New York Islanders fans have waited a while for this, a really long while: The first -- no, really! -- ice hockey game at the new arena in Brooklyn, where the Islanders will be locating full-time in 2015 ... or maybe 2014 if the politicians align.
The Isles officially announced a preseason game Sept. 21, 2013, in Brooklyn against the New Jersey Devils. This succeeds the "first" preseason game in Brooklyn against the Devils, which never happened thanks to the NHL lockout.
For a franchise that -- now with the benefit of 40 years' versus eight years' hindsight -- had some pretty immediate gratification in the form of the NHL's last dynasty, the answer to where the team would be after the onerous Coliseum lease expired has been quite the decades-long dream deferred.
In that context, it was only fitting that the first Brooklyn game was postponed. Only fitting that in the down time between the cancellation of that preseason game and the NHL finally getting around to playing a 2013-13 season, the Isles at last announced where they're headed. We were allowed to mourn what Nassau has lost.
For most fans, we love the Coliseum -- if this team makes the playoffs, other fans will quickly see why -- yet we know it can sustain this franchise no longer. We've known it for years, but all of the Town's politicians and all of Wang's men could not find an answer to get this team going again.
Now next season might even end up being the team's last at the Coliseum. It will begin with a preview at the place the corporations call Barclays. Just as this team is starting to make noise again, it will move west. But this week and next season, there's some unfinished business at the Coliseum first.