Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Islanders captain John Tavares was happy about his nomination for the Hart Trophy, but it did not take away from his disappointment about the team’s season ending sooner than expected.
Tavares was named a finalist for the award on Wednesday night before Game 7 of the series against the Red Wings and Lightning, and the former number one overall draft pick wasn’t quick to let his teammates know about the nomination. Ryan Strome only found out from overhearing him on a telephone call.
“Nice guy,” strome said with a smirk. “I’m happy for him. He’d have my vote every day. I see how hard he works and how special he is, and how much he means to this team. He does everything and a lot of stuff you guys may not see. He means a lot for us and I hope he wins it.”
“I hope I get to celebrate with him this summer.”
The 24-year-old Tavares finished in the top of the league in points and goals during the regular season. His 38 goals were fourth best in the NHL and his 86 points were only second in the league to Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. To read more of this story, click here
What’s was it like for Sydney Esiason to bring home her boyfriend, Islanders forward Matt Martin, to meet her dad, former NFL quarterback, current WFAN host and Rangers die hard Boomer Esiason?
“I was really nervous to bring him to the house, that he played for the Islanders was a main concern of mine,” Sydney told the NY Post. “My mom welcomed him with open arms, of course. She’s the sweetest person ever. My dad walks in to the kitchen with a Brad Richards Rangers jersey on acting like this is what he wears every day, like it was totally normal and just said, ‘Hey, Matt, how’s it going?’ and shook his hand. It was actually great because it broke the ice.”
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After a first round exit against the Washington Capitals, the Islanders are determined to use the let down to springboard toward future playoff success.
“I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been,” Ryan Strome said. “Now that I’ve got a taste [of playoff hockey], I’m hungry for more.”
“We certainly thrived from Isles fans this season, but they deserved more from the playoffs this year,” captain John Tavares added.
In addition to thinking about how they can get themselves further, the Islanders will have revenge on their minds when they eventually meet the Capitals again.
“There’s definitely some hatred built up there now.” (Staple, Apr 30)
I’ll admit, I’m still bummed out about the Game 7 loss. But I have to say, when I hear guys like Tavares and Strome talk about avenging this defeat and finding a way to get themselves deeper into the postseason, it sounds like more than just lipservice. Tavares is such a competitor and he puts winning above all else, and his tight-knit relationship with Strome has really seemed to have results in JT’s determination rubbing off on Ryan.
Remember: it took the Dynasty Islanders five seasons to go from young, hot upstart to champions, and that’s one of the best clubs of all time. With key players locked up and more youth on the way, it seems like we’re just at the tip of the iceberg on what the Islanders can become. The players know there’s work to be done, but I feel like — in the wake of this year’s disappointment — this is the group is more committed than ever to getting to the next level.
Packing of Coliseum has begun…
It’s a question that has been on some fans’ minds all year: Could Mike Babcock be the next coach of the New York Islanders? But after the Red Wings were ousted by the Lightning in Game 7 of their first round series Thursday night, the speculation will start to churn even harder for those ready to move on from Jack Capuano.
Like most New York coaches, Capuano faces constant scrutiny. His sometimes-puzzling lineup decisions are based on perceived-chemistry and superstition, two aspects that don’t fly in the modern, analytic-driven hockey world. He’s not a big name, and — as a result — is the object of the “can’t get them to the next level” argument. Those criticisms — some fair, others too soon to tell, in my opinion — reached a fever pitch in the wake of the Islanders no-show in Game 7. And now, the “Fire Cappy” faithful has the perfect muse to project their visions of greatness on.
Babcock has 950 NHL games under his belt, 527 of them wins, for a staggering 242 games over .500. He has his name etched on the Cup, courtesy of the Wings’ 2007-08 season, and has two other Finals appearances to show for it. Detroit has offered him an extension that would pay him $3 million per year, but the organization and Babcock haven’t found common ground yet. And even better? Immediately following their elimination on Thursday, Babcock seemed like he was looking for an opportunity that would give him access to more young players.
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Brian Compton and Christian Arnold discuss the Islanders’ dismal showing in Game 7, including the absence of Anders Lee, the disappearance of John Tavares, and the lack of a power play. Plus, the guys chat with Isles’ radio voice Chris King (10:05) about the loss in the final year of Nassau Coliseum.
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Bruce Ratner wants to break ground in four months on the re-developed Nassau Coliseum, but there are some obstancles to clear before that can happen.
According to Newsday, the lease Ratner signed with Nassau County requires various conditions to be met before his group can begin construction.
“Ratner has to attract and sign a lease with an American Hockey League team; establish project labor agreements; finalize financing, including his plans to bring in $90 million in Chinese investment and any Industrial Development Agency aid he is expected to ask for; and receive all town approvals on detailed plans and environmental reviews for the Coliseum and its ‘plaza,’ the area surrounding the arena.”
In March, Brett Yormark said that the new Coliseum would open with a University of Kentucky basketball game in December 2016.
That’s a lot to get done in four months. And, with some of those items on the checklist subject to town approvals, we know all too well that things are likely to drag on. The easiest on the list is probably an AHL lease. I had heard speculation that the Sound Tigers were likely to move across from Bridgeport, and that still wouldn’t surprise me, though I have no idea what their lease at Webster Bank Arena looks like. But this makes Gary Bettman’s pessimism surrounding this project
make a lot more sense.
Like I said last week, don’t bank on the fact that Ratner’s vision will ever quite be realized. Even if it is, it’s very far from a sure thing that the Islanders will ever play more than a preseason game in the renovated Barn. As much as it’s great to dream about the day the Isles return to Nassau, — for better or worse — Brooklyn is the only certainty in this franchise’s future.