New York State Press Office/New York Islanders

Graziano: Islanders Roster, Belmont Arena, Games Moved To Barn

Andy Graziano
September 27, 2019 - 2:47 pm
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Doesn’t it seem as if it was just yesterday, we were grilling up burgers in the backyard, wading into swimming pools or hanging at the beach with friends and family? How quickly things change as in just a week’s time, the 2019-20 regular season will begin for the New York Islanders when they host the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum.

The talk around training camp has had to do with Noah Dobson’s high hockey IQ, some caveats from head coach Barry Trotz on the steep learning curve to play proper defense in the NFL and how Joshua Ho-Sang seems to have finally gotten the message about how to play in Trotz’s system. Whether that translates into roster spots for the two is very much undecided at this late juncture. 

Final 23-man rosters are due by 5 pm ET on Tuesday, October 1 and in Dobson, the Islanders only have two choices - NHL or back to junior. With a complete logjam on defense and the market seemingly strong, you would think Lou Lamoriello would have little trouble moving Thomas Hickey out for some draft picks. It appeared over the summer that Nick Leddy would be moving, but he has had a very strong training camp and New York has yet to get overwhelmed with any offers for him. 

Johnny Boychuk is on the fringe too, with an almost-untradeable salary and aging bones and muscles that might benefit from being the seventh guy. It’s doubtful that he looks at it that way, but at a certain age in this league, sometimes reality slaps you harder than anything ever thought possible. 

With Ho-Sang, he was skating on what seemed to be an ‘extras’ line at practice with Oliver Wahlstrom and Simon Holmstrom, who are both ticketed to Bridgeport, suggesting that, at least for the start, Josh might be making the trip with them. Michael Dal Colle, who impressed last season after his call-up, was with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey, which could be an attempt to coax more offense from the young winger.

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It finally happened. Ground has been broken. And save for a few ‘standard procedure,’ waste of time lawsuits, he Islanders are finally getting their new home at Belmont Park.

The masses were on hand, including captain Anders Lee, to celebrate the future of the Islanders, a future that will allow them to remain right where they belong. Obviously, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin got exactly what they needed, proving once again, that in business, connections mean everything.

If they learn from the saga that was John Tavares and the mistakes made leading to his departure, they should be able to negotiate the waters more smoothly with franchise cornerstone Mathew Barzal, who is due to be a restricted free agent next summer. Ditto for Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews to a lesser degree.

I know it seems like Islanders fans are always wishing for the best, hoping for the best….in this case, it seems as if the team on the ice is supported off the ice, all the way to the dirt being excavated at Belmont.

For what it’s worth, it still wouldn’t hurt to keep those fingers crossed, yeah?

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The team announced last week that seven additional games would be moved from Barclays Center to Nassau Coliseum, bringing the total to 28 games at the old barn, doubling its offering in Brooklyn. It is an inevitable buildup to Belmont, however, I do wonder why they just didn’t announce all 41 there in the first place.

With Barclays never really investing in the Islanders nor the arena experience, can you imagine what those 13 games in Brooklyn will be like? One concession open on the upper concourse? An arena so quiet you can hear yourself breathe? At this rate, they should just shut down the main scoreboard to save electricity and just run the secondary boards above the two goals. 

The games being moved are as follows, for anyone who missed the announcement:

10/6 vs Winnipeg
10/8 vs Edmonton
10/27 vs Philadelphia
1/2 vs New Jersey
1/6 vs Colorado
1/16 vs New York Rangers
2/25 vs New York Rangers