When the New York Islanders made the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it brought thousands of fans joy. However, the joy came with some arguably bad news as well. The news was that after the first round of the playoffs, all home games would be played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, this of course is instead of the beloved Nassau Coliseum.
At the time, many fans around the league thought that the Islanders had little to no chance against the known hockey superpower, Pittsburgh Penguins. But to many fans surprise, the Islanders miraculously swept the Penguins in four games. After this, fans had to come to the realization that the rest of their potential games would be played in Brooklyn. The thought of this was perceived similarly among the Islanders faithful, annoyed. However, it was the reaction that was different between the fans. Many fans were grateful that the team was able to make it this far, and decided to suck it up and just support their team. Others were not so happy.
And after ten relaxing days for both fans and players, the Islanders took the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes in the controversial building, and ended up losing in overtime. Although most people would say that the arena had nothing to do with this, I beg to differ. Throughout that game, fans who were in attendance had to sit in an arena which is half obstructed from the ice, deal with extremely loud and uncomfortable music, and the thought about making the long commute home after the game. Upon hearing this, many people would still say that the arena had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. However, one of the main issues for the Islanders in this game was the lack of noise from the crowd. This was most likely due to the fans being very unhappy from their in-arena experience, the extremely loud sound system, and the high ceiling in the arena. Also, the size of the arena played a major role in the lack of sound because it was very hard for chants to spread throughout the crowd. This is the exact opposite of the Coliseum, which is another reason that fans hate the arena.
Following their game one loss to Carolina at home, the Islanders looked to even the series in a matinee in Brooklyn last Sunday. And yet again, the same exact problems were present for the Islanders at Barclays Center. This ultimately helped to lead the team to an emotionally draining 2-1 loss. The lack of excitement from the fans paired with two goals from Carolina early in the third period to set the Isles back 2-0 in the series. Although this could’ve happened at the Barn, it would’ve been much more difficult due to the emotion of the crowd, and the players being more amped up to play.
The New York Islanders have clearly enjoyed their return to the Coliseum this season. It was highlighted by back to back playoff wins against Pittsburgh, in which the building was said to be much louder than anyone in attendance has ever heard in their lives. On top of this, the players and coaching staff have made it very clear that they would rather be playing at the Coliseum, rather than Barclays center. I’m not sure if it’s because of the midnight train rides home, or maybe the poor atmosphere, but the organization surely does hate playing there. Regardless of your stance on the arena situation, it’s obvious that the team loses a major benefit when the Islanders play in Brooklyn. Playoff hockey is so close that feeling comfortable where you play can be the one percent difference that makes or breaks a game.