Construction On The New Jersey Net's New Home In Brooklyn, The Barclays Center Continues

Brooklyn gains steam as possible Islanders destination

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It’s been no secret that the New York Islanders aren’t happy with their current home in Nassau Coliseum and will probably leave once their lease expires in 2015. Owner Charles Wang hasn’t denied the idea of moving out of New York state in general, but if they try to relocate within NY, Christopher Botta once again discusses Brooklyn’s soon-to-open Barclays Center as a likely destination.

Sharing a state-of-the-art building with the NBA’s Nets would be enticing and bring certain advantages, but it’s not necessarily a perfect fit, either.

But even Brooklyn is an imperfect solution for the Islanders. Barclays Center was designed as a showcase for the Nets, with ideal sight lines for basketball. Capacity for hockey at Barclays Center also is just 14,500, which would make it the smallest arena in the NHL.

Brooklyn does offer advantages, though. Unlike the Coliseum, fans can reach Barclays Center via mass transit. As one of New York’s five boroughs, Brooklyn also would ignite increased Manhattan media attention.

That’s an interesting, abbreviated pros/cons list. Perhaps the Islanders could alleviate the smaller seating concerns by charging more for tickets in a fairly wealthy area?

In their under-the-radar way, the Islanders are slowly crawling their way back to respectability despite playing in the tough Atlantic Division. Getting a more suitable arena in a nice market might help them compete in attracting top-tier free agents in the future. Whether Brooklyn ends up being that location remains to be seen, but after shooting down the idea before, Gary Bettman even warmed up to the idea – a bit.

“I’m not sure yet,” Bettman said. “It’s something we’d have to look at.”

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.