Been sitting on this for months. Since it leaked today that October 2nd, YOUR NEW YORK ISLANERS will host the Devils in my home of BROOKKLLLLYNNN, today is a good day, as Ice Cube would say.
Other than family and friends, there may not be two things I love more in my life than The Islanders and my home, Brooklyn.
This is it. I became a fan in 2001. An arena in Brooklyn would represent our first stability since I became a fan. Not that constant nagging “is this another year to the end?” That alone is worth its weight in gold.
Limiting myself to ten reasons why the Islanders in Brooklyn would kick ass is tough. There’s a lot more. But I’ll stay with ten. First, I’ll give some time to the opposition arguments. Chief among them is the stance that the Isles aren’t a city team, but rather a suburban one. Sorry y’all. That argument doesn’t work anymore. It’s not the 1970s. To exist, a pro sports team needs either a large market and all the revenue streams that come from it, or an insanely unique situation like the Green Bay Packers. Long Island is NOT, nor will it ever be confused for Green Bay. At the mention of Green Bay, there is one thing that pops into people’s heads. It’s Vince Lombardi & Bart Starr. It’s Brett Favre. It’s Aaron Rodgers. It’s the World freaking Champion Green Bay Packers. That’s it. On Long Island, as revered as the Isles are by their diehard loyalists, they are often the farthest thing from people’s minds.
The other argument I love is that those cups were won in Uniondale. They sure were. Moving about 30 minutes didn’t slow the Giants or Jets. It won’t affect the Islanders. Part of that change is the fanbase, which could certainly change slightly, but we’ll get to that.
Without any further adieu, here’s why the New York Islanders need to be screaming “ ‘No. Sleep. ‘Til. BROOKLYN!”
- Three’s a crowd – The intensity of having 3 teams within an hour of one another is amazing. Let’s dial it up to 3 teams within 20 minutes. That’d be unmatched in sports. Hockey would bring the dynamic that baseball had killed in the 50’s back to the NYC Metro area, sight unseen since the days of Willie, Mickie, and the Duke.
- Size matters – Brooklyn, on it’s own independently of the other boroughs, serves as the 4th largest city in America with 2.5 MILLION people.
- Stop being the used, start being the powerbroker – Nassau County has extorted the Islanders for the better part of their 40 years, as the team is saddled with a crippling lease and has spent the last 10 years as the politicians on both sides of the aisle use them as a political football. Get out of a place that has used and abused you. Nassau politics are hell. I can already sense the distrusting of ALL politicians. Absolutely fine. Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos. But the thing about Brooklyn politics is this: They are dynastic. THERE ARE TWO FAMILIES THERE. The Goldens, and the Markowitzes. Both want the team there, as does principal owner of the Barclay’s Center (and Wang buddy!) and Partial Nets Owner Bruce Ratner.
- All aboard a crazy train – Amtrak Metro North. The Long Island Rail Road. And Every New York City MTA line is at most one transfer away. That’s a stark difference for a team that for the first for decades of it’s existence has had NO viable mass transit exposure.
- Charles Wang, Homecoming King – Charlie has endured pissing away 200 million on this team, endured being used by 2 sets of politicians. He is also, as I have documented, a jackass. But, It’s time for him to dish out some payback. Kate Murray (R, Town of Hempstead) and Jay Jacobs (D, Party Leader in State of NY), have both dumped on this team for the last time. Each said essentially “they will come to us with a deal on our terms, because they have no where else to go.” Wrong, Jackasses. Charles Wang by god may be a Long Island institution. He’s made MILLIONS there. But last I checked, there are 4 counties on Long Island, and the western most is Kings County, more commonly known as Brooklyn. Charles Wang graduated from a school around the block from the Barlay’s Center many years ago, Brooklyn Technical High School. It’s sports facility located two blocks away bears the name “Charles B. Wang Sports Complex”. That’s his stomping grounds. Daddy Wang’s coming home.
- The time is NOW – This team is on the cusp of as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski said “being the next Blackhawks”. What P-Daddy was referring to was the nostalgia explosion and “life long” fans jumping back on the band wagon with both feet and pulling out jerseys that make my Volek, Isbister, and Vukota sweaters look obscure. Cool. I for one welcome our new Bandwagon overlords, but if I see you rocking a Mike Comrie, Kirk Mueller or Chris Campoli sweater, I’m knocking your teeth out. Janne Niinimma, too. Dear God. Marc-Andre Bergeron? What a turnover prone assface. Where was I? Oh yes, the NHL doesn’t want a team’s return to prominence to be mired by off ice uncertainty. I could have said that far more succinctly, but then I couldn’t have namedropped part of my jersey collection.
