The New York Islanders vs. New Jersey Devils preseason game is off to a riveting non-start at [ingloriously sponsored in Brooklyn] Center, but the enthusiasm was nearly sucked out of the building early on when Islanders speedster Michael Grabner nearly crashed through the boards and clear on to Atlantic Avenue.
At the last moment of his breakaway (which resulted in no shot), and just before making contact with the boards, Grabner was able to slow himself down enough to avert disaster. After several minutes delay as workers cleaned out chips of PVC and broken glass, the Austrian left the ice under his own power. Word from Islanders PR is that the forward will be okay.
During a commercial break to promote the next four Jay-Z concerts, the head trainer offered a theory about the Grabner incident, and why the building's unique layout may pose challenges if the Islanders ever play at [bank conglomerate of some sort] Center again:
"What it was, apparently with this 'horseshoe' seating configuration, Gremlin kind of lost his bearings as he took off on his first breakaway. All through warmups, shooting at the open end, I guess he got used to going 'all the way to the wall' as they say. Come time to shoot at the other end, and he didn't realize the end of the rink stops well before you run into the arena's superstructure.
"It's just a thing he'll have to get used to -- well, I mean we're in Nassau until 2015, but you get my drift. One day at a time. One hundred and ten percent effort. God willing and Gary Bettman don't rise."
Concessionaires reported that during the injury delay, a run on beer nearly emptied the place of Pabst Blue Ribbon kegs.
"I don't know what that was all about," said one attendant. "We didn't sell a drop of this stuff during Jay-Z's first four concerts."