It’s only been a week and a half, but it feels as if the Islanders haven’t played in months. Tonight, the team finally takes the ice again to play the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2.
Even though they qualified as a wild card team, the Canes should not be taken lightly. Carolina is a fast team, and many of their forwards are producing this post-season. Double overtime in Game 7 or not, Isles fans cannot expect another seemingly easy sweep this round.
Which Is Why the Fans Need to Be a Part of This Series More Than Ever
Most fans are beyond angry that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are leaving Long Island for Brooklyn. It’s understandable. That means dealing with the Long Island Rail Road service: rushing out of work to catch the right train and then sitting in unexplained train traffic and delays. No one enjoys that. As well, Barclays has far different acoustics and some terrible seats. Suffice to say, it wasn’t meant to host hockey.
But the Coliseum isn’t exactly big enough to host playoffs hockey either. Suites and luxury boxes aside, there needs to be room for national broadcast crews and increased press. It’s been done before in the Coliseum, sure, but there’s no reason to struggle in the smaller building when a larger, easier building is available. Besides, by moving to Brooklyn, the Islanders fostered a second fan base, one who wants to see their team in the playoffs just as much as anyone on Long Island. The fanbase in the boroughs has to leave jobs an hour early and sit in two hours of traffic in order to make it to the Coliseum on time. Why don’t they deserve to see their team at home, too?
Regardless of all arguments, there’s a bottom line: If fans are true fans, they’ll go out of their way to support their team. Sports are about the game, after all, not the building. It’s about the team, the championship, the celebrations and the loses alike. It’s about the fan experience of supporting the players and loving the game, not of supporting a building.
While it feels like everyone is disappointed about the move mid-playoffs, the team has been clear in all recent interviews. They don’t care where they play; they care that the fans show up. The team trusts the fans to get loud despite the move.
Anders Lee recently said in an interview with NHL Radio, “Looking towards Brooklyn, it’s going to be more of the same. Our fans are what make it loud. The building at the Coli helps out for sure, but no matter where we play, no matter where it is, our fans will make sure that they make a difference.”
So, let’s make our captain proud, and cheer the Isles into Round 3, regardless of where they are.
Featured Image: Bryan R. Smith/AP