7:35 pm, NVMC: No matter where you stand on the Lighthouse Project, almost everyone agrees the Islanders could use a new or completely transformed arena. Hurricane winds wrecked havoc all over Long Island yesterday, including some wreckage of the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike.
Turns out the Millsteins were just a decade ahead of their time. The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum really is falling apart.
Three large sections of the aluminum upper facade of the arena came crumbling down on Saturday around 5:30 pm. Although fans were starting to line up before the Islanders’ game against the Devils, somewhat miraculously no one got hurt. The only inconvenience was some traffic when the main area of the box office had to be closed.
Two of the pieces of broken barn were 2 x 18, the other 12 x 12.
Of course, you can drive to many places on Long Island to witness serious damage. I recommend Capitolian Blvd. in Rockville Centre for an awesome sight of a large tree lifted out of the ground and lying across the length of the block (no one got hurt). You can also check out the front porch of the home I thought my family was moving into this summer.
But in case there was any doubt, the Islanders need a new home. It’s dangerous out there.
Plus: Bruins management may have loved this result for draft pick purposes, but the Islanders pull to within seven points of eighth place Boston for the final playoff berth in the East. Although the Islanders haven’t won on the road in two months, a not-unreasonable-to-expect four points on this three-game Western swing keeps them in the race.
Plus: It took some growing pains, but Blake Comeau (first three-assist NHL game) can be added to the list of keepers on the core of forwards in this rebuild. Lest anyone forgot, Comeau has a pretty good pedigree. He is 6-6-12 in his last eight games.
Plus: The rest of the confirmed list as of this date: John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, Matt Moulson. Yes, nucleuses (nuclei?) can include effective third-liners like Comeau. And yep, the team needs some size.
Plus: Freddy Meyer is the perfect example of an excellent role player who is sometimes disrespected when he’s playing on a losing team. With his attitude and play, he’s a perfect 6-7 defenseman for the Islanders. No reason not to keep him around.
Plus: Matt Martin, even on an emergency recall, demonstrates how to be a good teammate.
Plus: On back-to-back games, in nasty weather, for a team barely in the playoff race, the fans came out in good numbers. That’s the definition of a strong fanbase.
Plus: Dennis LaRue with the kind of heads-up intelligent penalty call you don’t always see when Nikolai Kulemin attempted to disguise a pick-and-roll. Referees get a lot of carp, often for good reason, but smart work deserves to be applauded.
Plus: Tim Jackman is unable to fight, Dion Phaneuf wasn’t going to fight. The best the Islanders could do is make Phaneuf have to keep his head up for the entire game, know he was marked, and understand the Islanders would not forget what he did to Kyle Okposo. On all levels, the Islanders succeeded.
Plus: Recent adjustments to the penalty kill have paid off. (We’ll save the needle about yet another too-many-men penalty for a different day). Coming into the weekend, the Islanders had given up eight power play goals in their last six games. They were 11-for-11 in these two games with a pair of shorthanded goals.
Plus: By raising some ticket prices and asking season subscribers to pay by April 1, by raising the cost of parking closer to major league levels, some enticing signs are there. The Islanders have every intention of spending some money (some from the Andy Sutton savings), getting out of 26th-30th-28th place and taking the next step. As much as it has been a brutal last two months in the Country, the Islanders are in position to compete next season. Should be an exciting summer.