New York Islanders' Kansas City Situation Is Decadent and Depraved

B.D. GallofCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2009

I sit in my blog semi-retirement wearing a hawaiian shirt, bermuda shorts, and smoke a large cigar.

I sip Don Julio tequila as I relax, and let the sun wash over me.

I have been blogging since March of 2007, and blogging about the Islanders since September of 2008 in an official capacity.

Sometimes, even in semi-retirement, the hands look for things to do. So I will leave them here on this site for your persusal, ire, agreement or dismissal.

I might do one in a few days, a few weeks, or hell, a few months. Who knows?

But, the good thing about a semi-retirement, is that I now have to please nobody. If I'd written the truth I knew for the two years, about 60 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Suffolk to Nassau County.

Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of hockey blogging.

So let's dig a deeper for some truth on the Long Island atomic bomb of a possible Kansas City move by the NY Islanders...


Much has been made of the Isles' planned pre-season game in Kansas City. So much, it is as if that the groundwork for the slew of articles that followed from all the local papers seems to have been laid long before the KC announcement came over the wire.

In fact, as I was reporting that the Islanders were internally talking about 2010, it is very likely a final gambit was being hatched from far higher up to press hard to make sure if 2009's groundbreaking wasn't going to happen, they were going to make the Town of Hempstead's life very uncomfortable. Or at least ensure that 2010 was iron clad.

Since then, it has been a deluge of articles, rumors, innuendo, and a whole lot of hot air. One has to wonder if those writers who filled Newsday with all sorts of angles were clued in a few days or weeks before it all dropped. A paper who was giving less space for Isles games and information suddenly blew up into several pages at the drop of a hat.

It has been a very poorly-kept secret that the Town of Hempstead's (ToH) Kate Murray is eyeing Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi's position. The Republican Murray has been sending quite a few indications, including commercials on local cable on what a swell job she is doing for taxpayers.

Another might be that when Chris Botta of interviewed Nassau Exec, Tom Suozzi, about the Lighthouse Project, he piled it at the feet of Murray despite the fact that it is State Law that the Town of Hempstead do a environmental impact study. Suozzi clearly knew this, but laid it on her and the ToH feet anyway.

When I spoke to a source in the Town of Hempstead late last year, they cited that some main issues was the lack of plans for sewage, water, and other things that were slowing or at least causing some problems. When I contacted the Lighthouse Project people, they told me the water issue was handled and fine, and it is very often that things like sewage are done at this stage.

Well, then, why is there a pile of sewage bubbling up to add more murk to the entire situation? If things are so hunky dory, why has it escalated to NHL head Gary Bettman to make statements pushing the Lighthouse Project and ripping the County? And now, far more.

The most interesting thing about the Lighthouse Project itself is that despite Charles Wang's constant push for 2009, most political flacks around the area have always been thinking that is far too soon, and it would be at least a year or two later. So this has clearly been said to Wang and promptly ignored.

Meanwhile, Kate Murray has repeatedly parroted the term "generous offer" to Charles Wang and Scott Rechler in which they can renovate Nassau Coliseum and then work on the Lighthouse Project thereafter. But that ignores that the the whole enchilada is the real issue and a far more important to be solved.

The truth is, the Coliseum renovation is a small blip in the scheme of things and all that is at stake. The rest is where the money is, and therefore, paramount.

Yet, that said, despite a small thing, Charles Wang seems entrenched with a 2009 date that is coming and then going to renovate the Coliseum. Well, something has had to give.

It did. The Isles changed locations for a training further west and agreed to a preseason exhibition against the LA Kings in KC, and then all hell broke loose.

The truth is that there is very little chance that the Islanders go to KC. This is merely the escalation of a game of chicken by a slow process, a politically upward-seeking Republican ham, and a real estate deal that is about far more than a local hockey team.

Wang cannot afford the blowback if he sells the team, puts together the land package without a local sports draw, and expects people to run there. There is simply too much at stake for both sides.

In a political climate that has had most Democrats trounce Republicans, Kate Murray also cannot afford blowback by the Isles fan constituents when she might try to run against Suozzi later this year.

It might even be more clear to that the process might suddenly move forward far quicker when she is visibly running, as to maximize what might be a long hard if not impossible uphill battle. In fact, might this be the very reason that the Project sits in limbo?

If so, it is no wonder there is a power struggle going on between her and Wang.

The politicization of the Lighthouse Project would be a bad sign. For it is due to local politics that Nassau Coliseum has gotten dilapidated and with no good plans for the area in the first place. For years, politics reaped what it has sown, and the area has suffered. The Coliseum itself is a running joke in hockey circles.

Fact is, the Lighthouse Project has—at least now—become politically charged and now a lightning rod for all. Many ride on its momentum, but ground to a halt it will then cause a tug of war as both sides entrench themselves.

The losers are the Isles fans who are being manipulated over this scheme while fear and public relations are being piled in heaps to leverage movement. The Isles fans have been on a 15 year roller-coaster, and the further this all goes, the further some might walk away from the whole situation.

The battle of attrition that is going on through the press needs to stop. Common sense and the extraction from political machine must be made for any movement by both sides. The Lighthouse Project means much more than just a local hockey team, it means a revitalization for the entire area into something that can benefit the local government, businesses, consumers and families.

If the KC talk continues, they might as well do what they threaten, because those few Isles fans left will tune out and drop out simply because they cannot afford to be emotionally vested anymore. It simply hurts too much.

Fans know when they are being used.