The New York Islanders held their special “Meet the Team” event this week at the Barclays Center bringing cheer to many of their season ticket holders.
The New York Islanders held their “Meet the Team” event for season ticket holders and it was the first time I found myself coming into contact with a current roster. I decided that for the evening I was a fan and not a blogger, though it was a little difficult at times to hold that line.
While I was generally pleased with the outcome, I was also slightly underwhelmed. Here’s why.
What I Enjoyed
Casey Cizikas: I’m convinced that Cizikas is the happiest human on the planet and doesn’t know how to do anything but smile. It was infectious and he was friendly and warm, not just to kids but to the kid-like adults (like me) who think he’s the bees knees.
Ryan Strome: Strome is a punk in a likeable cheeky way and I enjoyed his sense of humor and how he engaged in conversation rather than signing and sending me on my way.
Anders Lee: My son couldn’t attend but the only thing he wanted was Lee’s signature on his jersey. I told Lee about my boy and Lee personalized his signature and offered a card, too. Well done, Mr. Lee.
Cal Clutterbuck: Another friendly and warm human and thankfully so. My love for the game might be indulged by my girlfriend because of this hipster and his friendliness and humor to this situation made her smile. Excellent, Mr. Clutter, excellent.
Calvin de Haan. de Haan and Adam Pelech was the shortest line in which I stood. When I got to their table, I said thank you. It’s something I said to each and every player I saw. Maybe they heard it too much, maybe not enough. But de Haan was the only player to thank me back.
Perhaps they were all overwhelmed by the amount of people. There could have been people just not too friendly considering the state of the team. Whatever the case, thank you for the thank you Calvin.
What Was Underwhelming
John Tavares: He was the reason I was there. He’s the reason I re-connected with the Islanders and through no fault of his, I suppose, has earned my undying loyalty. It’s because of him that I was determined to experience the event as a fan and his was the first table I sought.
I worked it up in my head that it was going to be this grand amazing thing, kind of like meeting Pat Lafontaine and speaking a million words a minute for just how much he meant to me as a kid and seeing him smile back because he both appreciated and was tickled by it.
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It wasn’t any of those things. I was reasonable about it. I chalked it up to a dozen different things like the sheer size of Tavares’ line, the unsuccessful road trip, a public persona I truly know nothing about, or maybe he just saves the enthusiasm for the kids.
And I wanted to say okay, I am a grown up, so it is what it is.
Three days later, it’s just a sense of disappointment that lingers. And that’s not something I ever dreamed I’d think of involving Tavares. I accept that my expectations may have been too high or unfair, but I’m human, too, and Tavares is the bees knees.
The event itself was cold. I’m not sure how other events have been in the past, though old guard Coliseum season ticket holders were quick to fill me in all night. It wasn’t an Adventureland event. It wasn’t racing go-carts with them. What it was lining up, meeting them behind tables, and being ushered away so everyone could get a turn.
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What Was Rotten in the Borough of Brooklyn
Jon Ledecky. Mr. Ledecky was in attendance and walking through the concourse, taking photos and shaking hands. He was all smiles. On some level, I understand that it wasn’t the time to address concerns about the state of the team and the downward trajectory of the organization under current management.
On an entirely different level, as a blogger and customer, it’s the only time I’ve seen him. I wanted to see some level of concern to show that he cares because of how much we care – because of the money the people on that concourse spend on a team that pretty much punted the season before it was half over.
Ledecky owed us more. He owes us more. He might not think so, hence his silence and refusal to offer some indication that he’s prepared to fix the mess the Islanders are in.