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New York Islanders

Islanders Taking Action After NHL Pauses to Reflect on Social Issues

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New York Islanders Matt Martin and Scott Mayfield

A day after NHL players banded together to postpone NHL playoff games for two days to protest social inequality, the New York Islanders are turning their calls for change into action.

All four Eastern Conference teams left battling in the playoffs were made available to the media on Friday, with the conversation focusing less on topics on the ice and more on how the players want to use their platforms for change away from the rink.

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New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield said he is already working on ways to be more involved.

“We need to use (our platform) in a positive way. I’ve seen plenty of people use their platform in a negative way and that just needs to end,” Mayfield said. “For me, it’s about action. I’ve already reached out to our community relations director just about setting up things outside the rink. What we can do to start brainstorm ideas. Go into minority communities, stuff like that.”

In the 24 hours since the NHL joined the WNBA, NBA, teams in MLB and MLS, the players have spent the time reflecting on everything that has occurred in recent weeks and months, including the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. The shooting renewed calls from various athletes and pro sports leagues for an end to racial injustice and police brutality.

“It’s really tough times right now,” Matt Martin said. “We just want everybody to feel included, everybody to feel safe. No matter the color of your skin, or sexual orientation, at the end of the day, we just want all forms of hate to be gone, for people to love each other and do what’s right.”

The Milwaukee Bucks became the first pro team to boycott playing on Wednesday, triggering the NBA to make the call to postpone play. The WNBA followers suit in solidarity with their NBA counterparts.

“As soon as we kind of got word that some guys on the other side of the bubble not feeling comfortable playing we obviously wanted to stand behind our minority (players),” Martin said. “Stand behind the guys that are going through a tough time right now and didn’t feel comfortable going out there. … We’re trying to do what’s right and I think everyone in this bubble is for equality.

“We just want everyone to feel welcomed, not only in the game of hockey, but in life.”

NHL players have taken a notably louder stance on social issues in recent months. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, several high profile players in the NHL voiced their support for the need for social change.

It has also forced the game to look inward and reassess how inclusive hockey is.

“Just hearing stories of young players that don’t feel safe, don’t feel included that’s something just needs to stop,” Mayfield said. “That just makes me sick because hockey is a place for everyone. It’s a place everyone should feel safe. Everyone should enjoy the game, love the game and love going to the rink.

“That’s another focus. We need to make the game a place that everyone is included.”

Isles-Flyers Game 3 Moved to Saturday

The Islanders and Flyers will pick up with their series on Saturday for Game 3, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday. Originally Game 4 was to take place Saturday afternoon, but with the postponement of Thursday and Friday’s games the NHL needed to readjust its schedule.

It’s unclear if the New York Islanders have anything planned ahead of Game 3 to bring awareness to racial and social injustice, but the team is well aware that this is bigger than a few days of not playing hockey.

“I think we all know us sitting out two days is not going to end racism,” Mayfield said. “What it does do is it brings dialogue. It brings awareness and it enables us to look in the mirror. Talk to each other and that’s what it’s started. It’s all about action now. It’s all about making sure we actually do things to combat issues in our game and in society.”

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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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