Arena talks are only slightly more enjoyable than talking about taxes, but they also happen to be crucial for NHL teams. Just ask anyone involved in the John Tavares negotiations.
Tuesday brought some interesting developments in both regards for the New York Islanders, although the Tavares update wasn’t exactly … detailed.
First, let’s pull off the Band-Aid with the arena stuff, as Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky spoke to the media today. For one thing, the Islanders will play at the Barclays Center in 2018-19, according to what Ledecky told reporters including Jim Baumbach of Newsday and Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post.
While more than one possibility has been discussed regarding a possible arena solution, Ledecky made it clear to reporters that an arena at Belmont Park is the focus.
Baumbach notes that Ledecky joins NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in shooting down any notion of the Islanders returning to Nassau Coliseum.
Interesting, but not surprising, to see the “NHL wouldn’t approve it” note.
Finally, GM Garth Snow provided a terse (but positive) update on the Tavares talks:
Well, alrighty then. It’s widely believed that Tavares wants some assurances about the Islanders playing in a stable spot before he commits to a new contract, and it’s plausible that the team’s successes or failures in 2017-18 could also make an impact on his decision.
The Islanders are currently 1-1-1, and won’t see their (temporary) home at the Barclays Center much for the time being, as this schedule analysis post discusses. They begin an especially tough road trip on Wednesday:
Wed, Oct 11 @ Anaheim
Sat, Oct 14 @ San Jose
Sun, Oct 15 @ Los Angeles
Thu, Oct 19 @ NY Rangers
Long story short, the Islanders face hurdles in both the short and long-term, so don’t blame Snow even if “excellent” might be a mild exaggeration regarding the Tavares talks.
And, of course, “excellent” only really matters if he eventually re-signs. It could be months until the Islanders and other bidders get some clarity regarding building near Belmont Park, a notion this post explores in greater detail.
So the Islanders’ arena and Tavares sagas may both have some twists up ahead.