Playing at Barclays does Isles disservice
For the Islanders to play the rest of the playoff games at Barclays Center instead of Nassau Coliseum, it's not right considering Coliseum provides better home-ice advantage than Barclays.
New York Islanders forwards Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas attended an NBA playoff game Thursday night at Barclays Center. They saw the Philadelphia Sixers gave another whooping of the Brooklyn Nets 131-115 in Game 3 of the best-of-seven first round of the NBA playoffs. No one noticed those two were there, even when the Nets announced they were there on the jumbotron.
Next week, those two will participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. After playing the first round of the playoffs at Nassau Coliseum, the NHL relegates the Islanders to play their rest of the playoff rounds at Barclays Center. If Martin and Cizikas did not feel the love from the public for a Nets playoff game, they can forget about feeling it when they play in Brooklyn. Deep down, they know it.
The NHL put the Islanders in a no-win position by playing the second round of the playoffs at Barclays Center. They are in a disadvantage since no one cares about the Islanders in Brooklyn. The Islanders do not draw well there, and it’s hard to believe anyone would care now that they are in the second round. Hockey does not get people interested in the city.
Long Island cares because the Islanders are the only professional sports team there. They create an identity with Long Islanders in a sense their work ethic is the trademark of the team. The fans rally around the team, and it showed when the Islanders played their home games at the Coliseum this season.
The Islanders fed off from the crazed fans in the first two games of the playoffs at the Coliseum against the Penguins. The fans can be so close to the action with the lack of luxury suites and moats that you see in new arena, and that gives the home team a lift, and it rattles the road team.
It won’t be a problem anymore for the rest of the Islanders’ opponents. The NHL saw to it with this decision.
The Islanders might as well play all of the playoff games on the road rather than play at Barclays Center. What difference does it make? The Islanders are the road team in Brooklyn because no one bothers to watch them there. The low attendance over there speaks for itself. If anything, playing on the road brings the team together and the team can feed off energy there than at Barclays.
Only NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman can be oblivious to all this. There’s a reason he gets booed by fans when he presents the Stanley Cup to the winner every year. He makes decisions that does not make sense whether it’s the lockout or not promoting the sport well enough.
The Islanders have not played at Barclays Center in months, so to expect the ice to be well and the team to pick it up now is asinine.
Plus, Barclays Center management prefers not to have the Islanders play there anymore. In fact, the Islanders received an eviction notice about not playing there next year since the arena lost money. Oh, and the Islanders want out, too.
For Bettman to not be aware of all this, it’s negligence on his part. He could do something about it by making sure the Islanders play at the Coliseum. It should be an easy decision.
The Islanders said all the right things about it won’t be bad playing at Barclays and home-ice-advantage at Barclays would be the same as the Coliseum. They know better, though. Their players can’t be happy making the commute to practice at Long Island and then heading to Brooklyn. They understand Long Islanders won’t make the trek to Brooklyn on a weeknight for a playoff game.
Winning the Stanley Cup requires dealing with hurdles. Playing at Barclays becomes another hurdle that the Islanders shouldn’t really have to deal with since it’s hard enough as it is with so many good teams vying to hoist the Lord Stanley.
The Islanders have no choice but to make the most of it and try to use it as an advantage, even though it’s not going to be easy.
If they win the Stanley Cup, this would be well-deserved considering how much harder Bettman made it out to be.