Joe Yerdon

Bettman points finger at Long Island politicos for Islanders move


There’s been plenty to talk about concerning the sale of the New York Islanders lately. From Charles Wang’s dealings with Andrew Barroway, to the sale of the team to former Washington Capitals owner Jon Ledecky, and the recent revelation there was even a third party involved as well.

Of course, the biggest part of the Islanders’ situation is their impending move to Brooklyn from Long Island.

Wang tried valiantly to refurbish Nassau Coliseum with his own money only to be rebuffed by Nassau County politicians. As Neil Best at Newsday shared, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman puts all the blame for the Islanders’ slight relocation on the government leaders who helped make it all possible.

“This is a situation that is not of the Islanders’ making,” Bettman said. “The responsibility for what’s happened really lies with Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. For the fans in Nassau, not just of the Islanders, but of circuses and rock concerts and the like, it’s a shame.

“The great news is the Islanders have a terrific arena to go to and this is an exciting opportunity for the franchise moving forward.”

Barclay’s Center will make for a fancy new home for the Isles, but the heart of the team is still held on Long Island. Say what you will about Bettman, but he’s 100% on point here.

Never mind the part about how they wouldn’t allow Wang to spend his own money to fix up and improve the Coliseum along with the area around it, but also the County and Town’s workaround by putting a plan based around taxpayer money up for referendum that was then voted down.

It was a political comedy of errors in which the victims were the fans and the businesses around the Coliseum that relied on Islanders attendance to give them a lift. Now the Isles will call Brooklyn home next season and the fans will have to spend plenty of time on the train there and back thinking about how much it stinks to be that much further away from their favorite team.


Free agent Bertuzzi ‘wants to continue playing’


Todd Bertuzzi is still itching to play hockey.

After having his civil case with Steve Moore settled on Thursday, Bertuzzi’s attention has turned to finding a new team to potentially suit up for next season.

At 39 years old and a lot of tread on the tires, it may be a hard sell for some teams but his agent, Pat Morris, told Pierre LeBrun of he’s still looking to lace ’em up.

“Todd wants to continue playing,” Morris said. “He’s skating and is in great shape. A lawsuit is no longer an issue. We’ll see what transpires in the coming weeks.”

Last season with the Detroit Red Wings, Bertuzzi had nine goals and 16 points in 59 games but finished with a dismal minus-17 plus-minus rating. Yes, we know that’s not the greatest stat but that’s a rough number for a forward to have.

There’s no doubt Bertuzzi isn’t the player he used to be, but in Detroit he’s proven valuable at times around the net as well as useful in shootouts. As we’ll see leading up to training camp, a PTO isn’t out of the question and could be his way to work onto a roster.

Sharks saw a ‘small dip’ in season ticket renewals


You might suspect after the Sharks’ disappointing finish, fans might take issue with how things are going. Add in an offseason that saw questions surrounding Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau as well as a curious group of free agent signings and things were a bit rocky in Northern California.

As David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News shared, the Sharks have seen a “small dip” in season ticket sales this summer. According to the Sharks’ COO John Tortora, however, it’s no different than they’ve seen in the past after bowing out of the playoffs sooner than they hoped.

“What we’ve seen generally is if we go past the first round, we’re renewing at about 92 percent,” Tortora said, adding that the numbers for this summer “are not any more dramatic than 2012 when we lost to St. Louis in the first round.”

A three-percent drop isn’t drastic, especially for a team that sells out games regularly the way the Sharks do.

The fact this has happened in the past may not be concerning for business, but just imagine what they could do if they, you know, didn’t lose in heart-crushing fashion in the postseason.

Predators happy Neal is ‘on our side now’


Now that James Neal is a Nashville Predators forward, goalies in Tennessee are sure happy to call him a teammate.

Neal hit the ice in Nashville for unofficial workouts and, as Josh Cooper of The Tennessean shared, goalie Carter Hutton is happy he won’t have to face him outside of practice.

“I’m happy he’s on our side now,” Hutton joked. “A lot of guys give you more information. You can kind of read where pucks are going. With him, it’s hard to pick up his stick blade and where it goes from there.”

There’s a reason why Neal is a former 40-goal scorer in the league and his wicked shot is a big one. Last season, he put up 27 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins but was traded to the Predators this summer to help give them something they haven’t had since Paul Kariya took to the ice in Music City – a bonafide goal-scoring threat.

While the Preds will get their logjam of centers, both new and incumbent, figured out – Neal arrives as, ahem, the real deal when it comes to putting the puck in the net.

If Neal takes to new coach Peter Laviolette’s style right away, fans in Nashville will like it, love it, want some more of it often this season.

Flames sign Potter to one-year, two-way deal


The Calgary Flames found some defensive reinforcements for the upcoming season.

The Flames signed former Oilers and Bruins defenseman Corey Potter to a one-year, two-way deal. Last season, he spent time with both the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins playing in a total of 19 games with both teams.

Potter, 30, joins a Flames team in need of solid defensive help. With Mark Giordano leading the way, the rest of the blue line corps is a bit dicey. Ladislav Smid, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, and Deryk Engelland round out what would appear to be Calgary’s top-six on defense.

While that crew could use more help, the thing they need most is depth and Potter will help out there especially with the rest of the depth hopefuls being young like Tyler Wotherspoon and Patrick Sieloff.

Potter’s best season came with the Oilers in 2011-12 when he had four goals and 21 points in 62 games. He’s played in 52 total games in the two seasons since then.