Brooklyn, NY - Last season's New York Islanders hockey club remains captive or missing inside Barclays Center over a month into the new NHL season, according to dispatches from embedded reporters at the site.
The standoff -- one of the biggest hockey hostage crises in decades -- entered its 31st day on Tuesday, and has thrust the remainder of team's season to the top of the global agenda.
"We are still dealing with a fluid and tense situation where a small part of the team has been released, but many of last year's Islanders remain captive somewhere inside the arena," a U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters. "Our goal is to get the 'real' Islanders out of the building and back on the ice playing the way they used to."
Among the players released by the still unnamed hostage-takers are goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss and captain John Tavares, who was uninjured but seemed to have been dosed with a powerful poison or biological weapon while captured.
Condition of Players Unconfirmed
The current Islanders, featuring the few escaped players and several fill-ins wearing the jerseys of the Barclays Center captives in a show of support, are 7-5-3 with 17 points and sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division as of this writing. Friends, family and fans wait anxiously for the entire team to be released from captivity so it can resume the pace it set last season, in which it finished with more than 100 points for the first time since the 1983-84 season.
The number and condition of players trapped within Barclays Center has yet to be confirmed, with officials from the United Nations, foreign governments and fan groups being kept far from the site by the military.
"(The army) is still trying to achieve a 'peaceful outcome' before extracting the players from last season that are holed up in the (facility)," a security source told Lighthouse Hockey. "It has been authorized to use deadly force should the situation extend past (American) Thanksgiving."
In the meantime, concerned parties from across the globe can only sit by their televisions and watch.
"We just want our boys back," said one fan on Facebook. "Somebody needs to get last season's Islanders out of there. And if they can't, they should be fired and replaced by people who can, immediately."
The security source also said special forces would resume negotiating this week. The kidnappers, meanwhile, reportedly offered to trade two power play goals against per week for proof that winger Ryan Strome has been unharmed.
This is fake. No, I'm not sure what else to say about the Islanders' season so far, either. It's been really weird.