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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nabokov Talks Rumors and Upcoming Isles Season with R-Sport

Apparently there were rumors that Evgeni Nabokov may go back to Russia. Those rumors were news to me, and apparently news to Nabokov as well. During an interview with R-Sport the 38-year-old netminder was asked about the rumors that he could return to Russia to play hockey.

“Did someone seriously write this? I have never heard of this until now,” Nabokov said in response. “To be honest, I have never even considered the possibility of returning. These rumors are mere gossip. In addition to the Islanders, I have other options in the NHL; but, after signing of a new contract, it is pointless to speak about this.”

Nabokov was later asked if he could return to the KHL in the near future.

“Do you think, given that I went back to the NHL for family reasons, after just two years I would seriously talk about returning to Russia? My family has not changed,” he responded.  “No, at this time, I do not see myself in the KHL. What the future holds, I don’t know.”

The Russian goaltender was a big part of the Islanders playoff run last season and went 23-11-7 in 41 starts. Despite the strong showing last season, Nabokov knows this season will be even more challenging to make the playoffs.

“We fulfilled one of our tasks—we made it to the playoffs,” he said. “The Islanders took a great step forward. However, now we are facing greater challenges, and it will be much more difficult to take the next step. We will have to make the playoffs again, but the tasks will be very different this time. I think that this season will be much more difficult for us than the previous one.”

 

Kyle Okposo at USA Hockey Olympic Orientation Camp

 

Kyle Okposo is down in Arlington, Virginia attending USA Hockey’s Olympic orientation camp at Kettler Iceplex, vying for a spot of the 2014 Olympic roster. This is Okposo’s second Olympic camp invite, he was invited in 2010 as well.

NHL Network’s E.J. Hradek caught up with Okposo during the first day of the two day camp to talk with him. Below are some of the highlights from that interview:

On being at orientation camp four years ago: “It was a good camp. It was a lot of fun meeting a lot of the guys. That experience was very valuable to me and just kind of learning the way. You saw what the team did in 2010 and I still remember getting that phone call that I didn’t make the team by David Poile. He said I was kind of on the fence and it was tough, but they fielded a really good team in 2010 and that’s what they’re hoping to do this year.”

On what it would mean to wear a USA jersey at the Olympics: “It’s special. I’ve watched the Olympics my whole life and every time you see that USA sweater go on it’s special. I have represented my country, I’ve been fortunate to do it a number of times in different events, but I think it would be another step up for the Olympics for sure.”

On breakout year with the Islanders: “I think it’s the experience and I think you just have to find ways that you’re going to be successful and figure that out. You have to try and find ways to get to the next level and I thought that I tried to do that throughout the year last year, and this summer also. I think as a team we took some good steps last year. We really played well in that series against Pittsburgh and it could have gone either way. We needed a couple of bounces, but that was a big step for our team. One that had been five years in the making and it was good to finally move forward with that.”

For the full interview click here.

Matt Martin at the MTV Video Music Awards

Photo Credit: New York Islanders Instagram

Last night the the MTV Video Music Awards took place in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, and Isles forward Matt Martin was on the red carpet with BCTV’s Alyonka Larionov.

Being it was Martin’s first time reporting, you could tell he was a tad nervous at first, but looked to come into his own as the night went on. BCTV put up video from last night and it was pretty darn entertaining. Some of the highlights included Riff Raff picking out Martin as a hockey player, Alyonka petting Riff Raff’s fur, we found out MMA fighter Tito Ortiz is a hockey fan and Martin disappearing off for a rendezvous with Katy Perry. Check out the video below:

Isles Announce Single Game Ticket Info

The Islanders announced today that single game tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, September 3. Below are the detail from the Isles press release:

The New York Islanders announced today that individual game ticket for the first half of the 2013-14 season will go on sale to the general public Tuesday, Sept. 3. All fans will have the chance to purchase individual game tickets starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Nassau Coliseum Box Office or online through http://www.newyorkislanders.com/

Islanders season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase single-game tickets at exclusive subscriber pricing, starting Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 9:30 a.m. Season ticket holders will receive ordering instructions for this special presale.  To become an Islanders season ticket holder, contact Islanders Customer Service at 1-800-882-ISLES ext. 2. 

The 2013-14 home opener is Saturday, Oct. 5, when John Tavares and the Islanders take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum.

The first half of the season also features the Islanders’ first meeting with the cross-town-rival New York Rangers on Tuesday, Oct. 29. The intensity of the Islanders’ first-round playoff matchup against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will return to Uniondale on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

The Islanders first-half schedule features several games surrounding national holidays, starting with the day-before Thanksgiving, when they matchup against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The Detroit Red Wings will make their first trip to Nassau Coliseum on Black Friday, Nov. 29.  The Islanders will play games throughout the winter holiday season, including Saturday, Dec. 28 against the New Jersey Devils.

The Nassau Coliseum Box Office is open from 9:30 a.m. through 4:45 p.m., Monday – Friday.  

