NHL commissioner Gary Bettman met with sports editors today to address a few league issues and to casually put his foot in his mouth by condoning some equally clueless sexism.
But the subject of the Islanders' move to Brooklyn and their no-doubt-just-a-matter-of-time-because-the-guy-at-Carvel-told-me-so move back to Uniondale came up and Bettman said what a lot of us here have been saying for a very, very long time: Nassau has more hot air than a WWII blimp leaving Mitchell Field.
As captured by Newsday's Jim Baumbach on Twitter, Bettman threw around a lot of cold water, including some on the once expected "six home games" that could be played at a new Nassau Coliseum, which, technically, if you want to nitpick, hasn't actually been built yet and whose very existence is not guaranteed.
NHL commish Gary Bettman declined to speculate whether Isles ever return to LI, wouldn't confirm/deny 5-yr opt out in Brooklyn contract.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
Bettman also was critical of Nassau politicians on many fronts - mainly that their track record with arena gives little hope for change.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
Bettman said plan for Isles to play games in new Coliseum is not approved - his words - and said it's premature until new arena is in place.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
And given the track record of previous coliseum renovation plans, NHL is not in hurry to approve that six game plan.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
It should be noted Bettman did not rule out a return to LI. But he did make it clear there is no reason for "hope" as things stand today.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
Bettman said Isles haven't asked for NHL approval to play games in new arena because there is no new arena. "That's a big if," he said.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
Safe to say Bettman is very very very - VERY - skeptical that the new Nassau Coliseum ever becomes a reality.— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
While I'd prefer to think that Bettman came to this cynicism thanks to the voracious daily reading of Lighthouse Hockey, it's more likely that he's been working with various big fish in small ponds across multiple Nassau administrations since he took the job in 1993 and knows better than to trust these guys as far as he can throw them.
So, there you go. For what it's worth. And for god's sake, don't chant "Ka-ty Per-ry!" as a way of getting under Corey Perry's skin. It's creepy, alienating, antiquated, horrible and not even clever. Much like Corey Perry is already.
Baumbach has posted more of some questions he asked Bettman regarding the Islanders and the commish was even more specific:
More Bettman on Coliseum “Lots of possibilities have been thrown out about an arena for the last decade and none of them have materialized.”— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015
Bettman, on if he can see a scenario where Isles return to LI: "I’m not focused on anything going on because the track record is terrible.”— Jim Baumbach (@jimbaumbach) April 24, 2015