Despite there not being a shovel in the ground just yet, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky said Monday that everything was on schedule for the building of the team’s new arena at Belmont Park.
Ledecky said the proposed date to move in for the start of the 2021-22 season is still set, while the team spends at least the next two seasons — if not three — dividing its home games between Barclays Center and the renovated Nassau Coliseum.
Currently, the proposal for the new building is going through the political red tape, with community meetings — including the occasional small protest — as well as environmental issues. There is no indication it won’t start as planned, with Ledecky saying his “checkbook is open.”
There were also some rumblings about a proposal for a new 17,500-seat building way out east on Long Island in Ronkonkoma, but Ledecky said it had no effect whatsoever.
“We are 1 billion percent focused on Belmont,” he said.
Coach Doug Weight said he learned a lot in his first full year behind the bench, having taken over for the fired Jack Capuano in the middle of 2016-17. But he said he hasn’t changed as a coach, although he’s striving to get better.
“I sit here and listen to Jon [Ledecky] say the owners failed, and that’s how I feel — I failed,” Weight said. “It’s not easy, it’s very humbling. But you have to learn from it, you have to accept it and get better.”
General manager Garth Snow didn’t have much of a reaction when asked about the recent comments of mercurial young winger Josh Ho-Sang, who complained the team’s defensive woes were “painted it like it was my fault at the beginning of the year and I didn’t like that.”
John TavaresPaul J. Bereswill
When Snow was asked if he was disappointed with the comments, he just said, “No.” He then added: “We want Josh to be the best player he can be, the player he envisions ever since he was probably a child. We want the same thing, we’re striving for the same goal that he is.”
Captain John Tavares decided not to play for Team Canada in the World Championships, which start May 4 in Denmark. Because of his contract situation, Tavares said he didn’t want to risk the chance of getting hurt.
“I took some time to think about it,” Tavares said, “and [team GM] Marty Brodeur was really good and just wanted to put it in my hands.”
Defenseman Ryan Pulock and forwards Mathew Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier are set to play for Canada, while it’s likely winger Anders Lee will suit up for the United States. Forward Brock Nelson and defenseman Nick Leddy have also been invited to play for the Americans while goaltenders Thomas Greiss (Germany) and Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia) have also been asked to play for their respective countries as has defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (Germany).