As if today didn’t have enough news and excitement and causes for skepticism, the Islanders’ constant whirlwind of chaos decided it wasn’t done just yet.
Per a report in Newsday by Jim Baumbach and Robert Brodsky, the Barclays Center honchos are preparing to alleviate their issues with the Islanders by urging them to move back to Nassau County into the renovated and newly opened Coliseum.
The news comes from the Long Island Association’s Kevin Law, a guy who always pops up in these stories despite not owning the team, either arena, any land or having any power to direct any money to any party.
Law said Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which runs both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum, will offer to make further “adjustments” to the Coliseum — such as adding seats — to address the Islanders’ potential concerns.
“Over the last two months, I have met with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Islanders owners, I’ve met with the county and the state,” Law said. “What I just learned very recently is that BSE will be offering a plan to the Islanders to move them back to the Coliseum.”
There’s no timeline but the report says the pitch will be made when the sides get together to discuss either extending their agreement or triggering either out clause. That could be within the next month, but could take until January to be resolved.
I’ll try to keep this short so that everyone can get back to the playoff games that are currently happening. Barclays can pitch Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin on whatever they want. The facts remain that the Coliseum is A. 3,000 seats smaller than it used to be; B. Still not owned by the Islanders; C. Still located in a county that’s deathly averse to progress or growth of any kind and D. Still not located near any public transportation of note.
So what’s this all about? Ah, there it is:
Amy Varghese, a spokeswoman for Empire State Development, said that the state’s primary business development agency is “working to finalize” a new request for proposals to develop Belmont Park.
To be clear, and RFP for the Belmont site doesn’t automatically mean the Islanders will get an arena there (despite how much we want to believe Uncle Bob). But the very idea of another new arena cannibalizing Barclays’ controlled properties with the help of area’s one anchor tenant isn’t going to sit well with the folks already making money on their current arenas.
And how are things at the “new” Coliseum? As good as they were at the old one.
Via Rolling Stone after Billy Joel’s grand opening concert:
Once you finally enter it becomes instantly clear that the concourses are still far too narrow. Getting around feels like squeezing through a crowded subway car during rush hour. There are plenty of new concession stands; the only problem is the lines were so ludicrously long at every single one of them the people in the back probably didn't make their seats until "Piano Man." The lines for beer, T-shirts, food and the bathrooms all ran into each other, making it hard to tell where one began and another began. For lack of a better term, it was a complete shit show.
And another thing:
You've already test-driven the Porsche SUV -- nice, though a little oddly sized. Can we interest you in a Mini-Cooper with a new paint job? https://t.co/fnEgxIOTUY— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 13, 2017
Bringing #isles back to Coli is a nice idea. But Wang proposed $350 million reno of coliseum&Ratner spent $160 mil. You get what you pay for— Randi Marshall (@randimarshall) April 13, 2017
I'm guessing the RFP will be by the usual bunch of lawsuit waging, bickering, bribing, lying, assclowns.— Rookie Example (@KeithLHHockey) April 12, 2017
Marshall also had a multi-Tweet thread outlining the many ways this news means essentially nothing.
As we’ve said time and time again: Ledecky and Malkin want a place where they will make money like every other big kid team in the NHL. Unless the Coliseum does a complete 180 (not literally), there’s almost no way moving back there will net them the kind of dough they’re looking for. Building an arena in Belmont, or at least co-owning it or whatever, probably will... provided they can get past the legal hurdles we all know and hate by now. And if you think Gary Bettman wants this team back in Uniondale, think again.
So stay tuned to this new and completely stupid wrinkle in the story. In the meantime, enjoy the playoffs.