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Stay on Target: A dream grows in Belmont

Also: The Leafs did the thing with Lou, if you’re waiting on that.

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Fans watch the end of the Belmont Stakes before Game Two of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final in Los Angeles. Because Belmont has horse racing, see.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Your Monday afternoon Islanders news, unless you’re waiting for the now former-GM-but-still-Leafs-”advisor” Lou Lamoriello to do something in his “intent to honor” that agreement that now sees his role reduced: The Islanders’ next home (well, the next one after the next one, which is their old one), the arena project in Belmont, is still on track.

Jim Baumbach of Newsday is on the arena beat and tweets that the alphabet soups thus far remain in alignment — which, in the arena development business, is never a sure thing, so:

For those averse to Scrabble, that means the Empire State Development (which awarded the RFP to redevelop the site to the group that would build an arena for the Islanders), has indicated to the Franchise Oversight Board that the all-important Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) draft should be done by the end of the year, with finalization by the second quarter of 2019.

That means, as Baumbach elaborates, things are still on track for a groundbreaking in spring 2019. Which is similar to what Gary Bettman said a couple of weeks ago, but then Bettman will always paint the most pro-league scenario until required otherwise.

Why does that matter to you, innocent Islanders fan patiently watching other teams do the hockey in late April while you lament your unchanging existence? Because as Baumbach previously reported in January, under the Islanders’ realistic but aggressive time frame would be able to play in a Belmont Arena by 2021-2022, if all goes according to plan. (Ha! Heh...)

So that means they’re still on course for the fourth year of John Tavares’ new contract (ha...) and the second year of Mathew Barzal’s next contract (ha-hrmph...).

I say year rather than seasons because...oh my Bossy there’s gonna be another lockout again, isn’t there? Why do we do this to ourselves again?

Doubt this is article-worthy (stares sadly in the mirror...hey, we needed an excuse to post “Ancient Lou is available except maybe not!” without actually making that a headline), but check Baumbach on Twitter or Newsday if there is to be more.