Is Kansas City a Plan B if NY Islanders' Lighthouse Project falls through?

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wangislanders.jpgWhen Kate Murray, the supervisor of Hempstead Town, unveiled a plan that would greatly reduce the scale of the Lighthouse Project, it was seen as a big blow to New York Islanders owner Charles Wang’s plan to make the team more profitable.

As we discussed on Monday, the team is looking at some backup plans, but one city that is floating back into the discussion is Kansas City. KCTV5 in Kansas City has the latest buzz.

According to WNBC in New York, if the New York Islanders proposed arena deal falls through in Hempstead Town, N.Y., Kansas City could be a potential destination for the NHL team to move.

The supervisor of Hempstead Town, Kate Murray, unveiled a proposed zone for the county-owned land surrounding Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The new zoning plan would halve the size of the Lighthouse Project, the name of the proposed arena and development, and could potentially make it more difficult to for a developer to make a profit.

If the Lighthouse Project were to fall through, WNBC says its sources say Kansas City and Queens could be locations where the team could play. The Islanders played the Los Angeles Kings in an exhibition game in fall of 2009, a move some believed was for Islanders ownership to explore the Sprint Center as a potential new home.

A development group has already started to make plans for an arena for the Islanders at Willets Point in Queens, the area that surrounds Citi Field where the New York Mets play.

lemieuxchampagne.jpgWhen the Pittsburgh Penguins were still in crisis mode a little more than three years ago (hard to believe it hasn’t been longer, right?), they flirted intensely with a move to Kansas City. As you may or may not remember, the Spirit Center is dying for a new tenant – whether that be an NHL or NBA team. In fact, they’re so desperate for a regular draw that they offered the Penguins free rent and other goodies.

Of course, it eventually came out that the Penguins were just using Kansas City (and Las Vegas) to pressure the city of Pittsburgh to pony up for a new arena. (Owner Mario Lemieux joked that they just went, had a nice dinner and came back.)

To further strengthen suspicions that Kansas City might be getting played, Chris Botta of New York Islanders Point Blank flatly denies the rumors of the Isles moving to Kansas City. Botta says that if the team will move, it will be somewhere in the New York metropolitan area.

At this point, there’s a lot of rumors and conjecture. It’s unclear what will happen next, but any team that is in danger of relocation has to at least consider Kansas City, right? With a cushy arena deal like that, it’s hard to believe that they won’t be a player at some point. Even if it appears that right now, they might just be getting played. We’ll keep you up to date as more information trickles in on this dramatic situation.

Rangers punch playoff ticket to wrap up night of clinched spots

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The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.

For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.

The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch where the Rangers failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).

New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.

This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.

The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.

Oilers end NHL’s longest playoff drought; Sharks, Ducks also clinch

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There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fans, maybe.

On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.

The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.

The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong postseasons, even as their Cup win fades to the background ever so slightly. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.

The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.

Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.

Craig Anderson took his blunder hard – probably too hard – in Sens loss

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Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to come to Craig Anderson‘s blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).

Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.

Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.

You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.

It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: