Cam Tucker

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: A general view of the arena prior to the game between the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round  during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Islanders’ move to the Barclays Center was hardly a smooth one


This is part of New York Islanders day at PHT…

The New York Islanders completed their first season in their new digs in Brooklyn, but the move was hardly a smooth one. And there are still question marks surrounding the future of the club at the Barclays Center.

Example: Kyle Okposo, who is no longer with the Islanders after signing in Buffalo this summer, ripped the ice conditions at Barclays Center, calling them “awful” and that it has to change.

Scroll down even further, and the relationship, made official on a 25-year lease, between the Islanders and Barclays Center, with a capacity for hockey set at 15,795, has been tenuous for months.

From the New York Post in February:

Jonathan Ledecky — who heads a group of investors set to replace Wang as the team’s majority owner July 1 — apparently is listening. A source close to the Islanders and other industry sources say he’s enamored with possibly moving the team to Queens or back to Long Island.

In either scenario, a new arena likely would have to be built — an expensive proposition considering it cost $1 billion to open Barclays Center in 2012. Another option is renegotiating the Barclays Center lease to salvage the relationship, sources said.

In addition, there have been issues about seats with obstructed views and players forced to take the Long Island Railroad into Brooklyn from Long Island on game days.

Ledecky said, according to the New York Daily News, that “Barclays is our home.” However, toward the end of last month, a report surfaced in Bloomberg that the Islanders have been in talks with the New York Mets to build a rink next to Citi Field in Queens.

It’s been speculated that the Islanders may be using this as leverage to improve their agreement at the Barclays Center.

That report in Bloomberg also stated a decline in attendance, with the Islanders averaging 13,626 fans, a drop of 11 per cent from the 2014-15 campaign.

Again. This is Year One. And these developments breed uncertainty about the Islanders’ long-term situation in Brooklyn.

The Islanders have hit the 100-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. They made the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Their star John Tavares has two more years left on his current deal, which has a cap hit of $5.5 million. A pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season, he’s expressed that he “would love” to spend his entire career with the Islanders. And the new owners seem determined — as they should be — on keeping Tavares with the Islanders.

When it comes to the NHL standings, the Islanders have in recent years been able to build a playoff team, with Tavares as the centerpiece.

The Islanders’ situation at the Barclays Center, however, is definitely in fixer-upper territory. Lower attendance, poor ice conditions, obstructed views in certain seats, transportation issues and reports the Islanders may be looking for an out in Brooklyn all point to an off-ice outlook that doesn’t yet match the optimism surrounding the on-ice product.

If the first year is the foundation, it’s difficult at this point to be convinced the long-term relationship between the Islanders and the Barclays Center is set on solid ground.

Poll: Should Islanders fans have full confidence in coach Capuano, GM Snow?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders leaves the ice following a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders won the game 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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This is part of New York Islanders day at PHT…

The dreaded hot seat.

It’s a popular saying in the sports world, describing the plight of a coach or general manager that could run the risk of possibly losing their job if their team doesn’t soon turn it around.

Islanders head coach Jack Capuano is no stranger to this. In fact, his times on the hot seat were outlined in detail last summer at PHT.

Yet, despite the chatter, Capuano has remained bench boss of the Islanders for five full seasons, three of which resulted in playoff appearances. This year, the Islanders, led by the outstanding play of their star John Tavares, defeated the Panthers in the first round, advancing to the second round of the post-season for the first time since 1993.

The Islanders have also hit the 100-point plateau in each of the last two seasons, so it appears they were trending in the right direction. Yet Capuano also appears to be a polarizing figure for Islanders fans.

“There’s a great respect from our players to the coaches and vice versa,” GM Garth Snow said in May. “Sitting through these meetings with the players, there’s a respect that’s impressive to me. Our team is prepared, they’re in great condition, for me I’m very thankful to have the coaching staff we have.”

At the start of July, new Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin gave Capuano and Snow a vote of confidence, citing their leadership in the team’s opening-round playoff victory over Florida.

On the same day, the Islanders waved goodbye to free agents Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin and Frans Nielsen, but signed 30-year-old Andrew Ladd to a monstrous seven-year, $38.5 million deal.

So, after back-to-back 100-point seasons and a second-round playoff appearance in 2016, Capuano and Snow received the backing of ownership. Do Islanders fans feel the same way?

Over to you.

Pietrangelo would ‘welcome the responsibility’ of being named Blues captain

Alex Pietrangelo
AP Photo

The loss of David Backes to free agency has left the St. Louis Blues without a captain — at least for right now.

However, in speaking with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alex Pietrangelo said he would “welcome the responsibility” if he was named captain. He also placed a great deal of credit toward Backes for passing on some of his leadership qualities to the young blue liner, originally the fourth overall pick to the Blues in 2008.

“I think being so close with Dave over the five years he was captain, I’ve learned a lot from him just kind of sitting back and seeing how he operates on a daily basis,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Not only on the ice but off the ice, which is a big part of it trying to keep the locker room together and doing the off-ice stuff.”

Approaching 500 regular season games played, all with the Blues, the 26-year-old Pietrangelo has emerged over the years as a productive defenseman, but also one that is capable of logging heavy minutes and playing in all different situations.

He finished second among Blues’ defensemen in scoring this season, with 37 points in 73 games, which was seven points behind Kevin Shattenkirk.

Pietrangelo, who has four years remaining on his current contract, also led St. Louis in ice time, averaging 26:18 per game and more than three minutes per game on the penalty kill with Jay Bouwmeester.

Related: Video: Blues GM says Pietrangelo ‘a potential Norris Trophy’ winner

Domi: ‘No reason’ the Coyotes can’t make the playoffs next season

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 12:  Max Domi #16 of the Arizona Coyotes waves to fans after being named the number one star of the game following the NHL game against the Edmonton Oilers at Gila River Arena on January 12, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Oilers 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Max Domi is thinking big for next season.

After an impressive rookie campaign, in which Domi scored 18 goals and 52 points, the now 21-year-old forward is eyeing a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Arizona Coyotes.

Tall order, given they are in the Pacific Division and they were 20 points behind the San Jose Sharks for third in the division when the season ended.

But Domi is optimistic.

“There’s no reason we can’t,” Domi told TSN.

“We came out of the gates pretty hot this year and we beat some high-end teams but when the nitty gritty comes down to it, you gotta be able to win after the All-Star break — that’s when it really matters. Finding a way to find that consistency and manage that throughout an 82-game season will be pretty clutch for us and there’s no reason we can’t do it.”

The Coyotes have had a busy offseason since the middle of April. Here are a few examples:

— They fired GM Don Maloney, citing a need to move in a new direction. (Click here)

— They promoted 26-year-old John Chayka, who, as a result, became the youngest GM in NHL history, definitely representing a change in direction. (Click here)

— They acquired the rights to defenseman Alex Goligoski and signed him to a five-year deal. The idea was to add a defenseman capable of efficiently moving the puck to Arizona’s skilled group of forwards. (Click here)

— After a breakout season, goalie Louis Domingue was signed to a multi-year deal that could represent a changing of the guard in the Coyotes crease, which previously belonged to Mike Smith. (Click here)

— They added grit by signing Jamie McGinn to a three-year, $10 million deal. (Click here)

— After a lengthier negotiation process than maybe expected, the Coyotes re-signed Shane Doan for one year at $5 million. Doan, who turns 40 years old in October, led Arizona last season with 28 goals. (Click here)

— They made further moves on the blue line, adding Luke Schenn and re-signing restricted free agents Connor Murphy and Michael Stone. (Click here)

The Coyotes, already with Domi and Anthony Duclair, could have another young, skilled forward in Dylan Strome, the third overall pick in 2015, fight for a spot on the roster next season.

So, yeah. Busy.

With all the moves this summer, especially on the blue line, the Coyotes could perhaps take the next step in their evolution. It will also depend on other teams in the West, and if they improve or regress.

Whether that translates an Arizona appearance in the 2017 playoffs won’t be known for several months. But you can count Domi as a believer.

‘It’s getting stronger every day’: Bishop says he’ll be ready for World Cup camp

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three
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With the World Cup of Hockey approaching, Ben Bishop seems optimistic he’ll be ready to participate in the Team USA training camp prior to the event.

Bishop, the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, was injured on a seemingly innocent play and had to be stretchered off the ice in the first period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

There had been talk that he could perhaps return to game action, but in the end, he didn’t play another game in the series, as the Bolts were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.

“The leg is feeling better and it’s getting stronger every day,” Bishop told ESPN.

“I’m getting ready to start skating soon … and get back on the ice and doing that side of things. We have about a month until we go, so I’ll start off slow and pick it up in the next month and be ready for training camp for the World Cup.”

Good news for Team USA, which also called on Jonathan Quick and Cory Schneider for their goaltending duties. The tournament begins Sept. 17.

In keeping with the optimistic mood about his status for the World Cup, Bishop last week revealed his new Team USA mask.

Related: Lightning lock up Vasilevskiy — what now for Bishop?