McDonald: Islanders Need To Make Snowballs From Slush From The Bad Ice At Barclays

A good weekend for the Islanders, also gave the bad ice conditions at the Barclays Center to rear its ugly head.

Because the pipes that freeze the playing surface are made with hard plastic instead of steel, the ice becomes an issue when it’s generally warm out.

Usually, this isn’t a problem during the winter months, since the temperature outside compensates for the substandard refrigeration system, but on a night like Friday when it was unseasonably warm and humid, then we have a problem.

“It wasn’t very good, I don’t know what else to say,’’ coach Jack Capuano   reporters on Saturday. “I’m not going to elaborate on it too much. And I get it was a humid day, the weather’s tough, but I can reiterate what the players said that it’s got to get better. It wasn’t good.’’

The Barclays Center people, to their credit, have made changes to the ice from last season. They brought in a dehumidifier last year during the playoffs and then hired a full time ice technician this season.

Unfortunately, there’s just so much you can do until they rip out the floor and replace the pipes with steel ones that keep the ice at a cozy 21 degrees.

That’s not going to happen. At least right now, which is why it has been reported the Islanders are looking at alternate locations after their opt-out in three years. The earliest this will happen is after the season and the will have to close Barclays during the summer. Maybe, it will happen this summer, when the Barclays people will want to highlight the renovated Nassau Coliseum and will send the summer events there.

In the meantime, you have to consider this a home-ice advantage for the club. Now, as long as no one gets hurt from the ice – and that is an issue – the Islanders play better at Barclays. They can say it’s because of the crowds, which have not been full and that they have been sleeping in their own beds, but you have to think the ice is a factor when it comes to home cooking.

After winning Friday, the Islanders broke out for six goals last night against the Minnesota Wild. John Tavares scored twice and added an assist, while rookie Anthony Beauvillier had two assists in the 6-3 win.

“We’ve had a lot of chances the last few games and it’s good to see a few go in,” Tavares said. “We got some big goals from all parts of our lineup and that goes a long way. It’s good to get a couple wins in a row here.”

The dominate performance is needed as the Isles looked uneven early on in the season. They are in the midst of a 10 out of 11 game home streak and need to load up on the wins here, before the schedule gets unbalanced on the road later in the season.

So maybe having bad ice isn’t a bad thing early on in the season. Remember both teams will need to play on the surface and the Islanders are used to the soft surface.

Sure, we are trying to make snowballs from slush here, but there’s nothing else the Isles can really do, but use it to their advantage.

They did that this past weekend.


About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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