Never get between a sportswriter and their food.
A dispute between the Islanders and Barclays Center was uncovered during tonight's 2-1 preseason win over the Devils, and the repercussions will be felt for as long as the pressbox masses yearn for just a bit of porridge or scrap of bread to fill their bellies.
The team and its new arena have been haggling over food, specifically the meals the Islanders (and every NHL team) are expected to provide for media, staff members, scouts and anyone else who didn't get in with a ticket. The Islanders don't want to pay what Barclays is charging, despite what the building's people say are reasonable prices.
Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record was the first to notice the trouble during the pregame skate.
Barclays Center had food for the media, scouts, etc. first two times I was here. Nothing today. Not even for purchase. Welcome NHL— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) September 23, 2015
Providence's Dunkin Donuts Center, an AHL building, had food.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) September 23, 2015
Later, Peter Botte, in his first story for the Daily News back on the Islanders beat, broke more info on Twitter and had the full details in an article, including an official statement from the Barclays people:
"Islanders ownership and management have decided not to provide media dining tonight. We apologize for any inconvenience. Sincerely, Barclays Center," arena management said in a statement.
An Isles source claimed the prices being charged by Barclays Center catering are "exorbitant," while an arena official countered that what the Islanders are being charged to provide food is "industry standard."
All joking aside (and the food mooching sportswriter is the some of comedy's lowest-hanging candied fruit), it's not a good look for the Islanders to not provide food when it's expected for an NHL team to do so. Had they announced ahead of time that meals wouldn't be offered, the whole stupid episode would come off as slightly less stupid.
It's still preseason, so there is time to work it out. Or for the writers to scout places for cheap eats around Atlantic Avenue.