The first intermission of MSG's broadcast of the New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers game carried an interesting surprise: A lengthy interview between Islanders play-by-play announcer Howie Rose and Bruce Ratner, the original developer of the Barclay
's Center*, the Brooklyn arena many hope the Islanders will one day call home.
[*Edit: Barclays. Sorry, somehow I never realized it was a, ah, plural-ish thing rather than a possessive. Cheers to all the Barclays of the world!]
The Islanders will play a preseason game there against the New Jersey Devils Oct. 2 (tickets, it was mentioned, go on sale March 29), so there is your ostensible reason for the interview. But the interview on the home team's broadcast was not treated as a sales pitch for the preseason game -- it was an open "So, could the Islanders move to Brooklyn?" forum with only cursory verbiage paid to finding a solution in Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead that has been such a gracious home.
A partial transcript with the most salient points [video added]:
Howie Rose Interviews Bruce Ratner
Howie, introducing Ratner: "I think we all know why he's here."
"How serious is the possibility that the New York Islanders at the end of their lease for the 14-15 season, could in fact move to Barclays Center as their new home?"
Bruce Ratner: "My real goal is to make sure the Islanders stay in New York honestly. If they end up building a new building here, great. If that winds up not happening, we'd love to have them at the Barclays Center."
Howie: How aggressively are you pursuing the Islanders, or how aggressively is Charles Wang pursuing a relationship?
Ratner: First thing, my guess first is Charles would first like to build an arena here, and that would probably be the very best thing. If that's not possible to do, then I think we'd begin to seriously talk about the Barclays Center."
Howie: Do you wan the Islanders to move to Brooklyn?
Ratner (heavily abridged): "We'd love that."
Howie then asked about what kind of facility the place is for hockey, as far as access and sight lines? (This is what is known as the softball, served up for the interview subject to hit the talking points one by one, and Ratner discussed amenities and all those new-arena things.)
Ratner: "I think it will be a great hockey venue. First of all, it's a very tightly built arena, sight lines will be very very close. You'll feel like you're right on top of the action. On the other hand, it was primarily built for basketball, therefore there will be some of the seats will have less good views. But you'll still have 14 or 15 thousand seats that are perfect views. Some will have less of a view."
[Ratner then continued to discuss the building as putting fans] "right on top of the action. A great hockey place. In some ways a better hockey place than one can imagine, because you're on top of the action."
Howie asked about the much-discussed parking situation:
Ratner: "There's a huge amount of parking all around the arena, much like Madison Square Garden or even more so. Most people in the area will be taking the subway or Long Island Railroad. But there's lots and lots of parking. That won't be a problem."
And that was about it. Ratner played the respectful good guy by saying he just thinks the Islanders belong in New York, however it works out.
Several of the other points are up for debate, but beggars can't be choosers.
One more steady shot at the bow of Nassau County in this slow, methodical arena/relocation dance which has played out in countless North American cities but has lasted some two agonizing decades on Long Island?
Three-Minute Island: Any Significance Here at All?
Big news? Not really. An interesting step, but just one of many on the journey to finding out how this will all end.