Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Emily Sadler of Sportsnet,
Tavares, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2018, had a clear response when asked about a possible future with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I would not count on that,” Tavares told Sportsnet’s Andrew Walker during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Tuesday.
"I think I've always showed my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island. I'd love for that to continue for the long haul," he said. "I think you look at some of the greatest players in the game, they have been able to spend their entire careers somewhere and I hope I'm in that same position.
"Obviously being from Toronto, people are going to make those connections...It is what it is. It's nothing I can control. I just want to go out there and be the best player and best person I can be for the Islanders, day in and day out, and I'm just going to focus on tomorrow and the upcoming season," said Tavares, whose Game 6 overtime winner in April helped New York to its first playoff series win in 23 years.
from Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg,
The New York Islanders are in talks with the owners of baseball’s New York Mets about building a hockey arena adjacent to Citi Field in Queens, people with knowledge of the discussions said.
Willets Point is emerging as a persuasive alternative to the team’s current home at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center if the Islanders’s owners and arena officials can’t agree on a series of hockey-specific improvements, said the people, who asked for anonymity because the negotiations are private.
The team’s first season at Barclays Center, which is owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, was marred by poor reviews from fans, who complained about obstructed view seats, and from players, who who said the quality of the ice was sub-par. The team’s owners also realized they couldn’t make as much money as their league counterparts, most of which play in bigger arenas.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
“I think he was a young man when he got that job. Now he’s got white hair,” Ledecky said of Snow. “He cares deeply about the Islanders, and he cares deeply about putting a winner on the ice, and he cares deeply — we talk about it — I want, and he wants, and Scott wants John Tavares lifting that Cup over his head. That’s the purpose every single year. Now there are no excuses. In the past, you could say: salary cap, because of Nassau [County politics], constraints with this, that, and the other. We’re sending a clear message: He has the resources.”
“We like the progress that they’ve made, but there is a performance test, right?” Ledecky said. “They have to keep performing, and we define performing as progressing. We won our first playoff series in 23 years, we made it to the second round. If the puck bounced a couple ways differently, we would have made it to the semifinals. But we’re eighth in the league in points over the last two years, we made the final eight, and that’s the standard now. They have to progress. You have accountability. There is accountability for performance. The fans demand that.”
The fans also have demanded accountability from their new urban home, which was met with a significant amount of surliness at the start of their inaugural Brooklyn season. Yet as the playoffs progressed, the atmosphere got better, much to the delight of Ledecky and Malkin.
But the out-clause in the team’s contract with Barclays still looms heavy in the air, making it easy for the Islanders to leave after the 2018-19 season....
I now have two healthy kids, and both of them were born on Long Island. I grew up there, and bought a home and started my family there. I’ll never forget my time as an Islander. It was so special to me. Thank you so much to all the Isles fans who stuck with us through thick and thin. Your loyalty meant so much to me and the team.
The next chapter in my life begins now. I’m not the same 19-year-old kid I was when I stepped into the arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, and thankfully I don’t have the same haircut. I’ll be bringing my family to Buffalo and I’m so excited to put some roots down in the 716. I’m looking forward to getting involved in the community and having my kids grow up in Western New York.
-Kyle Okposo at The Players' Tribune where you can read more from Okposo.
What’s a bit funny to see are the many pundits and list-makers lauding the Sabres and Wings for bringing in Okposo and Nielsen while downgrading the Islanders for losing both.
Had the Isles signed Okposo and Nielsen to those deals (and Martin as well), there would have been exactly zero new faces on the Island this coming season. Total status quo with nearly $14 million in cap space gone to lock those three up.
Would the list-makers have put the Isles on the “winners” side for making no changes? Would you?
-Arthur Staple of Newsday where you can read more on the Islanders.
from Joe McDonald of ESPN,
Despite the team's loss to the Lightning, Hamonic's decision to stay was a good way to start the offseason. When free agency opened on July 1, Okposo, Martin and Nielsen signed elsewhere. Those three players were major contributors to the team's success, but Snow was quick to react when he signed Ladd, 30, a two-time Stanley Cup-winning forward; Chimera, who brings a ton of experience, grit and leadership; and the return of Parenteau, who played on Tavares' right side from 2010-12. The Islanders also inked promising 23-year-old restricted free-agent center Shane Prince to a two-year deal worth an average annual value of $850,000.
Still, not everyone is optimistic about the direction of the team. One Eastern Conference GM said in a text message. "he wasn't a big fan" of the moves. "Ladd 7 yrs is crazy. Lost better players to UFA. "
Another Eastern Conference executive wasn't sure the Islanders were closer to contention. "Tough call," he wrote in a text. "Typically a conference finals berth signifies true contention."...
It's likely Snow could trade veteran netminder Jaroslav Halak, 31, who has two years remaining on his current deal worth $4.5 million annually. He suffered a severe groin injury in early March and missed the remainder of the season, and Greiss took over the job between the pipes.
Moving Halak will give Snow much-needed cap relief, even if it means acquiring only a draft pick in return. After beating the top-seeded Florida Panthers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in April, the Islanders proved they are on the cusp of becoming a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.
“Obviously there’s a lot of thoughts that go through your head, as the time ticks away here, you wonder what’s in store for you and your future. You still hope something can get done [with the Islanders], but it’s a business. I never thought it would get this far, but this is how these things go.”
-Matt Martin, soon to be a UFA. More on Martin from Arthur Staple of Newsday.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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