If New York Islanders fans wanted a small-sample symbolic reason to panic and confirm all their worst summer fears about the upcoming season, Saturday night's christening of hockey in Brooklyn provided it: Evgeni Nabokov was beaten for three goals (at least one safely called "shoulda had"), while the Devils Goalie Of The Future Cory Schneider (26 saves) stood on his head in shutting out the Isles, including their top line, by a 3-0 score.
The Islanders' tentative power play ran empty on five tries, a concern in life after Mark Streit. The penalty kill conceded twice. And any golden scoring opportunities were ruined by Schneider, who just about anyone with logic believes will take the starter's role in New Jersey.
Just as the Islanders' half-roster beat a roster of Devils regulars Thursday, tonight the Isles had most of their main guns but were beaten by a lighter Devils squad. And the rookies Griffin Reinhart and Johan Sundstrom had promising games, from the sounds of it.
Notes before the Photos/Tweets
- Patrik Elias made it 2-0 on a nice feed from training camp tryout Damien Brunner, who seems destined to win a contract after he struck out with his asking price on the summer market.
- An announced 14,689 fans for the NHL's debut at Barclays Center.
- Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald wore the "A"s.
- John Merrill high-sticked Kyle Okposo in a bloody way but was not called for a penalty. [GIF here]
- Okposo was ticked earlier when he split the Devils defense on an icing chase, only to have it whistled early under the experimental hybrid icing rule.
- The Devils also beat Nabokov on an apparent deflection just after the end-of-period buzzer, if you're looking for more angst on the crease situation.
- Justin Johnson fought Cam Janssen late in the game.
Sights and Sounds from Brooklyn
I wasn't there, but if you were keep letting us know what you saw and thought of the experience. What follows are some observations and in-arena photos from the Twitterverse.
An "event" game has to start with tailgating. But since tailgating is a little problematic for an urban arena without sprawling (and cheap) parking lots, the other alternative is pub-hopping and rail-gating. There was plenty of both, by the sounds of it in comments here and on social media in general. Lots of people reported a fun orange-and-blue invasion via the LIRR:
Solid crowd tonight. Have heard from friends that LIRR was packed and pleasantly raucous on the way to BK. Both good signs. #isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) September 21, 2013
Orange and Blue at Jamaica Station...awesome http://t.co/HN2KA4XNRX— Rob McGowan (@IslesRM) September 22, 2013
As for the experience at the game? You'll never, ever sit here, but still:
The reporters certainly liked their pressbox view, many sharing variations of this:
I'd like it to be 2015 now please. pic.twitter.com/yMCkJsTWJ6— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) September 21, 2013
General view on the seating: Intimate, steep sightlines from up high, obstructed views in some areas an issue, and something about no smoking areas (not "no smoking" areas, but no smoking areas):
#Isles General consensus I got from fans: shallower seats/arena configuration provides more intimate feel. Downside is obstructed view— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) September 22, 2013
Down low, that's an issue with the obstructed view seats, at least as of today:
Obstructed view seat at Barclays behind one net. pic.twitter.com/Ceb0MPn0RI— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) September 21, 2013
Not all "obstructed" views were officially so:
But what about the much-feared "horseshoe" effect? Not a concern from up top at least:
Horseshoe effect in stands is a myth, fans fill seats all around ice. But some seats above Nabokov not sold. pic.twitter.com/QjSdSE0nJd— Sean Cuthbert (@HTW_Sean) September 21, 2013
Overall, if there was a date where one could focus more on the arena and experience than the on-ice show, tonight was such a date. The Isles didn't even get a goal celebration to try, but the takeaway from this night will be more about how nice the arena is, how it can be accessed, and what issues (mostly with the obstructed sections) should or can be addressed between now and the official relocation two seasons from now.
Share your Brooklyn experiences below.
As for hockey and camp eval, well that continues with a game at 6 p.m. EDT in Nashville on Sunday. Hopefully the players can now put the Brooklyn hype behind them for now and focus on prep for the season.