New York Islanders: Queens Is a Dream, Brooklyn Is Home
The New York Islanders universe got a jolt with more rumors of a move out of The Barclays Center, despite owner John Ledecky’s words of commitment to Brooklyn just last week.
Rumors of a possible move for the New York Islanders to Queens circulated yesterday. It isn’t anything new and there wasn’t really any more certainty to it than before, especially with the plethora of ‘no comments’ buried within it.
So why does it feel different?
Perhaps it’s the source – Bloomberg as opposed to the Post and the followup by Newsday that there’s been talks between Islanders ownership and the Wilpons.
Maybe more than that, though, is the hope of it. It’s the idea that John Ledecky is not just talking out of his you-know-what when he says he wants the New York Islanders to be a world class destination in the National Hockey League.
Because hey, a brand-spanking new building – specifically for hockey – within a space that’s also home to a Major League Baseball team and a Grand Slam Tennis Center could just do the trick there.
The Twitter Perspective
Jumping on Isles Twitter is always a little like taking your life into your hands and doing so after this news broke was no different and brought a mixed bag of reactions and even more speculation.
It’s a power move by ownership (Andy Graziano). Reiteration of Ledecky’s commitment that Brooklyn is home. According to BD Gallof, it’s essentially a believe it when you see it actually start to happen issue and perhaps more disturbing is Gallof’s source that says a move out of Brooklyn will be a move out of New York.
Then there’s the fan angle. Queens is friendlier to the fans East, still viable from Manhattan and even New Jersey. I have to tell you though, as a Barclays season ticket holder from New Jersey, Willets Point for me will either cost an arm and a leg or return me to the traveling time frame I needed for the Coliseum (2 hours and a half day of work because you try crossing Staten Island and navigating the Belt after 3 in the afternoon). I’m a little biased towards Brooklyn for my personal ability to finally see it live!
This is enough to make any fan’s head spin. It’s also enough to make you up and say, ‘oh, hey, no wonder guys don’t choose to come here unless they’re grossly overpaid’ (I’m looking at you Mikhail and Nikolay, the new thorns in our cap-side).
Listen. Isles fans need something to cling to. It’s been years and years of everything under the sun and yet we’re still here. Still hoping. The Barclays Center isn’t the old Barn and it isn’t any of the 29 other hockey arenas in the NHL.
It’s not going to hold an All-Star game, despite Ledecky’s wishes, and there’s going to be a dark cloud hovering over it for pretty much ever. Even if Brett Yormark and his people get it together enough to admit they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to hockey and actually bring in folks who do.
But I’m going to hold fast to the notion that Brooklyn also isn’t Quebec, Seattle, or any other place that would take these boys away from us. That could take John Tavares away from us.
Queens could be great, but even if it’s viable, it’s years and years away – at least three in an ideal situation, according to Brian Compton on WOR this evening. The only really useful information to come out today is nothing is certain and it’s a waiting game.
We’re still going to be in Brooklyn and we’ve still got to make it home. We have to trust that Ledecky isn’t all talk and that his action will be swift and substantial.
But I’m going to back him in this – in his plea at the Islanders Town Hall – for people to come out. The commitment has to go both ways. You have to show up because when you do, it’s magic despite the arena’s shortcomings, and every one of you there for Tavares’ series winning goal against the Panthers knows it.
Ledecky’s opened the wallet. Garth Snow has the freedom to spend, and he has. The Islanders are up there.
And who knows. Maybe that’s part of the agreement, maybe that’s part of what could make a viable hockey arena a reality whether it’s Queens, Nassau County, or Brooklyn getting it right. The commitment on both ends. Until then, make it about the team, because at the end of the day they – not the building – are home.