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.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Islanders – Game 3

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) flights near the net with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24),center,  and defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) falls on the ice. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 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:

Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3

Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

 

Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

Prior to his surgery, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016

With Letang suspended, Schultz out to ‘prove a lot of people wrong’ if he gets the call in Game 4

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The Pittsburgh Penguins may hold a 2-1 series lead over the rival Washington Capitals, but they will be without defenseman Kris Letang for a pivotal Game 4 on Wednesday.

Perhaps for the Capitals, the absence of Letang — suspended one game for a high, late hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3 — on the Penguins blue line can provide an opportunity to help swing the series back in their favor heading to Washington and home ice in Game 5.

“He’s the backbone of their defense,” Capitals blue liner Karl Alzner told CSN Mid-Atlantic.

“He goes back for pucks and gets them out of his zone with a pass or a flip. He transitions the puck and logs key minutes on their PP.”

In addition to seven points in eight games this post-season, which puts him into a tie for third among defensemen in the playoffs, Letang is also among the leaders in ice time, averaging 29:13 per game.

So yes, that’s a significant loss at this juncture of the series, even if for one game.

The Penguins were already without Olli Maatta for Game 3. He was injured on that late, high hit from Brooks Orpik. That forced Derrick Pouliot into the lineup for Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old Justin Schultz, who the Penguins acquired from Edmonton earlier this season, figures to be next in line for Pittsburgh with Letang out.

Schultz entered the league with plenty of hype surrounding him, billed as a dynamic offensive defenseman. But nothing seemed to pan out for him in Edmonton, there were growing concerns about his play in his own end, and his time there ended with a trade prior to the deadline.

This could mean added minutes, too, for Trevor Daley, who played 22:20 in Game 3.

Between Pouliot and Schultz, they have a combined two games worth of Stanley Cup playoff experience.

Video: Letang suspended one game for late hit with ‘significant head contact’ on Johansson

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The National Hockey League has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang one game for a high, late hit on Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson during Game 3.

The incident occurred late in the first period of Monday’s game, as Johansson had passed the puck off after entering the Pittsburgh zone. Letang was given a minor penalty for interference.

“After Johansson moves the puck, Letang delivers a high, forceful hit that makes significant head contact,” stated the league’s Department of Player Safety in a video.

“It is important to note that Johansson is not eligible to be checked on this play. Players who are not in possession of the puck are never eligible to be checked. However, the interference rule provides a brief window during which a player who initiates a hit while his opponent is in possession of the puck may legally finish a check. This is not such a case.”

The DoPS did state that Letang didn’t leave his feet making the hit, but that they leave the ice due to the “force of the hit.”

“This is also not an illegal check to the head,” it states in the video. “While there is significant head contact here, the head is not the main point of contact.”

Following the game, both Letang and Johansson broke down the hit for the media, but of course, both had totally different opinions of what occurred.

The Penguins lead the series 2-1 and have the opportunity to take a stranglehold with a win in Game 4 on Wednesday. Of course, without Letang, that task gets even more difficult.

Meanwhile, the bad blood between the rival Penguins and Capitals continues. This series has already run afoul of the DoPS, with the Orpik suspension and Tom Wilson receiving a fine for kneeing Conor Sheary.