Welcome to Year 2 of the Brooklyn based New York Islanders and as we see hockey barns re-open their doors, the Isles are back in the Barclays Center and surely there will be complaints about those darn obstructed view seats.
Look nothing is going to change here and except on nights like tonight’s opening night sellout, games against the Rangers and the occasional playoff game, does it really matter?
Generally there are plenty of good seats available and no one is being forced to sit in the obstructed goal side, because the rink is shoehorned into a basketball arena. It is what it is and for now, it’s the Islanders home.
And maybe, those fans who are complaining about the view, so concern themselves for about the record, because facts and facts and the Islanders simply play better at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic.
Last season, the Islanders dominated the competition at home with a record of 25-11-5 at home, which for those scoring at home is 55 points. They simply step up their game when the classic blue sweater is adorned, which is why we have come here to praise Barclays and not to bury it.
The Islanders themselves really don’t have an answer for why they play so well there. Outside of the normal platitudes that it’s home and the fans are loud, there’s no scientific reason.
“Knowing all the nuances of the rink,” said Isles captain John Tavares, “being out there on the ice and I think just the daily routine, getting up in the morning, being at home, sleep in your bed, the time you leave for the rink, all that stuff is pretty normal. It’s like we’re playing at the Coliseum. It’s not always perfect, but we get great support from our fans. We want to play good hockey and be tough to play against here.”
One possible explanation is the “softer” ice at Barclays. Remember it’s built over a train depot and he pipes for freezing are not in the ideal location. It may give the team an advantage, even though Cal Clutterbuck said it still isn’t easy to play on.
“I don’t know if you ever get used to playing on it,” he said. “The more familiar you play on that rink, the more familiar you get with it.”
But we offer this evidence. After the Islanders 3-2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks tonight, the club is 13-0-2 at Barclays against the Western Conference teams. Remember, these are clubs that come in once a year and do not have the time to get used to the arena.
No matter what it is, the fans, the ice, or just the quirky arena, the Islanders better keep it up. Including tonight’s game, they are home 10 times in the next 11 games. Because Barclays is so busy later in the season with the Nets, concerts and college basketball tournaments, the Islanders have a lot of home games early in the season.
In fact after January, they are only home 13 time for the rest of the regular season.
So now, it’s time for them to load up and keep home cooking going. After losing their first two games on the road, they have a golden opportunity to go on a streak and put some distance between the rest of the division.
Furthermore, this will give the Isles a chance to grow as a team. With a number of new players and new line combinations, they will have a chance to jell as a club.
Now there is a downside to this home streak. If the Isles don’t take advantage, they would have burnt a quarter of their Brooklyn schedule and face a tougher task with a road heavy schedule later in the season.
So, there’s no time to lose here. The Isles like playing at Barclays and the schedule gods gave them a gift to allow them to start of the new season on the right foot.