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Islanders playoff home games: first round at Nassau, rest in Brooklyn

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The New York Islanders’ feel-good (/feel-bad-about-your-predictions) story presented a new wrinkle on Friday.

The Islanders answered a “What if?” question few uttered heading into 2018-19: where are the Isles going to play their home games for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Assuming, of course, that they complete this run and clinch a spot.

As you likely know, the Islanders have played some of their home games at Long Island’s classic, creaky Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, while playing the rest at the shiny, not-especially-hockey-friendly Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Considering the Islanders’ comfortable placement as a playoff team (and frontrunner to win the Metropolitan Division), that decision was needed. Cynics probably expected the answer to be “all Brooklyn,” but that’s not how it is ending up. Instead, the team announced that if the Isles make the playoffs as expected:

  • All first-round home games would take place at Nassau Coliseum.
  • Any home games from the second round and on will be at Barclays Center.

That’s … odd, but kind of cool, right? Sort of like this Islanders run to begin with.

The actual statement is fascinating, particularly the phrase “reflecting that the Nassau Coliseum does not qualify as an NHL major league facility.” That’s only slightly better than asking a crush out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, having them accept, and then hearing them say “Who needs a romantic Valentine’s Day, when you can have dinner with such a nice friend!”

Following consultation with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, the New York Islanders and BSE Global have announced that should the Islanders qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, any first round home playoff games will take place at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Should the team qualify for further rounds of the playoffs, any home Islanders games will take place at Barclays Center, reflecting that the Nassau Coliseum does not qualify as an NHL major league facility.

This agreement has been approved by the NHL, with the understanding that the scheduling of games will be in accordance with usual League practices.

Maybe that dig stings a bit, but … hey, more playoff games at Nassau. Who would have thought this would have happened just a few years ago? This Islanders team really is beating all of the odds.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

What do the Islanders need for a new arena? More cowbell!

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With the vote for a new arena on Long Island is only ten days away, the Islanders are pulling out all the stops. The team announced they’ll be hosting an event outside Nassau Coliseum with current and former Islanders players, ice girls, and a free concert featuring Blue Oyster Cult. There will also be various speakers including Islanders Owner Charles Wang and County Executive Ed Mangano helping spread the word for a “Yes” vote for a new arena on August 1st. Clearly, Charles Wang doesn’t fear the reaper.

Lead-singer Eric Bloom and the rest of the Blue Oyster Cult have a personal connection to Nassau County, the Coliseum, and the August 1st vote:

“We’re really looking forward to playing the Nassau Coliseum again. It’s the building closest to home for us. We support the effort to get people to vote yes for a new arena. We played many great shows there and living in Nassau County, we all know this area needs a new building that can become a true destination for concert goers, families and hockey fans.”

For those outside the Long Island area, Nassau County residents will vote whether or not they want to borrow money to build a new arena and minor league baseball stadium on August 1st. Wang and the Islanders have repeatedly tried to build a new arena in Long Island to replace the outdated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum—but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Town of Hempstead and opposition groups. The newest proposals for a new arena are nowhere near as impressive as the ill-fated Lighthouse Project from last year, but still would provide a $400 million bond to get the new arena project off the ground.

Newsday published a report from Camoin Associates that described the economic nightmare a new arena isn’t built and the Islanders leave town:

“Nassau County’s economy could lose $243.4 million annually if the New York Islanders leave the region after the club’s lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, according to a new report from the county’s economic consultants.

If the Coliseum were to shutter, it also would take with it 2,660 jobs and nearly $104 million in annual earnings, said the report, expected to be released Monday. Nassau also would lose about $8 million a year in tax revenue that would be generated by the arena in 2015 and beyond.”

Nick Giglia has been doing a great job following the story at both Lighthouse Hockey and Let There Be Light(house). He’s explained how the local media has ignored a report that concluded the new arena would only cost homeowners $0.26 per week and how to argue with an arena skeptic. While people around Islander Nation seem to be some of the most educated on the issues, we’ll have to wait until the evening of August 1st until we find out if the electorate passes the arena deal. Until then, the Islanders are doing what they can to get the word out to help educate the public on the economic impact a new arena could have on the area.

Unfortunately, there’s no word if Christopher Walkin or Will Ferrell will be on hand to lend the band a helping hand with any financial forecasts.

Voting for new Quebec arena deal won’t come until fall, putting NHL future on hold

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With the Atlanta Thrashers’ relocation to Winnipeg just about complete, the attention of many people who hope to see more Canadian NHL teams shifted to Quebec City. It only makes sense to look there since they lost their Quebec Nordiques to Colorado much like the Winnipeg Jets jettisoned to Phoenix, after all.

Quebec City officials have been trying to get a new arena built, which would probably be the biggest obstacle in returning the NHL to the area.

The dreams of bringing back the Nordiques – or adding a differently named NHL team – took a behind the scenes setback. The Calgary Sun reports that the Quebec legislature won’t vote on whether to approve or disapprove the $400 million arena deal until the fall, a development that angered Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume.

Regis Labeaume said the bill had to be passed before Quebec’s legislature breaks for the summer or the deal between the city and Quebecor over the new building’s management would be compromised — as would the chances of getting a new NHL hockey team.

Labeaume refused to speak to reporters after Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced the postponement of the bill.

“Obviously, certain people have decided to stop Quebec City’s boom … we will continue our work relentlessly,” Labeaume said Tuesday, as part of a short statement before returning to his office.

Quebecor president and CEO, Pierre Karl Peladeau, said the delays caused by the bill’s postponement will hurt the city’s chances at getting an NHL franchise.

“In the absence of judicial security and in front of a judicial contestation,” Péladeau said, “we think that the optimal conditions of ensuring the return of an NHL hockey team are no longer united.”

We’ll need to wait and see if this non-decision simply pushes the “Pause” button on Quebec City’s dreams of landing an NHL team again or if fans should just eject their hopes entirely.