3. The Magic of the Coliseum
The New York Islanders are just one single win away from qualifying for the Stanley Cup Finals. What an absolutely absurd sentence that would’ve been to type or read just three years ago, right?
Yet, they’re also just a single loss away from being eliminated altogether from the playoffs. Strangely, I somehow feel almost at peace as I sit awake at one in the morning writing that sentence. It’s definitely just the post-game emotions talking, by the way.
But the Islanders undeniably did us all really, really proud on Wednesday night. The team who were written off time after time by hockey media, the team made up of a core considered to be under-achievers, the team whose captain abandoned them after a disastrous 2017-18 season.
That team is a win away from an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals just three short seasons later, and that same core who were considered under-achievers are mostly still here, and the old building they play in which was considered too small or too old for NHL hockey after so many years of service is still absolutely buzzing.
What an amazing place the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is. The smell, if you’ve been there you know the one I’m talking about. That kinda funny smell in the concourse. It’s like a mixture of hot dogs, beer, and asbestos, in any other place I’d say it smells totally putrid. But at the Coli it just smells like home ice.
I was at Game Four on Saturday. My dad and I found some decently-priced tickets the morning of the game and just decided we’d say screw it and go. We showed up early and just walked around the lower bowl taking in the still kinda quiet atmosphere before the bulk of the crowd showed up.
The Coli has been the place where so many memories have taken place for me and so many Isles fans. It feels like my home away from home.
I really sincerely hope we didn’t just witness the last game in that old barn on Wednesday night. I think we’re all really, really hoping the Isles will win Game Seven and advance.
But if they don’t, I think we can all say that they sent the Coli off right with a big, gutsy performance like the one we saw on Wednesday.
I’m excited for UBS Arena, of course, and I’m sure all of you are too. But I don’t think it can ever replace the magical feeling of stepping inside that smelly old barn on Hempstead Turnpike that holds so many memories from generations of Islander fans.
Now, let’s hope the Isles come out and finish the job they’ve started by putting the Lightning away in Game Seven.