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Moving In Stereo: Islanders owners need to end arena drama soon

No, wait...

New York Islanders Introduce New Owners
Uh, guys? Where we goin’?
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hey, did you hear the big Islanders news from today? They signed Thomas Greiss to a three-year extension.

No, wait. There was that other news. They’re being thrown out of Barclays Center and will be homeless in 2019.

No, wait. That’s not it. The story in Bloomberg about the arena making more money without the team there was just a public negotiating ploy designed to get Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin to change the specifics of their deal to something more amenable for both parties. Ledecky and Malkin did the same thing last summer.

No, wait. Nassau County executive Ed Mangano - recently seen at a courthouse facing corruption charges - says he requested a meeting with Ledecky and Malkin about the possibility of the team moving back to Nassau Coliseum. The “path is open” (or, as Mangano probably said, “Da peight iz opin.”) for a return to Long Island but the decision is up to the owners.

No, wait. The renovated Coliseum will only be 13,000 seats when it’s done. Sure they can add 2,000 more but it would still be the smallest arena in the NHL. And if they could make it 15,000 seats, why didn’t they just do that in the first place? How long will the renovation-after-the-renovation take?

No, wait. The Islanders get paid to play at Barclays. We’ve read it’s $53 million a year but Newsday says last year the team made $37.5 million after adjustments. Whatever they took home was probably more than they’ve ever made at the Coliseum in their 43 years there.

No, wait. The team could build their own arena. There’s enough space at Willets Point and at Belmont Park but each has obstacles and politics and issues to overcome. Also, arenas aren’t built out of thin air. They take time and planning. Also, how many arenas does one place - even one as densely populated as New York - really need?

No, wait. That’s not gonna work. The Barclays Center folks, who run both that arena and Nassau Coliseum, don’t want competition.

No, wait. Don’t build anything. Just move back to the Coliseum, where a relentlessly vocal selection of fans want them to go. Forget the lack of seats, the remoteness, the red tape. They belong there.

No, wait. The Islanders were a money loser in Nassau County and probably will be again.

No, wait. They need to do right by John Tavares, their best player and captain who has repeatedly said that he appreciates all that the franchise has done for him and wants to sign an extension. Does he want to play at Barclays for another eight or more years?

No, wait. Tavares would be the first to say his job is to play hockey and he doesn’t worry about that stuff. This is just a public negotiating ploy.

No, wait. This is real. If Barclays wants them out and another solution can’t be found, it’s bye bye New York and hello wherever.

No, wait. Ledecky promised to make his new investment a “world class organization” and is “committed to New York.” He and Malkin spent $485 million bucks on the team. Maybe he’s just working behind the scenes and has options we don’t know about.

No, wait. Something else will pop up. It always does with the Islanders.

No, wait...

No. You, wait.


Enough. Enough, enough, enough, enough.

The ball is in Ledecky and Malkin’s court. If they’re serious about making the Islanders a stable, successful organization, it’s on them to settle the arena issue once and for all and stop the endless moving van roller coaster this fanbase has been on for over 20 years. And it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Until then, we wait. Again.