The New York Islanders will be playing a majority of their games at the Nassau Coliseum in 2019-20. An arena that the NHL doesn’t see as an NHL arena.
The New York Islanders announced on Monday that seven home games from the 2019-20 season will be moved from the Barclays Center to the Nassau Coliseum. That takes the Islanders total home games at the Coliseum to 28.
Of the 41 total home games this season, that means 68.5 percent of the Isles home schedule will be on Long Island. The rest of the Islanders home games will stay with the Barclays Center.
Three of the seven games being moved are in October, another three are in January, and one in February. That means the Isles first eight home games of the season will be on Long Island.
Moving games to the Nassau Coliseum just makes sense. No one likes the Islanders playing games at the Barclays Center. The players aren’t fans, the fans aren’t fans, heck, even the Barclays Center isn’t a fan of the Isles playing in their venue.
This is a win-win-win for the everyone involved. There isn’t much more to say about the news than that.
Except for what might happen if the Islanders make the playoffs.
The New York Islanders will play three games at home to start the season on October fourth, sixth, and eighth. That’s three home games in six days. Add in another two on the 12th and 14th and the Isles will have five home games in ten days.
That’s a playoff-like schedule.
We all remember that last season the Islanders played their first-round matches at the Coliseum and the remainder of their home playoff schedule at the Barclays Center. The NHL’s reasoning was that the Coliseum “does not qualify as an NHL major league facility.”
How can that argument still hold up when the NHL is ready to embrace a schedule that will feature so many games at the Coliseum? It can’t.
Look, I get it. The Barclays Center has a higher capacity than the Nassau Coliseum. The Barclays Center also features more luxury boxes than the Coliseum. There’s more money to be made at the Barclays.
But the Barclays doesn’t have the same atmosphere as the Coliseum. Yes, it’s filled with the exact same passionate fan base. But there’s something to be said about the sense of community that comes from going to the Coliseum. We’ve all felt it. It’s just not the same at the Barclays Center.
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The NHL will certainly still hold the same line if the New York Islanders make the playoffs this season. But by OK’ing the majority of the Isles games at the Coliseum, their argument that the Nassau Coliseum isn’t NHL rated is hogwash.
And I know that the Islanders will soon move to Belmont. But until that time comes, the Isles should be at the Coliseum full time. There’s no reason for them not to be.