NY Sports Day

Isles Need Practice Upgrade to Go with Barclays

Everyone was all smiles yesterday when the Islanders debuted at the Barclays Center.

New arena. New day.  New Islanders.

“It feels really new,” said superstar center John Tavares. “It’ll be good to play a game here, get a feel for what it will be like. In a couple of years, it’ll be a nice home.”

And even though, things look lopsided on the inside, as the scoreboard is over one blueline and not the center of the ice, you have to think this will be a good move for the Isles.

“One word for it: beautiful,” team owner Charles Wang said. “When you look at what is going on here, it’s unbelievable. I am very happy as you can see from the smile.”

But as the sign of things to come, you still have to take into account the Islanders will still be having their base of operation on Long island.

Unless things change, the team will still be using the outdated Ice Works in Syosset as their practice facility and that will still be a problem for the Isles when they go to Brooklyn.

You can say all you want about the team having a new arena to attract the free agents on the market and, sure it will help. But, even more importantly, the club needs a state of the art practice facility.

Before the Garden renovation, MSG was a few step above the Nassau Coliseum – albeit will a good reputation. But what attracted the high end free agents was the Rangers Training Center in Westchester. It’s state of the art and maybe the best in the business.

Understand, the players generally just play the games in their home arena, but they spend most of their time at the practice facility. It is where they work out and where they are able to prepare for the games.

Unfortunately,  Ice Works does not cut it for the Islanders. It is hopelessly outdated and built like it belonged in the 1980s. When the high priced free agent comes into town, they still may balk at playing for the Isles over the Rangers and Devils until an upgrade is made.

So it’s very nice the Isles have a new arena and Wang can wax poetic about the Barclays Center all he wants, but until they upgrade the practice facilities, it just may be the same old Islanders.


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