Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:BROOKLYN — The Barclays Center impressed in its NHL debut… The Islanders didn’t do quite the same in their Brooklyn debut.
Corey Schneider and the New Jersey Devils shutout the Isles 3-0 Saturday night in the building New York will soon be calling home. Schneider made 26 saves in the New Jersey win, but the really story of the night was the venue to two teams were playing in.
A lot of talk about the seating, sight lines, and the fact fans would have to take the train dominated the conversation leading up to the arena’s hockey debut. But when all was said and done, the building passed the test for the most part. An announced crowd of 14,689 was on hand at Barclays and the fans Islanders Point Blank spoke with seemed happy with their future home.
“For me it was just about getting them to stay in New York. As long as they’re in New York, that’s perfect,” said Mike Stasiuk from Hicksville.
Stasiuk, unlike many fans that packed the Long Island Rail Road, drove to Barclays Center. Although he has taken the train there before. “I’ve taken the trains here for Nets games, but I don’t mind the commute. It’s a lot easier if anything,” he said.
Despite the outcome, the players also enjoyed their evening in the borough of Kings.
“The game obviously didn’t go the way we wanted to, but it was fun to play in that atmosphere and play in Brooklyn,” Kyle Okposo said after the game. “Unfortunate for us, we didn’t have our best game, but we’re going to have many more in this building and we’re looking forward to it.”
Matt Martin, who may be the Islander who has visited the Barclays Center the most, found the atmosphere great.
“The fans were loud…and it’s not something you’re used to in a preseason game,” he said. “They definitely helped you get into the game tonight. They were great, we were excited to play here, obviously we wished we put in a better effort.”
The Islanders did look flat at times during the 20 minute contest, with the Devils controlling the play for chunks of time. And when the team did have scoring chances and created momentum, Schneider was there to keep his team in front.
It also didn’t help that the ice wasn’t as great as it could have been.
“The ice was a little rough out there. The puck was bouncing a lot, but that will come with experience for them and the crew,” Okposo said.
But defenseman Travis Hamonic wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“Was it definitely pretty hot out there? It really was and maybe that effected the ice a little bit,” he said. “But they were playing on the same ice as we were, so we’re not going to use that as an excuse.”
The Islanders will not get much rest, since they are right back in action Sunday for a preseason contest in Nashville.