Editorials

Islanders: Final Thoughts On Barclays Center Experiment

By Matt O'Leary
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 26: Fans arrive for the game between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 26, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 26: Fans arrive for the game between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 26, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders will never play another game at the Barclays Center after this month and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

On March 22, the New York Islanders will take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the Barclays Center at 5:00 pm. After the final whistle, the Islanders will never take another step into Barclays again. It was announced yesterday, that the entire playoffs and 2020-2021 season will take place at the Nassau Coliseum.

99.9 percent of players, fans, and media members are happy with this decision but there’s a small minority who will miss the Barclays Center. As someone who has gone to countless games in that arena over the past five years, I will not.

From the beginning, it was never going to work. Yes, the Islanders had no other choice when Nassau Coliseum closed its doors for renovations in 2015 but the Barclays Center wasn’t all that accommodating.

When you stepped foot in that building it didn’t feel like the Islanders home. It felt like a neutral site game as the seats were black, the decor, in general, was dark and more geared towards the Brooklyn Nets.

Yes, over time, the Islanders had more than just the Stanley Cup banners make their way over to the Barc but even after that the full sections of obstructed views, off-centered scoreboard, and Honda SUV behind the glass felt more like a black eye on this once-proud franchise.

For the 2015-2016 season, the Islanders added a black and white alternate jersey which was arguably the ugliest sweater in Isles history. It had zero representation to the Islanders heritage and was about as plain jane as could be.

It didn’t stop there, they even tried to replace the goal horn to this monstrosity.

Thank God, a near revolt got the Islanders to switch it back to the original. That ear-piercing ode to the Long Island Rail Road was a swing and a miss.

Yes, the Barclays Center would be the host of the Islanders first playoff series win in over 23 years but even in a moment as big as that one, it never felt like the Islanders were in their permanent home.

It became obvious that the team didn’t want to be there and the Barclays Center wanted no part of them playing their games there.

Over the past two years, the Isles split time between Brooklyn and Nassau as Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz have taken over the reins of this franchise. The two home arenas is very bizarre, and no other team in the league has to deal with that kind of situation but it is better than a full 82 games in Brooklyn.

The Islanders are a totally different franchise now than what they were in 2015. They have a Stanley Cup-winning coach and GM, great owners, a new arena on the way. Things are looking up for this franchise.

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The fact that Isles fans will never have to step foot into the Barclays Center after March 22 is just another reason to love the direction of this franchise. The experiment is finally coming to a close, and I for one couldn’t be happier.

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