It's not yet clear whether they'll be asked to grow Rick DiPietro beards* or wear thick-rimmed glasses -- perhaps they can use Patrick Kane's supplier, since alternate supplier Sean Avery won't even let them into clubs -- but the New York Islanders have officially announced they'll be playing a preseason game in Brooklyn's Barclays Center against the New Jersey Devils Oct. 2, 2012.
*Update: Wow, okay we've done the Brooklyn Isles hipster jokes so much that we're overlapping ourselves [FanShot of today's announcement]. No matter, they don't get old.
There were recent hints of an imminent announcement coming hither and yonder, and [English bank of some sort] Center muse/Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner has openly spoken of a desire to squeeze hockey into the tight (in more ways than one) new areener. In the formal announcement, Islanders GM Garth Snow talked of expanding the fanbase while arena CEO Brett Yormark spoke of mass transit and Brooklyn's "untapped hockey market."
So here we go with the next step in a dance -- one that's played in Kansas City and Saskatoon before -- that features several different parties with several different interests and several different leverage points overlapping ever so slightly but hardly in harmony:
Charles Wang owns a team but needs an arena -- ideally one that grows his club's revenues. The Nets gang owns an arena and a team but would like more ways to fill that arena for their revenues. Nassau County owns an arena but no team and sort of needs a new arena or, at minimum, a clue about how to develop a property and answer a question they've punted for only five decades or so. Also: politics.
Where everything stands once the music stops, we don't know and won't know for some time. But for now, this is another necessary beat in the song. And it's totally by a band you've never heard of.
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[Afternoon Update] Lou Lamoriello on the Devils' part:
"It was just a request. It was really the Islanders' choice because it's their home game. We honored it. We certainly have no issue with it. It's probably closer for us than Long Island."
Lamoriello said it was similar to the Rangers playing in Albany, N.Y., while Madison Square Garden was unavailable this past preseason.
"We'll see how people respond," Lamoriello said. "I'm sure it's also a test to see how Long island people respond."
You don't say.