Are the Isles for real? Also: for real, Rangers?

Adam Proteau
John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Try getting this to make sense in your head: the defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers have lost three of their first four games and their superstar goalie has surrendered 12 goals in his two most recent games – and their cross-town counterparts, the New York Islanders, as hard-luck and bad-news of an operation as has existed in recent memory, are basically unstoppable.

I’m not saying either ever was out of the realm of possibility. I’m just saying that any NHL fan in the Manhattan area has grown accustomed to a certain pecking order of late: the Rangers on the heap’s top, bankrolled by owner James Dolan’s fortune and steered by GM Glen Sather’s whims on the free agent and trade market; in the middle, the New Jersey Devils, a.k.a. the little engine that almost always could qualify for the playoffs (and, on occasion, a deep post-season run) despite existing on an internal budget and a revolving door of talent; and at the bottom, the Isles, consistently flailing in the obscurity of decrepit Nassau Coliseum, newsmakers almost exclusively for their errors and economic soap operas.

For now, at least, the Devils remain the same – they’re essentially the cast of Cocoon on the cheap, yet they lead the Metropolitan Division with three wins in their first three games – but, as evidenced by the Isles’ 6-3 romp over the Rangers Tuesday, the Blueshirts and Islanders have traded places. Read more

AHL drops 12-game suspension on Trevor Gillies; is it enough?

Trevor Gillies (Getty Images)

The American Hockey League came down hard on Adirondack Flames forward Trevor Gillies Monday, suspending him 12 games for viciously assaulting Rochester forward William Carrier Friday. But some would argue they didn’t come down hard enough, and that hockey as a whole still has a ways to go to give real teeth to their punishments and truly dissuade players from becoming repeat offenders like Gillies, who was suspended twice (for a total of 19 games) in his justifiably brief NHL career (57 games from 2009-11). But that doesn’t make it any less stomach churning to watch him snap and smash Carrier’s head into the ice. See for yourself:

Gillies apologized for his actions, but these are now three separate incidents in which he was a genuine danger to his opponents. Here are the examples of what got him suspended in the NHL: Read more

Hipsters love New York’s old “fish sticks” jersey, but what else?

Ryan Kennedy
They're baaaaack. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders are looking really good for this season. The roster is deeper than it has been in a long time and every position is accounted for. It almost…almost makes you forget about the old “fish sticks” logo and jersey that blighted the franchise in the mid-1990s.

But as it turns out, the team isn’t done with the uniform just yet. According to Newsday, the team will wear a version of the jersey during warm-ups for one game this season, then auction them off for charity. Why? Here’s the money quote:

“It’s part of our history,” said senior marketing manager Eileen Mathews. “I saw probably five to 10 people in Brooklyn wearing that jersey. I think it’s gotten a cult following.”

Brooklyn? Cult following? You know what that’s code for: Hipsters.

Which got me thinking, what other hockey gear will hipsters be rocking this season? Here’s a curated (and possibly artisanal) rundown:

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Rumor Roundup: Aftermath of Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy trades

Johnny Boychuk (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over the weekend the New York Islanders helped the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks resolve their respective salary cap issues. The Isles shipped draft picks to the Bruins for veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk, then sent three prospects to the Blackhawks for blueliner Nick Leddy.

These moves provide a significant boost of experience and skill to the Islanders blueline, while the fallout from the respective deals is still being discussed in Boston and Chicago. Read more

Islanders acquire Johnny Boychuk from Bruins, Nick Leddy from Blackhawks

Johnny Boychuk (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders are pushing more chips to the center of the table as they go hard at pulling in a playoff spot before the team moves to Brooklyn next season. Saturday, they acquired both Johnny Boychuk from the Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Blackhawks.

But rather than a change of address, the real motivation here, of course, is that the Islanders don’t hold their own first round pick this year. They’ve held a top-five selection in five of the past six drafts, but a similar finish in 2014-15 would only make the Thomas Vanek trade so much worse – and possibly land the Buffalo Sabres both Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

So the Islanders took advantage of two cap ceiling teams who were looking to shed a defenseman. Read more

Could potential Coyotes sale be a precursor to a move to Las Vegas?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport)

So let’s say you’re in the market to buy a new car. You walk into a dealership and talk to the sales guy, take one for a spin and agree on the price. You seal the deal with a handshake. When you come in a few days later to complete the paper work, the salesman tells you that not only has the price of the car has gone up dramatically, it’s being sold to someone else. You sue the sales guy for breach of contract.

Would you then be inclined to walk into the same dealership less than two months later to begin the process of buying a car from another salesman there? Read more

Scoreboard at Isles’ soon-to-be home hangs comically off-center

Jason Kay
Barclay Center scoreboard (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

For a team with a quirky history, why not a quirky scoreboard?

When the New York Islanders move into their new digs in Brooklyn to start 2015-16, their Jumbotron will be off-center, closer to one blueline in Barclays Center than the other.

Spectators got a glimpse of this on Friday when the club played host to the New Jersey Devils. While it’s hardly earth-shattering, it does create an unusual visual, particularly from the side stands.

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