More twists and turns in the NY Islanders' Lighthouse Project negotiations

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snowandwang.jpgNew York Islanders owner Charles Wang has been striving for a new arena – or at least an improved situation for the team, which resides in the oft-critiqued Nassau Coliseum – for quite some time and hasn’t had an easy time dealing with officials in the area.

Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank chronicled the latest developments in the Lighthouse Project. First, he wrote that the City of Hempstead was far from cooperative with Wang and the Islanders.

The LHP’s 2,306 residential units have been dropped to 500. As PB forecasted, Hempstead is selling the idea of 5 million square feet, but that includes parking. Finally, as broken exclusively on Point Blank, the Lighthouse Development Group and the office of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano issued a joint statement slamming the pushback: “The Town of Hempstead’s new vision looks to be economically unviable to the developer and owner of the site.”

There might be a light at the end of the tunnel for the (cough) Lighthouse Project, though. Botta just reported that Mangano and Wang might have another trick up their sleeves.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano wants to partner with Charles Wang on a development that would consist of a new Coliseum and training facility plus an entertainment and gambling center the quality of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, sources have told Point Blank.

Determined to keep the Islanders in Nassau and find solutions for his budget crisis, Mangano knows Wang is his ideal partner. As a result, the first-year Nassau County Executive has become an Islander fan’s best friend. While Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray did not even mention the hockey franchise in her Lighthouse push-back statements in Monday’s editions of Newsday, Mangano is all about keeping the Islanders in their original county and where they won four Stanley Cups.

(snip)

For starters, Mangano is proposing quite a gift: a brand new arena for the Islanders to be built on the available 77 acres of property and be completed two years after the start of construction. The Islanders would not have to wait until 2015 to move in.

A state-of-the-art NHL arena/concert venue combined with a Mohegun Sun-like entertainment and gambling complex makes sense on a lot of levels.

Botta expands on that information here. It sounds like Wang has an ally in Mangano, so perhaps things will work out for the owner, the team and their fans.

We’ll keep you up to date as more information filters through.

Video: Pavelski gives Sharks the lead as they look to clinch berth in Stanley Cup Final

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Perseverance paid off for the San Jose Sharks.

Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, pushing home a loose puck on Brian Elliott after Joe Thornton was unable to convert on the breakaway seconds before.

For Pavelski, that’s his league-leading 13th goal of these playoffs.

The Sharks can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history with a win tonight.

San Jose increased its lead to two goals, as Joel Ward capitalized early in the second period.

Canucks trade Jared McCann to the Panthers for Erik Gudbranson

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Jared McCann #91 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on November 30, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers have made a trade — and it’s a big one.

As per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the two main components are forward Jared McCann, who just completed his rookie season with the Canucks, and 24-year-old defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who has played five seasons with the Florida Panthers.

Here are the details:

McCann is the second draft selection of the Jim Benning-Trevor Linden era, taken 24th overall in 2014. As a 19-year-old rookie armed with a big-league wrist shot, he scored nine goals and 18 points while averaging 12:31 of ice time per game in 69 games.

The Canucks had the option of sending McCann back to junior last season and not burning a year of his entry-level deal, but they chose to keep him in Vancouver for the entire year.

One particular aspect of his development, particularly this off-season, was a need to get physically stronger, which was something that could be exposed at times in the defensive end against bigger forwards.

Gudbranson, selected third overall in 2010 and signed to a one-year, $3.5 million extension earlier this month, certainly gives the Canucks size on the back end at six-foot-five-inches tall, a physical presence and a right shot on the blue line, but he has managed only 13 points as a single-season career best and that was in 2014-15.

The Canucks also gave up two picks in this year’s draft.

 

Vasilevskiy ‘is the big reason we’re in Game 7,’ says Bolts coach Cooper

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It has been an Eastern Conference Final full of twists and turns in the plot.

Exhibit A: The goaltending situation for both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins. 

That began right away, in the first period of Game 1 when Ben Bishop was stretchered off the ice with a lower-body injury. Since then, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been The Guy for the Lightning, which will face the Penguins in a Game 7, winner-take-all contest, in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Of the many storylines heading into this contest, one that stands out is it’s expected to be a goaltending duel between the 21-year-old Vasilevskiy and the Matt Murray, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday.

(Remember when Penguins coach Mike Sullivan went with Marc-Andre Fleury to start over Murray in Game 5, only to switch back to Murray for a must-win Game 6? Another plot twist.)

Bolts head coach Jon Cooper had previously left the door open to the possibility that Bishop could return in this series. On Wednesday, however, he told reporters he’ll meet with his staff but does not anticipate Bishop being in for Game 7.

“I think Andrei is the big reason we’re in Game 7,” said Cooper.

“He’s made big save after big save for us. The one thing that I do like that’s happened to him finally in this series is, you know, he finally started a playoff game and won, whereas his other playoff wins were always in relief, and he’s won in Pittsburgh. So you’ve got to like the kid feels pretty comfortable playing there, and we like that.”

WATCH LIVE: Blues at Sharks – Game 6

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues, Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks, and Joe Thornton #19 argue with a referee during the second period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The San Jose Sharks can make franchise history on home ice tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Win, and the Sharks clinch their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Lose, and it’s back to St. Louis for a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.

You can catch tonight’s Game 6 on NBCSN (9 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Tarasenko needs to start ‘playing within the system’: Hitch

On the brink of elimination, Blues turn back to Elliott

The Blues could sure use a goal or two from Tarasenko

Stanley Cup Final to begin Monday