on retaining the “Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum” name. From my reading of the December Newsday article, that does not appear to be the case. Rather, it’s a decision Yormark and company seem to have made. That said, I think it’s fair to remain skeptical that the building will keep it’s name until a naming rights agreement is announced. In light of this, I’ve updated my above reaction to allow for the benefit of the doubt.

game 6 goal

The Hockey Writers make five bold predictions for the Isles

With a little over a month before training camp opens, it’s a season of predictions, and at least one outlet is very high on the Islanders.

The Hockey Writes released their five bold predictions for the Isles’ 2015-16 season, and they include an Art Ross Trophy win for John Tavares, a Kyle Okposo trade before the calendar turns to November, and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

“I am here to advise Isles’ fans to be excited and dream big,” John Gove writes. “After years of patience waiting for the young team to develop, it is now the Islanders’ time. The team is gaining more postseason experience as a unit and they will most certainly make it out of the first round next spring. I predict that New York will compete in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whether or not they could win a seven-game series against Stamkos and the gang is unknown but the Islanders will sure give them a run for their money.”

Brian Erni

The trip to the Conference Finals wouldn’t surprise me. I think the Isles could have gotten there this year had they found a way to pull off a Game 7 win in Washington. With another year of development under their young forwards’ belts, there’s no reason why the Isles can’t make a run at being this year’s Lightning. In fact, I think those two franchises are destined to do battle in the Eastern Conference Finals a few times before it’s all said and done.

I was surprised to see the Okposo prediction, but it wouldn’t shock me at all. If you look at some of the deals handed out to forwards this offseason, it’s clear Kyle is ready to cash in. I don’t think Garth necessarily wants to move Okposo, but he knows that he can’t let him walk away for nothing, and the longer he waits, the lower his value goes. It’s going to be a situation that looms all season long, potentially without a resolution.


Home No More: Nassau Coliseum sheds Islanders banners

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

For 43 year the Islanders have called Nassau Coliseum home. After the 2014-15 campaign ended, the team began their migration west to Brooklyn.

On Saturday, their departure became complete with the last signage of the team’s presence at Nassau Coliseum coming down. Former Islanders Point Blank lead writer Kevin Schultz tweeted out a picture of a barren Nassau Coliseum.

A “Home of the New York Islanders” banner used to occupy the upper exterior of Nassau Coliseum, along with advertising. The team’s lease with Nassau County ended on July 31.

The Islanders, arena management company SMG and Nassau County agreed on a $3.5 million settlement over back payments due to the county by the hockey club and SMG. The deal was agreed upon on the final day of SMG’s lease with the county.

Developer Bruce Ratner assumed management control of the outdated arena on Saturday and will make his first lease payment on Monday, according to Newsday.

The Colisuem’s final act will be a Billy Joel Concert on Tuesday in which ticket prices on the secondary market have skyrocketed.


The ‘YES!’ chant is featured in NHL 16

The ‘YES!’ chant has become a part of Islanders culture, and it’s now immortalized in EA Sports’ NHL 16.

The Isles posted this video on their social media channels on Thursday:

Brian Erni

That’s great. The best thing about the YES chant (and, as many of you know, I think there are many) is that it came about very organically. It started with a smattering of fans, then caught on to the extent that the whole arena was doing it. Now, it’s ingrained in the fabric of the fan base. Last season, it was a great way for the players to reciprocate the love they felt from the fans, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect rallying cry.

Now, I wonder if those video animated fans can tell me how the obstructed views at that one end of the ice are…