It was not your typical preseason NHL game between two longtime rivals the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils on a mid September Saturday night. This was a different kind of game and in some ways a regular season feel to it prior to faceoff as this night officially embarked a new era of New York Islanders hockey.
Saying that John Tavares will have a breakout season when he recently became a Hart Trophy finalist and has scored 249 points in 291 played NHL games in just four seasons might sound a bit ridiculous. But it very well may be true (Photo credit: theseoduke/Flickr).
Tavares was just one point shy in each of the past two seasons from establishing himself as an official point-per-game player (47 in 48 games in 2013, 81 in 82 games in 2012). He also has only eclipsed the 30 goal mark once, scoring 31 in 2012 with a whopping 50 assists to go along with his scoring touch.
With all of that being said, it is very possible that John Tavares still has not reached his full potential.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the New York Islanders as they head into next season. The biggest one will be whether or not they are capable of making the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The NHL Facebook page recently asked this same question, and many fans were either skeptical, positive or found the idea downright absurd (and these weren't just Rangers fans).
Despite an intense, hard fought playoff series with a very inexperienced roster against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that has been one of the most dominant forces of the league for the past few years, many critics are still not convinced that the New York Islanders are a guaranteed playoff team.
I am proud to reinstall the Where Are They Now section to The Checking Line. Every Thursday from now until the NHL season begins I will give Islanders fans an in depth look at what some of their favorite former Islanders are up to now.
At this year's 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders traded Nino Niederreiter, one of their top prospects, to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a draft pick and Cal Clutterbuck; a 5'11" and 213 pound forward that is known for delivering devastating body checks and sticking up for his teammates (Photo credit: SWP2011/Flickr).
He has also been able to contribute offensively over the years, scoring 15 goals in 2012 and 19 goals in 2011.
Clutterbuck called me this afternoon to discuss the trade from Minnesota, his previous ties to the Islanders, what fans can expect out of him on a nightly basis and more.
The future of Nassau Coliseum after the Islanders lease expires in 2015 has been decided by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. In a press conference on Thursday morning in Mineola, the County Executive announced that Forest City Ratner Companies has been chosen to redevelop the Coliseum.