Sound Tigers to Move to New Coliseum & Ratner Explains Why Isles Couldn’t Return to Call LI Home

UNIONDALE, NY — There was a a lot of congratulating one another and pats on the back at Nassau Coliseum during the press conference held to announce more details regarding the winning bid for the aging arena.

But some interesting facts did come to light with connection to the Islanders and the new AHL team that will play there once it is renovated.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are headed to Long Island once the new Nassau Coliseum is completed. Bruce Ratner confirmed what a lot of fans had been speculating by announcing that the Isles farm team would head south to Long Island.  Though the news seemed to come as a surprise to Sound Tigers President Howard Staffan. Staffan told the Connecticut Post’s Michael Fornabaio, “We absolutely do not have any arrangement in place (re: Sound TIgers to NVMC). Our owner has not executed any agreement.”

The Sound Tigers have also released a statement to Islanders Point Blank echoing similar comments.

“Our agreement with the City of Bridgeport ends on August 31st, 2020. We have seven years remaining on this deal. The Sound Tigers have an agreement to play in Webster Bank Arena until then and plan on doing so until we hear otherwise from our owner. There is no agreement in place between the Islanders organization and the Ratner Group or Barclays Center. The Sound Tigers love being in Bridgeport and absolutely plan on spending at least the next seven AHL seasons here”

During the press conference Ratner said that it would be the Sound Tigers that would move to the Coliseum “assuming  they come to good agreement with this landlord.”

Afterwards Forest City Ratner Executive Chairman Bruce Ratner also put to bed the idea that the Islanders could or would ever return to Long Island (for more than six games).

“I don’t think so,” he said.  Because at the end of the day this place will be beautiful and it’s going to be great for concerts. But for a professional sports team to play here all the time you have issues with suits and boxes and whole bunch of other things.”

County Executive Mangano Explains Why He Selected Forest City Ratner

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano selected Forest City Ratner to redevelop the aging Nassau Coliseum during a news conference late this morning.

During an interview with CJ Papa on 77 WABC Mangano explained why Ranter was named the winning bidder.

“Well both Forest City Ratner and MSG produced excellent proposals and were very competitive on almost every point,” Mangano said during the interview. “Except when it came to the financial benefit for the taxpayers of Nassau County. Forest City Ratner provided the best proposal. Nassau County residents will share in a percentage of the gross income while shedding all expenses associated with the coliseum.”

Ratner will pay the county eight percent of all annual revenue generated by the new arena. The county will also get 12.75 percent from parking and will receive a minimum of $4 million a year, with the county expecting to get $334 million from the project over the next 49 years.

With a developer picked, the next step is for the county legislature, and then the Town of Hempstead to review and approve the plan.

“We will deliver the executed contract to the legislature for their approval, which is expected sometime in September,” Mangano said.  “And then they will move on to the Town of Hempstead for site plan review. On August 1, 2015 they should be ready to put a shovel in the ground and build us a first class arena.”

The latest development in the Nassau Coliseum saga was good news for Islander fans, something county executive seemed to understand during the interview.

“Certainly from the Islander fans perspective this is good news. It keeps the Islanders here, it provides hope for the future,” he said. “But at the same time both MSG and Forest City Ratner did provide some good programming. We are thrilled about keeping the Islanders here in Nassau County.”

Updated: Forest City Ratner Named Developer for Nassau Coliseum

Updated 4:44 PM: Madison Square Garden Company has released a statement of their own regarding the decision to go with the Forest City Ratner plan for Nassau Coliseum.  Below is a statement from Kimberly Kerns, SVP, Communications at The Madison Square Garden Company:

“While we are disappointed with the County’s decision, we are not at all surprised given the history of this project, and will be watching closely as this process moves to the County Legislature.  We continue to believe that Madison Square Garden’s proposal, expertise and proven track record represent the best and most realistic opportunity to revitalize the Nassau Coliseum.  We remain deeply supportive of the efforts to create a rich and vibrant destination for all Long Island residents, and sincerely hope that, regardless of today’s decision, Long Island ultimately gets the world-class destination it deserves.”

Updated: Below is a statement from Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner:

“We are grateful to be selected to revitalize Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. I would like to thank Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his team for a transparent and well-managed process. We understand and proudly accept the tremendous responsibility that accompanies this project and the impact it has on future generations of Long Islanders.

We are ready to get to work to deliver a world-class Coliseum and a thriving sports, entertainment and retail center that Long Island deserves. Our partnership group is focused and prepared to bring the best to Nassau and to fulfill the County’s goals of vital job growth and significant economic activity.

It is time for Nassau County to have an iconic and celebrated venue that will have something for everyone to enjoy and which will redefine the customer experience.

By having The Madison Square Garden Company compete with us on this development demonstrates the significance of this project and both of our companies’ commitment to Long Island. We are honored to be chosen to deliver a vibrant attraction for a Nassau like never before. “

Original: Bruce Ratner and his development firm Forest City Ratner will redevelop the Nassau Coliseum.

