Another beautiful day in the Apple awaits, so this missive will be brief by my standards, but since I had the chance to witness last night’s affair in person, a few thoughts seemed in order.
First, I don’t blame Charlie Wang for wanting a new building, since I can see the flaws of Nassau Coliseum from an owner POV. Thirty-odd luxury suites tacked on to the top of the upper level as an afterthought is no way to maximize a team’s income, and that’s the situation in play here. The building’s certainly showing its age as well, and I regret not taking a picture of my seat in the 100 level, because the look of the fabric suggested that it hadn’t been replaced since they built the place in 1972.
That noted, anyone that’s read my stuff in the past knows that I’m pretty unsympathetic to owners crying poor, and that in general terms, rich guys should build their own playpens. That doesn’t mean that Wang is solely to blame for not having a new building, since getting anything done in New York is expensive and time-consuming, but given the property tax burden your average Nassau county person faces, I just can’t see a stand alone facility for the Isles in my lifetime. The option of the Barclay’s Center is probably the one that will happen if Wang can work out a lease deal with Bruce Ratner, limited capacity and all.
The hidden shame of it is that since Nassau Coliseum is fairly small and doesn’t have a couple of rings of luxury boxes and club areas between the lower and upper levels, sitting in the relative cheap seats at the 300 level is a decent experience for the fans. If you sit in the middle of the upper level, you’re roughly 30 rows above ice level. That’s not the way things are in the modern era’s facilities, and for the few die-hards left in the Islander fan base, any new building will mean a poorer experience for many of them in terms of actually watching the game. Those people aren’t who new buildings cater to, of course, and progress will do as it will, but it seems worth pointing out.
As for the game itself, the Jets finally played a NHL-standard third period. The Islanders aren’t the most explosive team going, but allowing six shots when you’re protecting a lead on the road is always acceptable work, and doing so with half of your six regular defenceman shelved is quality stuff. The team still has entirely too many moments of utter panic in their own end, and to be blunt, Winnipeg was damned lucky not to be trailing after the second. Still, though, it was a good win to bank under the circumstances.
Ondrej Pavelec’s getting the praise this mornig for his shutout, and rightly so, but the player that really impressed me last night was Evander Kane. I normally prefer to sit higher up than the 8th row, but being in that location last night did give me a good vantage point to appreciate the raw power and speed that Kane has in his arsenal. His goal was a prime example of that physical talent, but there were a couple of occasions where the Jets were scuffling to escape their own zone, and Kane’s ability to simply take the puck up the wall and accelerate his way out of trouble was notable.
At any rate, the road trip has been kind so far, and given the quality of opposition that awaits this weekend, there might be another win available. I suspect that going in, the idea of the team finishing over .500 on the journey would have been seen as a bonus, so two more points in any fashion will render the trip a success, presuming that the team doesn’t lose another body or six along the way.
I’ll be back Monday-ish with exciting tales recounting events from the delightful city of Newark, New Jersey. Oh, and MSG as well 😉