John Tavares Press Conference

With Streit gone, is Tavares the next Isles captain?


The New York Islanders ended an era on Wednesday when they shipped captain Mark Streit to Philadelphia.

Streit, 35, had worn the “C” for New York since 2011 and, in doing so, became the first-ever Swiss born captain in NHL history.

In turn, Streit led the club to its first playoff appearance since 2007 and provided solid veteran leadership to a young team that took Pittsburgh to six games in the opening playoff round.

But now he’s gone, and the attention turns to his successor — which player will step up and become just the 14th captain in franchise history?

Logic suggest John Tavares, who served as an alternate this season, will be that guy.

Tavares, 22, led the Isles with 47 points in 48 games and earned his first-ever Hart Trophy nomination for league MVP (should he win, he’d be the first Islander to capture the award since Bryan Trottier in 1979.)

He’s the club’s most talented player and the face of the franchise. The only question, it seems, is if the Isles are ready to anoint a 22-year-old with the “C”.

For the most part, current NHL captains are experienced veterans (the notable exception being 20-year-old Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog). There have been other exceptions — Sidney Crosby was given Pittsburgh’s captaincy at 20, as was Chicago’s Jonathan Toews — but recent history shows the Isles have leaned towards giving the “C” to older players.

Prior to Streit (who was 34 at the time of his appointment), 38-year-old Doug Weight was the captain.

Prior to him, it was 37-year-old Bill Guerin.

The Isles could choose to go this direction with their next captain. Lubomir Visnovsky is one of the club’s elder statesmen (36 years old) and, after an acrimonious start to his tenure on Long Island, recently showed his commitment to the team by re-upping on a two-year, $9.5 million deal.

The Isles could also reward their longest-tenured player, Frans Nielsen, who’s been with the club since 2006 and has appeared in nearly 400 regular season contests.

Kyle Okposo is another option, having served as an alternate last season as well.

Such moves are possible, but ultimately unlikely.

It’s hard to think the Isles will pass on giving Tavares the honor of joining Hockey Hall of Famers Clark Gilles and Denis Potvin as players to serve as team captain.

It’s the the next logical step in this becoming Tavares’ team.

Vigneault: ‘After three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention’

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault has maintained for much of the season that the New York Rangers needed to play better.

The head coach said it a week ago, after the Blueshirts had beaten the Predators, 3-0, despite getting outshot, 31-19.

He’d said it a couple of weeks before that, after they’d beaten the Hurricanes in very similar fashion. (Final score: 3-0. Shots: 33-23 for Carolina.)

But as long as the Rangers kept winning, it was tough, according to Vigneault, to get the message across.

“Sometimes, the results might be going your way, so when you’re pointing out certain things, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to understand because the results are so positive,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

“But after three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention.”

Derek Stepan‘s injury — he’ll miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs — has no doubt captured their attention as well. (Oscar Lindberg will center Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast tonight at home to Carolina.)

The Rangers also play Wednesday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders (on NBCSN).

Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

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Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.


Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs


Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 28-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury