I don’t want to derail All Star weekend before it even begins, but we should probably get this out of the way before the fun stuff happens.
A new report from Bloomberg says the Islanders could play 12 homes games at Nassau Coliseum next season with an announcement possibly coming as early as Monday from the governor himself.
Here’s the lede to Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams’s story:
The New York Islanders will play 12 home games next season at the renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, rekindling ties with Long Island fans ahead of a move back from Brooklyn, according to people familiar with the matter.
The remaining 29 matchups will be played at the Islanders’ home of the past three years, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Both venues are owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.
If the Coliseum games are successful, the team could split time evenly between Barclays and Nassau in the following seasons until construction is completed on the Islanders’ new home in Elmont, New York, the people said. An announcement with Governor Andrew Cuomo is likely to be made on Monday, they said.
You can read the rest here, but the big take away is that what we expected to be a full 2018-19 season at Barclays Center will now apparently involve Nassau Coliseum, an arena the NHL’s commissioner said just months ago that was “not suitable for NHL hockey.” Gary Bettman, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, Barclays CEO Brett Yormark and whoever accompanied them at a recent tour of the newly tin-foiled 47-year-old building must have seen or negotiated something that changed their minds in the last few weeks.
Newsday’s Jim Baumbach reported this week that the team and its current arena landlords have been nearing an agreement on some games at the Coliseum and this pushes us closer still to a resolution. Could be Monday, could be another day. Who knows. The deadline for the Islanders and Barclays to have an extension or exercise their opt-out clause is Wednesday, the 31st.
I’ve been pretty vocal about thinking this is a bad idea, that will make the already intricate scheduling of a National Hockey League season exponentially more complicated. How would season tickets work? How do teams visiting to play the Islanders feel about this? Will the Barclays people - who now manage the Coliseum - have to lay out money to make it comfortable as a pro arena and, if so, how does that work into their financial projections? I mean, these are the same guys who made an “iron clad” deal with Charles Wang that, a year later, was suddenly so untenable that they decided to push the Islanders back to Nassau County. Do they really think they’ll get 13,000 people a game? Do they care that the concourse is still a foot-and-a-half wide? And how will it affect the already lousy attendance in Brooklyn?
Jesus Christ, what a mess. And I haven’t even mentioned that whole John Tavares thing.
So, in the words of Mr. Horse, “No sir, I don’t like it.” But maybe we’ll get some answers soon that don’t make it sound like the cockamamie pratfall it looks like it could end up being.