Earlier on Friday, eyebrow-raising news surfaced that brought back memories of the Hartford Whalers, as Connecticut made a pitch for the New York Islanders.
“The public letter that the Connecticut Governor’s office released earlier today was the first we had heard of the news … We are thrilled to be playing this season in front of our passionate New York Islanders fan base at Barclays Center, with the goal of making the playoffs. We look forward to another great year of New York Islanders hockey at Barclays Center next season.”
So, that statement does its job without really putting to rest every rumor surrounding the team.
The Islanders can leave the Barclays Center after 2017-18, which makes the use of “next season” especially appropriate. As this post indicates, reports show that the arena might opt to give the Isles the boot after 2018-19.
Gary Bettman, meanwhile, kept things vague by saying the Islanders are committed to New York, though not necessarily the Barclays Center in specific.
This all makes you believe that Hartford’s dream of getting the Islanders is a long shot, but we’ve seen some strange moments when it comes to sports teams moving to unexpected places (in the NHL and in other leagues). It’s often best not to assume much of anything until the ink dries on a deal.
Heck, Islanders fans of all fans know that ownership situations can get downright bizarre.
For what it’s worth, the recently-red-hot Islanders are taking on the Detroit Red Wings tonight.