What do the Islanders need for a new arena? More cowbell!

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With the vote for a new arena on Long Island is only ten days away, the Islanders are pulling out all the stops. The team announced they’ll be hosting an event outside Nassau Coliseum with current and former Islanders players, ice girls, and a free concert featuring Blue Oyster Cult. There will also be various speakers including Islanders Owner Charles Wang and County Executive Ed Mangano helping spread the word for a “Yes” vote for a new arena on August 1st. Clearly, Charles Wang doesn’t fear the reaper.

Lead-singer Eric Bloom and the rest of the Blue Oyster Cult have a personal connection to Nassau County, the Coliseum, and the August 1st vote:

“We’re really looking forward to playing the Nassau Coliseum again. It’s the building closest to home for us. We support the effort to get people to vote yes for a new arena. We played many great shows there and living in Nassau County, we all know this area needs a new building that can become a true destination for concert goers, families and hockey fans.”

For those outside the Long Island area, Nassau County residents will vote whether or not they want to borrow money to build a new arena and minor league baseball stadium on August 1st. Wang and the Islanders have repeatedly tried to build a new arena in Long Island to replace the outdated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum—but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Town of Hempstead and opposition groups. The newest proposals for a new arena are nowhere near as impressive as the ill-fated Lighthouse Project from last year, but still would provide a $400 million bond to get the new arena project off the ground.

Newsday published a report from Camoin Associates that described the economic nightmare a new arena isn’t built and the Islanders leave town:

“Nassau County’s economy could lose $243.4 million annually if the New York Islanders leave the region after the club’s lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, according to a new report from the county’s economic consultants.

If the Coliseum were to shutter, it also would take with it 2,660 jobs and nearly $104 million in annual earnings, said the report, expected to be released Monday. Nassau also would lose about $8 million a year in tax revenue that would be generated by the arena in 2015 and beyond.”

Nick Giglia has been doing a great job following the story at both Lighthouse Hockey and Let There Be Light(house). He’s explained how the local media has ignored a report that concluded the new arena would only cost homeowners $0.26 per week and how to argue with an arena skeptic. While people around Islander Nation seem to be some of the most educated on the issues, we’ll have to wait until the evening of August 1st until we find out if the electorate passes the arena deal. Until then, the Islanders are doing what they can to get the word out to help educate the public on the economic impact a new arena could have on the area.

Unfortunately, there’s no word if Christopher Walkin or Will Ferrell will be on hand to lend the band a helping hand with any financial forecasts.

The Leafs’ remaining schedule is no cakewalk

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The Toronto Maple Leafs took care of business last night, sending the floundering Florida Panthers to a 3-2 defeat at Air Canada Centre.

Now comes the hard part for the young Leafs. They have seven games left to book their first playoff appearance since 2013, and their schedule is no cakewalk.

The Leafs’ next three games are all on the road, in Nashville Thursday, Detroit Saturday, and Buffalo Monday. After that, it’s a four-game home stand to close out the schedule, all against formidable opponents: Washington, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Columbus.

With a four-point playoff cushion, the Leafs can afford to lose a few games down the stretch. But head coach Mike Babcock doesn’t want his players looking too far ahead.

“I really believe with our group if we just focus on the day we’re playing and play right, we have a real good chance to win,” Babcock said. “That’s what we talk about and that’s kind of our mantra every day is just play right, play fast and we have an opportunity to be successful. We don’t get all caught up in the race. We know the standings, it’s in the paper every day, so we know that.”

The Leafs today sent goalie Garret Sparks back to the AHL. That can only mean good news for starter Frederik Andersen, who could play Thursday after missing last night’s victory with an upper-body injury.

Backup Curtis McElhinney got the nod against the Panthers, calling it the biggest game of his career. The 33-year-old then went out and made 25 saves to earn the win.

“It was great,” said McElhinney. “Getting a couple of goals in the first period there helped out a little bit and let me settle into it. It was a nice win.”

Parise ‘pretty black and blue’ after Wilson high stick, but injury not serious

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Zach Parise looked in bad shape after taking a Tom Wilson high stick to the face in Minnesota’s loss to Washington on Tuesday.

Thankfully for the Wild, Parise’s early diagnosis is a good one.

“He can see and is fine as far as that goes,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said on Wednesday, per the club’s Twitter account. “He’s sore in the upper body. I don’t think he’ll be out long.”

Boudreau went on to add that Parise was “pretty black and blue” and unlikely to play tomorrow, when Minnesota hosts Ottawa. That said, the club expects the 32-year-old to return next week.

It goes without saying that losing Parise is huge. The alternate captain has 17 goals and 37 points through 64 games this year, and is averaging 17:33 TOI per night. And for a Wild team that’s mired in a horrific slump — just three wins in its last 15 games — being down the services of such a vital contributor is costly.

Related: Stewart fought Wilson in response to the high stick

Stamkos ‘getting really close’ to return

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It probably won’t happen Thursday against the Red Wings, but Steven Stamkos is getting close to making his return for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I think we can start putting him in the day-to-day category right now,” said Bolts coach Jon Cooper, per team beat writer Bryan Burns. “I don’t see him playing against Detroit. After that, I’d say it’s getting really close.”

Stamkos, who hasn’t played since November due to a knee injury, practiced today with his teammates. He took line rushes and even worked with the second-unit power play.

“Today was probably the best day yet,” the captain said. “Doing better than last time we talked and really feeling better each day now.”

Tampa Bay’s next game after Thursday’s is Saturday against Montreal.

The Lightning are three points back of Boston for the second wild-card spot in the East, but they do hold a game in hand on the Bruins.

A challenging offseason awaits Dean Lombardi

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For the 23rd time this season — the most in the NHL — the Los Angeles Kings lost a game in regulation after they outshot an opponent.

It happened last night in Edmonton, where the Kings outshot the Oilers, 35-29, but lost on the scoreboard, 2-1.

Afterwards, captain Anze Kopitar could only express his frustration.

“It seems like we’re beating the dead horse every night,” Kopitar said, per LA Kings Insider. “We outshoot teams, we out-chance teams yet we’re on the other side of the winning part, so bottom line it’s just not good enough. Whether that’s offensively or defensively, we’ve got to be better in both areas.”

It’s mostly offensively. For whatever reason, the Kings have the second-worst shooting percentage (7.6) in the NHL, with only Colorado’s (7.2) being lower.

Perhaps the Kings aren’t getting enough quality shots. Perhaps they don’t have enough quality shooters.

Probably a bit of both.

But it’s something that GM Dean Lombardi will need to address this offseason — assuming he can.

Roster-wise, the big problem for Lombardi is that the Kings have a pair of veteran wingers, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik, whose contracts look a lot like anchors.

Brown, 32, and Gaborik, 35, have combined for just 21 goals this season. Meanwhile, their combined cap hit is north of $10 million, and there’s plenty of term left on each deal.

Not helping? Both Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson are pending RFAs, and they’re in line for raises.

Oh, and there’s not much in the way of top prospects, either. In the past four drafts, only once have the Kings made a first-round pick. (Adrian Kempe went 29th overall in 2014.)

Eleven points back of the second wild-card spot in the West, the Kings are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. They’re in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames.

Related: Kings give another kid a look, recall AHL All-Star Brodzinski