– photo by slgckgc
It’s been talked about over and over, but with this being the Islanders last season before moving to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, I wanted to add a thought or two.
I’m in an interesting position on this, both because I don’t live in the area any more, and because I’m actually an Islanders fan from Brooklyn. As a child, I recall going out to Bayport and watching the games with my grandparents. That’s when I fell in love with the Isles. (They had moved out to the Island the same year the Islanders started playing, so they naturally felt that the Isles were part of their new life on LI)
So yeah, I do think the Islanders belong on Long Island, but I’m not heartbroken about them being in Brooklyn instead. I also tend to agree with some of what Howie Rose said yesterday:
“It makes me sick to think of the process that brought it to this point,” he said. “Did you happen to see the front page of Newsday a couple of days ago? Now they are talking about a Long Island Rail Road stop at the Nassau Coliseum? Where have you turkeys been for the last 40 years? And you want to know why the Islanders are leaving?
We can acknowledge that we love the building and all it has meant over the years, but we have to also acknowledge that it’s a dump in the middle of nowhere, and that every attempt to change that has been blocked. I mean really, I’ve seen much, much more attractive buildings in better locations in much smaller markets. For a New York team to, basically, have the equivalent of a strip mall in the suburbs just doesn’t cut it.
Seriously, look at the area around Nationwide Arena in Columbus. It’s in the center of town, easily accessible, has a minor league baseball stadium and a smaller concert venue across the street and all of those events have attracted a lot of bars, restaurants, etc. In Columbus, Ohio. I’ve seen similar things as I travel around the country for my job, in places like Oklahoma City, Portland, Cleveland, etc. Now go look at the Nassau Coliseum. Are you one of the millions of New yorkers who don’t own a car and want to go to an Islanders game? Catch the LIRR, then board a bus to take you to the arena. After the game, say around 10PM on a weeknight, take another shuttle bus to the LIRR, and depending on the train schedule, maybe you can be back in the city before midnight!
Seriously, though, it’s ok to miss what made the Islanders Long Island’s team, just understand that a big reason why they will no longer be Long Island’s team has to do with your fellow Long Islanders. And then head into Brooklyn and root for them. 😉
In the meantime, how about the 2014-2015 season?
In the East, I think there are 3 “really good” teams. The Bruins, Lightning and Penguins. I think they will wind up, in some order, being the two division winners and the next team in the playoffs. After that, it’s a crap shoot, much like last year was. Last year, I made an, admittedly biased, prediction that the Isles young players would take the next step in development, Snow would make some moves for goaltending, and they would surprise everyone by grabbing the 2nd spot in the Metro Division. Obviously, none of that happened, the Isles instead found rotten goaltender play, inconsistency among those young players (Bailey, Grabner, Donavan, etc.) and injuries to top players, and wound up way out of contention.
This season, the team looks to be improved across the board, on paper. Talent wise, they are right there with the Rangers, Blue Jackets, Devils, and Flyers and I don’t see any reason why it would even be that much of a surprise if they were to finish second in the division. But, the games aren’t played on paper, and sometimes reality is a harsh mistress. I do think the Islanders make the playoffs. I even think the long streak of not winning a playoff series will end as well. That may be about it, though.
With the talent on the roster, and coming through the ranks, however, I believe this team has a chance to be very good for a while, and this season will be a big step in that direction, finally!
That will be exciting to watch, in Brooklyn, LI, or even from way out here in Oregon!