The Barclays Center creator was selected as the winner of an RFP during a press conference this morning. “Today, I announce the proposer who provided the best opportunity for Nassau County residents; one that will create jobs and opportunities, one that generates the greatest revenue for the county and completely relieves the county of costly capital expenditures,” Magano said in a statement.

Ratner beat out MSG Company for the rights to redevelop the aging Long Island venue.

Here is the full press release from the county executive’s office:

Today marks a historic public-private partnership in Nassau County history as I announce the construction of a 100% privately financed Coliseum that will share revenue with the County at zero expense to the taxpayer.

The foundation of today’s success is credited to two industry giants, The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and Nassau Events Center, LLC an affiliate of Forest City Enterprises, Inc. (NEC) who competed in a challenging process resulting in the submission of two excellent proposals. In fact, it was the unanimous sentiment of the RFP committee that in most regards both MSG and NEC had submitted compelling proposals. Both had the financial and managerial capacity and expertise to successfully execute a meaningful development of the Coliseum and construction of the adjacent Plaza bringing new and exciting economic rejuvenation to the HUB. In that regard, I want to thank Hank Ratner and his staff as well as Bruce Ratner and his staff for their commitment to Nassau County. I truly wish we could engage both proposers. Just before today’s announcement I spoke with both Bruce Ratner and Hank Ratner and thanked them personally for their great proposals and professionalism throughout the process. Today, I announce the proposer who provided the best opportunity for Nassau County residents; one that will create jobs and opportunities, one that generates the greatest revenue for the County and completely relieves the County of costly capital expenditures.

I am pleased to announce that Nassau Events Center, LLC is the successful proposer to transform the 43-year old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Plaza into an attractive, first class destination for family fun, sports and entertainment. This is also the unanimous recommendation of the County’s RFP Committee. Accordingly, I will soon send the NEC lease to the Nassau County Legislature which is the next step in the approval process.

NEC will invest a minimum of $229 Million in renovating the Coliseum and the Plaza to create a first class destination. During the initial 34 year lease term, Nassau County will receive 8% of gross revenue, 12.75% of parking fees with a minimum guaranteed payment of $4 Million a year escalating by 10% every five years, resulting in a minimum lease term payment of $195 Million to the County. With options exercised, the minimum lease payment grows to $334 Million. Similarly, the Plaza area, now concrete, will be transformed and will generate the greater of $400,000 a year in rent or 8% of the gross revenue. In addition, Nassau County maintains rights for future development on the site.

Although the decision was not easy, there were points that the Committee emphasized when recommending NEC and, in an effort to continue an open and transparent process, I would like to share them with you all today. They are:

  1. NEC has agreed to accept all costs and responsibility for operating, insuring, maintaining and providing utilities for the Coliseum beginning on August 1, 2015, which is when the current lease expires. This was viewed as providing a direct financial benefit to the County by eliminating millions of dollars in annual expenses for utilities, parking lot repairs and capital expenditures. Utilities alone cost Nassau over $2,000,000 last year. This will relieve the County from shouldering these expenses during the period when the developer will be seeking approvals, designing the various improvements, constructing and operating the Coliseum and Plaza area.
  2. The NEC proposal includes the payment of rent during the preconstruction approvals period and the actual construction period, commencing on August 1, 2015. It is estimated that this will yield a positive cash flow to the County in the first two years of over $2,000,000 while shedding millions in expenses.
  3. The minimum annual rent paid by NEC upon completion of construction for both the Coliseum and Plaza Improvements is $4,400,000, or $1,400,000 per year more than MSG’s proposal. In addition, the minimum rent under the NEC proposal escalates at the rate of 10% every five years, versus the MSG proposal of escalation of 5% every five years. Rent under the NEC proposal is calculated based on 8% gross revenues yielded by both the Coliseum and Plaza Improvements plus 12.75% of parking revenue. This was viewed as more beneficial to the County than the MSG proposal which is based solely on $1.50 per ticket sold. Under each proposal, there is a credit against minimum annual rent equal to the amount of the ticket tax paid to the County.
  4. According to the County’s financial adviser, Public Financial Management, Inc. (“PFM”), the total minimum rent payable over the initial 34 years of the lease is $112,109,840 for MSG, versus $194,522,894 for NEC. This was regarded by the Committee as providing a significant factor for selection of NEC over MSG.
  5. Under the NEC proposal, the County retains control over any future development of the Coliseum site.

In conclusion, the Committee viewed NEC’s willingness to accept, at Islanders/SMG lease expiration, immediate financial and managerial responsibility for the Coliseum at its sole expense, to pay rent to the County before and during construction, and to pay a measurably higher annual minimum rent with higher escalations as primary characteristics that contributed to distinguishing NEC’s commitment and confidence from the proposal submitted by MSG

Tomorrow I will join with NEC to announce exciting programming and further comment on this historic public-private partnership.