February 28th. Nassau Coliseum. John Tavares makes his return.
Yesterday, the Islanders made headlines by moving their matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs from Barclays Center to the Coliseum. The Washington Capitals come to town the following day, and prior to the switch, those two games would have been the only back-to-back where the Islanders played at multiple arenas this season.
While this move will make a tough back-to-back a little bit easier, that was not why it was made.
John Tavares will get hit with the full brute force of the Islanders faithful in one of the defining games of the season.
With one swift decision, the Islanders are showing fans that the Nassau Coliseum is their true home. Until the Belmont Park arena is ready, when the big games arrive, including the Playoffs, it is clear where they will be played.
Earlier this year, Brett Yormark was asked about the Islanders run in Brooklyn, and he responded, “Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We had great hopes that moving the Islanders to Brooklyn would work. Unfortunately, they were like a rent-a-team. This team never really embraced Brooklyn, unfortunately.
“The economics just don’t work. It’s a Long Island team trying to create a fan base in Brooklyn, and to date it has been met with very modest success and not at the numbers we have hoped.”
Lots of “unfortunately.” And that’s fitting. There isn’t a better word to summarize the Islanders time in Brooklyn.
Everyone knows the Barclays Center experiment was a bust, so why go back to something that clearly doesn’t work?
A common argument for Barclays Center was money. The Islanders don’t sell tickets, so why not profit off fancy suites and expensive food?
If money was a factor, the Islanders would have certainly kept John Tavares’ return to New York at Barclays Center, a game that would have most likely been the only sell-out of the season.
Next season, the Islanders will play every game at the Coliseum. The following season will be the same. It is painfully obvious that the Barclays Center move fell flat on its face, and yesterday’s decision to move the best game of the year back home reaffirmed this.
Barclays Center is dead. No longer will this fanbase go through the struggle of making a delay-ridden trek on four different trains to Brooklyn.
For at least the next few years, the Nassau Coliseum will once again be home.