Editor’s note: We’re expanding our writer pool this season and look forward to some new perspectives (and to lighten the load!) as we seek to keep LHH a fun place for you to read and debate Isles hockey. Since Martin Passante saw his share of games in Brooklyn last season, we promised to let him do areener talk in his intro.
Islanders fans, consider this my formal introduction. My name is Martin, people call me Marty, and I’m an Islanders fan. Sheesh, this feels like an addicts anonymous introduction. Then again, after this past season at the Barclays Center, I feel like I could use some counseling.
Now, I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember, and as far as team play goes in recent years, I consider myself spoiled. I was at Game 3 of the 2015 playoff series against the Capitals, you know, when John Tavares scored the overtime goal that nearly brought the Coliseum down? I was never happier to be an Isles fan. The place went nuts and I thought the building was literally going to collapse.
Fast forward a few months and we find the Islanders starting their first season at the Barclays Center, and I will admit, I was pretty excited. You see, I was just about to start law school in Brooklyn and I had just moved into an apartment in Brooklyn that was within walking distance from Barclays.
Honestly, it was at first. I could walk to the games, or if I was really feeling lazy I could take a 5-minute, one-stop train ride. But after a few visits to the beloved Barclays Center, my optimism took a turn for the worse.
Allow me to vent, just a little, about my experience there. First off, the Blue and Orange Army up in section 329…or wherever they are now, I just know them all as 329, are barely heard. And that’s a BAD thing. That raucous bunch in the rafters were sometimes the only thing getting me to a Wednesday night game at the Barn.
The food is an upgrade, I’ll give them that. But I’m sure most Isles fans would trade the food for the beer garden back at the Coliseum where they could have a smoke in between periods.
And the aesthetics…blarg. Aside from plastering JT’s face everywhere, you would think that the Islanders are the once and again one offs like the rest of the faces on the wall of the center. Oh…and I had the "pleasure" of eating/sitting silently in the Calvin Klein club room. It was dead in there — no, not because it was empty, but because it was full of lifeless suits.
I will say this, the regular season at Barclays was strenuous at best, but we did get to see our first playoff series win in over two decades…so there’s that.
Behold! Queens, Brooklyn’s oft overlooked spouse. Summer news had some Isles fans rejoicing over the prospect of the Islanders jumping ship and riding down the BQE. And, with my recent move to Astoria, I gotta tell ya, I’d be pretty pumped if that ever happens. The Islanders are seemingly attempting to follow me all over the metro area, and while I love the idea of a short commute to games once again…is it really all that great?
Yes, I understand that they would have a new arena all to themselves, but what about Long Island? Queens is NOT Long Island, you know that, I know that, everyone in New York knows that. I want a giant parking lot, I want fans losing their minds before games on the walk in, I want the Blue and Orange Army parading around after a win. I don’t have that now. And I apologize for the pessimism and nostalgia, but with all the failures in the beginning of Barclays Center era, it’s hard for me to see the light.
On the ice though, I’ll end with this: the team, in my opinion, is the best it’s been in a LONG time regardless of the exits of Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin and (unfortunately) the Great Dane. I think Jason Chimera will fit right in, I welcome P.A. Parenteau back with open arms, and I hope Andrew Ladd can complement JT long enough for the kids to filter their way up the lineup…oh yeah, and Brian Strait is gone.
So for now, forget the arena woes and let’s try to make the best of this place and thank our lucky stars this team is still in New York.