4:05 pm – Welcome to the NHL, John Tavares. And to the league office, the Islanders thank you for the heaven-sent gift.
Point Blank has learned that the Islanders will open the 2009-10 regular season against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, October 3 at 7:00 pm at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
In a crowded New York sports landscape, count on the historic debut of Tavares and visit from Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Billy Guerin and the rest of the Pens being among the hottest tickets in town.
So hot, you can be certain Oct. 3 will be utilized as the primary lure for partial season ticket packages. Last I checked, the phone number for Steve Beisel and some of my old friends in the ticket office was still 1.800.882.ISLES.
The regular season schedule is expected to be released later this week. The Oct. 3 date with the Penguins has been rumored for a while now. Some fans contacted us via email to let us know that’s what the Islanders’ ticket sales office has been whispering. The home opener has been discussed on Islandermania.
Today, we confirmed that the Oct. 3 match with the Penguins at the NVMC is on the final draft of the NHL schedule. Over-the-counter tickets are not on sale yet, but the islanders could sell this game out tomorrow in an hour if they wanted to.
ADDENDUM at 5:50 pm – The reason why this is good for the NYI is that demand for the opener goes from hot to boiling. Tavares vs. the Panthers on Oct. 3 would sell out, but at nowhere near the demand of Islanders vs. Penguins. This is now the biggest ticket in an uncertain season. Tavares or not, if the NYI struggle as most will predict, games aren’t selling out in January.
It’s way too early to make assumptions about an Islanders mega-boon at the box office. Even if JTmania meets my projection of 2,000 additional season ticketholders, the team would then have around 10,000. Islanders-Penguins on a school/work night in November without a special deal does not = 16,297 paying full price.
As far as national TV in the U.S. goes, NBC doesn’t start its coverage til New Year’s. Versus, bless them, is Versus. The Islanders will make their international imprint when they become a better team.
Might as well start the season as grand as you can. As I wrote, this game will be the bait, the biggest draw by far in many partial plans…CB
Here’s Sean Leahy’s take on Puck Daddy. Comments.