Here's hoping the Islanders
aren't one foot out the door to Kansas City where they have scheduled one, that's one, preseason game for next year.
For you kids that are too young to understand the importance of Lee Mazzilli, there's no way I can expect you to understand the importance of Billy Smith.
Not too long ago, as recently as 1994, hockey was a big thing in this town. Then there was a really awfully poorly timed lockout (why blow the buzz of a Rangers
cup and a new deal with FOX which was proving itself to be pretty good at hyping sporting events). Then there was the season never played.
So to you kids I know hockey is right up there with poker in terms of importance, but let me tell you once it was pretty cool and these Islanders ran off four straight championships. Think of them as the hockey version of the Torre Yankees circa 1998-2000. The Isles run also ended with a loss in the finals.
Much like other sports teams in the area they had blue and orange uniforms! Imagine that! Then like other silly local teams they started messing around and introduced the hideous fisherman jersey with "cooler darker colors." Eventually the true logo returned but the dopey color stayed (Mets fans can think of black uniforms).
So here we are and the Islanders are, you know, just playing one game in KC. Just like the Dodgers just played seven games in Jersey, or the Bills are just playing a few in Toronto
. There's nothing to fear, right?
I keep hearing about the need for a new building. They don't need it. A renovation, sure. Some new bells and whistles, sure. Eight billion luxury boxes? Not needed. There aren't the companies on Long Island to support it. Building a new arena in the same location with its lack of public transportation (a cab to a local LIRR stop is not a good plan) would be a mistake. Nassau west of the Meadowbrook Parkway has become Eastern Queens. If a new building were to be built, and it shouldn't, the Isles would be wiser to head east - maybe on Route 110 somewhere between the LIE and the Southern State - now that there are more people living in Suffolk than Nassau.
One thing the Coliseum is cozy. You can sit in the worst seat possible and its way closer than the upper deck at the Con-Air arena ever was (I haven't been to The Rock) or the "blue seats" are at the Garden. You may find yourself in a new building but three times as far away at five times the price.
Long Islanders should enjoy their local team in their cozy arena. Maybe someday the Islanders will run off four cups again and you'll be surprised at how viable the Coliseum will become.