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New York Islanders

Capitals Angry With Lee Hit on Backstrom

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Anders Lee hit on Backstrom

Depending on which locker room you’re in, your view of Anders Lee’s hit on Nicklas Backstrom on Wednesday may vary.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz called the hit a “hockey play.” Washington Capitals bench boss Todd Reirden called it “late” and “predatory.”

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Backstrom and Lee collided early in the first period. Lee was coming across and hit Backstrom in the chest with a hard hit. The Capitals forward did not have the puck at the time of the hit.

Backstrom finished out the rest of the first period, but did not return for the rest of the game. Lee was given a two-minute minor for roughing and dropped the gloves with Tom Wilson later in the game as the Capitals looked for retribution.

“Anders is making a hockey play,” Trotz said after the game. “Unfortunately, I don’t know if Nick was ready or not, but when you’re at the blue line and you come laterally you’re running into traffic. Anders was a strong guy. The hit was made and then they responded. Wilson went after Lee, they fought and that’s probably the end of it. We’ll see.

The Capitals didn’t sound as though they were ready to put the incident to bed after the game. Both Washington’s coach and players expressed their displeasure with the hit when they met the media.

“It was a late hit on an unexpected player that was in a spot that was extremely vulnerable,” Reirden said. “Those are some things we saw there. It’s as simple as that. Late hit. The Player wasn’t expecting it and it was predatory.”

There will not be any further supplementary discipline from the NHL on Lee for the hit, Arthur Staple confirmed. The Capitals will have an update on Backstrom’s status on Thursday.

“It looked real dirty to me,” said John Carlson, who jumped in to defend Backstrom after the hit. “I think when a guy is kind of coming up and looking back at the pass, I’ve heard it a lot over the years that they’re trying to take that out of the game. More than anything, as a player that’s been around, you sense the impact.

“Nicky doesn’t get hit very often. So that should tell you all you need to know. He’s probably one of the most aware players in the league.”

The Caps and Islanders are no strangers to controversial hits during a playoff series. The two clubs found themselves in a similar situation during their 2015 First Round meeting when Tom Wilson leveled Lubomir Visnovsky with a big hit near the end boards.

Wilson was assessed a minor penalty and the Islanders were fuming postgame about the hit. The two clubs drastically differed on the legality of the hit and it became focal point the rest of the series. Coincidentally, the Capitals head coach at the time was none other than Barry Trotz.

Now, four years later, the two teams find themselves in a similar situation.

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FishBulb

This is the pot calling the kettle black, eh? Isles have to avoid getting sucked in any of the Caps dirty play, and just beat them where it count. Throw Ross in for Leo, and let’s see how tough the Caps are then.

New York Islanders

Anders Lee Looks Back While Waiting for What’s Ahead with Islanders

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Anders Lee

While the hockey world looks forward and waits to find out when or even if the 2020-21 season will start, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee took a moment to look back and reflect.

Lee and the Islanders are now just over a month removed from their season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Tampa Bay. It had been the deepest the Islanders had gone in the playoffs since 1993 and the run shocked much of the hockey world.

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New York Islanders

What Could Home Games Look Like for the New York Islanders Next Season?

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New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum

There are a lot of questions about the 2020-21 NHL season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed at the draft that the league was looking at a Jan. 1 start date. Outside of that, not much is known about their plan. The NHL has said in the past that they’d like to play a full 82 game schedule, but even that remains a question.

And for owners, the question of whether fans will be allowed in the building when games do start remains a major concern. The NHL, unlike NBA or NFL, is a gate driven league and relies heavily on paying customers filling the seats at arenas.

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Free Agency

Free Agency: Martin, Greene Likely to Return to Islanders for Next Season

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New York Islanders logo

It seems all but certain that Andy Greene is returning to the New York Islanders, and the same goes for Matt Martin.

The Islanders continue to sit in a holding pattern as they look to free up cap space via trades, but things seem to be pointing to a return for the two NHL veterans. General manager Lou Lamoriello called the return of Greene “a very strong option” during a Zoom conference call on Monday night and multiple reports indicated that the Islanders and Martin are working on a deal.

Greene’s return makes even more sense following the trade of Devon Toews to Colorado on Monday. Greene has worked with Noah Dobson, who will take Toews’ place on the blue line, in the past and proved extremely valuable during the postseason.

The soon to be 38-year-old — Greene’s birthday is on Oct. 30 — could be looking at a one-year deal from the Islanders to provide that veteran presence on the blue line. Greene had four points (two goals, two assists) in 21 playoff games with the Islanders.

Martin also had an impressive postseason of his own with five goals in 21 games, which matched his regular-season total. The fan-favorite has been a mainstay on the fourth line alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas.

Martin’s deal with the Islanders, or anyone else for that matter should it get to that point, would be far less than the four-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016. That carried a $2.5 million AAV and that is much higher than what the Islanders can afford at the moment.

Devon Toews Traded to Colorado for Second Round Picks

The decision to move Toews on Monday came out of necessity so that the Islanders could get back some pieces to sweeten any potential trades that would move some of their pricier contracts and free up some more salary cap room. The Islanders have been working with just $8.9 million in cap space.

The Islanders still need to re-sign restricted free agents Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock and trading away the likes of Johnny Boychuk or another hefty contract would help make that task simpler.

The Fourth Period reported that the Islanders have been shopping Boychuk around. Boychuk has two years left on a deal that carries an AAV of $6 million and a list if eight teams he can be traded to. Leo Komarov is also reportedly being shopped by the Islanders.

Komarov also has two years left on his contract, which has a $3 million AAV and a seven-team no-trade list.

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