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Arena-Opening Islanders Gameday News: Kind of a big deal

A little pandemic protocol won’t stop this party.

New York Islanders First Practice At UBS Arena
It’s morning on Long Island...
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders organization and Oak View pulled off building a state-of-the-art arena in a global pandemic. Today they celebrate its opening with three players ( hopefully not “and counting...”?) in COVID-19 protocol.

Such is life in 2021, the year that marks the beginning of a hopefully long and fruitful UBS (and whatever banks or telcos or casinos later take on naming rights) Arena era.

The surging and Darryl Sutter-stingy Flames are once again (but this time from Calgary, not Atlanta) the first visitors. For updates on the Flames, visit Matchsticks & Gasoline.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here.

Islanders News

I cannot possibly describe nor reflect what this moment means for Islanders fans better than Dan did here. (And it’s kind of crazy that this blog has existed for a third of the “Islanders need a new building or they could be gone” era.) [LHH]

Eight awesome innovations at UBS Arena. [ESPN (insider)]

A few videos to underline the point:

  • So yes, anyway, amid all the hype and festivities, Anders Lee and Ross Johnston joined Josh Bailey in COVID protocol. Reinforcement(s) are due from Bridgeport. [LHH | Newsday | Post]
  • Barry Trotz hopes four games to open the arena will re-energize the team and get them back on track. [Newsday]
  • An easily overlooked part of the on-ice story: Ryan Pulock out (4-6 weeks) but that opens a chance for Robin Salo, who has the potential to force them to keep him up. [Post]
  • Another look inside the arena. [1045 ESPN]
  • It’s a dream come true for so many Islanders fans. [Reuters]
  • UBS Arena inaugural season patch, pucks and other gear. [Isles]
  • Let’s talk about parking... [Isles parking guide] ... and all the other info you need to know about going to a game. [Isles arena guide]
  • Vaccaro: The Islanders are finally Islanders again. [Post]
  • Newsday’s Jim Baumbach, who covered so much of the approval process and public hearings on the arena in Elmont, discusses “why the hotel and shopping center are not set in stone, why Nassau Coliseum is not paying rent and why the no tailgating and no honking rule at UBS Arena might actually be strictly enforced.” [BLEAV in Islanders on Art19]
  • Coverage of yesterday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting: [Newsday | Post] Jon Ledecky says this is your home, built with your input. [AM NY] Also: You deserve this. [News 12]
  • Music events, pandemic-willing, will be a big part of making the arena a worthwhile investment — which is why you’ll hear it was designed with acoustics as well as hockey in mind. “That certainly will be a business model people study and figure out if we’re just batshit crazy, or if this was actually a good idea,” Tim Leiweke said. “The book’s out on that one.” The article has a lot on the design process with Malkin and Ledecky. [Sportico]

Elsewhere

Just two NHL scores last night, both in the west. The Avalanche pounded the Kraken and the Canucks finally won again.

  • Eight of the 10 Senators on COVID protocol will be ready to return as the Senators resume their season after three postponed games. [NHL]
  • Jeff Blashill shares how the Wings use analytics and measure scoring chances. [NHL]
  • Marc Bergevin (who’s now in COVID protocol), talks to Pierre LeBrun about the state of the Canadiens. [Athletic]
  • The Oilers have Darnell Nurse on IR with a broken finger, and Mike Smith is on LTIR. [TSN]
  • The Ducks lose Max Comtois for six weeks with a hand fracture. [TSN]
  • Players loved the “series” scheduling of last year’s (intra-division only) regular season and wonder why it was abandoned this season. Parts may return, at least where and when possible. But it’s hard to pull off and still play all 31 opponents. [Athletic]
  • The Avalanche extend coach Jared Bednar for two more years. [NHL]
  • Drew Doughty took a knee-to-knee hit a month ago, but he’s back skating (no contact) ahead of schedule. [NHL]