- AMERICAN TRADITION, Eff Yeah! There’s some American franchises that can boast as much Tradition as the New York Islanders. There’s exactly one that can boast more. Detroit. Holla, Wings fans, there’s your dap. As for the Rangers? SCREW ‘Em. What kind of tradition is taking the Cold War off? You’ve won ONE CUP SINCE D-DAY. Shut the hell up. Bruins? Hawks? Both had lengthy periods of irrelevance, just like the NYI. Both had periods of ass-kicking, though none were as lengthy as 19 consecutive playoff series, spawning 4 championships, 8 Hall of Famers (9 if you count legendary Broadcaster Jiggs McDonald) and the greatest State-side dynasty this sport has ever seen. I don’t apologize for those facts. I wear them proudly. I’ll take our tradition against any team in the States. No, Philly, Nystrom was onsides. You lost, eat a goat’s crap. Pete Peters sucked. Going 30 years without an NHL Goalie isn’t “tradition”. The Penguins? I didn’t know admitting tanking constituted tradition. Do you remember when Kaspariatis knocked Jagr the hell out and Krupp hung a stuffed Penguin? Jagr doesn’t either. You mullet wearing chump. Oh, dammit. I went off on a tangent again. The only other American team IN THE DISCUSSION is the Devils. Who the fuck else rates in terms of tradition? Nobody. Why all this talk about American teams anyhow? That’s a facet to the tradition I’m talking about. Haven’t seen it in oh,70 years. AMERICAN. Tradition. BROOKLYN. AMERICAN. New York’s first team. The Brooklyn Americans. Also known as the New York Americans. A team the Rangers forced out of existence in 1942. Red Dutton’s 54 year hex was a bit of a bitch for payback, wasn’t it? Anyway, An Isles colored Amerks sweater would actually probably be the highest selling Third jersey in NHL History. And I’d wear that sweater every damn day.
- Market Viability – “They don’t support the team now!” that’s what those croissant eating latte swirling vultures in Quebec are saying now, because much like Winnipeg, they’ve forgotten the pain of losing a team and want to give it to another fanbase. In Kansas City, no one cares. They can’t support the goddamn Royals, for christsakes. Noone is clamoring for a SCOUTS return. Brooklyn isn’t a secondary market in Canada, or a DOUBLE A city in the heartland. It’s the engine for the financial capitol of the world, New York Freaking City. One of my best friends from Buffalo, is Mr. Civic Pride. I can’t get it. Why? Because, to quote a character from Warren Ellis exceptional ‘Nextwave’ “I’M FROM F*CKING BROOKLYN.” It’s better than your hometown and we all know it. Even those of us who bitch about living here would unload on your home the moment you presumed to mention it with an air of superiority in relation to “the Borough that’s Thorough”. The ‘demographics don’t support traditional hockey’ they say. That’s fine. The sheer numbers of 2.5Million people will lead to a presence. And the civic pride Brooklynites feel is more insane than anything anywhere else in the world can offer. Those Nikes with BROOKLYN plastered on the side? Highest selling sneaker they make at the moment. One of the highest selling pieces of throwback merchandise the MLB makes is a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. BROOKLYN is a brand all in and of itself. Deny this at your own peril. Nobody can offer the market size, the marketability that Brooklyn does. Sure, other markets may want ‘A’ team. Brooklyn wants THIS team. Move the banners, the Cups, and the Maulers of the Meadowbrook about 35 minutes down the LIE to the BQE. It’s destiny. Orange and Blue are the colors of Nassau? Guess what… they fly on the NYC flag, too.
- Reunited And it feels so good – I’m a firm believer in karma. Everything happens for some reason. Let’s turn back the clock to 1972! There were 2 tenants in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. One was your New York Islanders. The other was the New York Nets. The Nets were the ABA’s equivalent of the 1980s New York Islanders. They kicked ass and took names, until the Knicks butt-plundered them, forcing them to pay 2 separate territory fees upon entering the NBA. This led to them losing some Dr. J fellow and waking up like a homeless dude in the last car of the Path train in the Meadowlands in 1981. They’ve been fighting to get back on the right path since then, occasionally showing flashes of brilliance that ended like a Jayson Williams shotgun blast at close range. These 2 teams were united not just by being co-inhabitants of the NVMC by the insane fees and presumed label of inferiority placed upon them by the residents of the World’s Most Famous Mouse House (Really? 54 examples of Mouse excrement in food? Are you running a damn Dirty Water Dog cart or an arena, Dolan?). Payback came, but slowly. Now, once again, the residents of the Garden look down at their suburban brothers like bastard step children. It’s time these two proud traditions rekindle their bromance and take out a few decades of frustration on the Cablevision Corporation’s League and Association toys.
- The Rivalry – In case you couldn’t tell from the amount of pure vitriol that flows from my mouth every time I think of the New York Rangers, I hate them with a fiery passion. Every true member of Islander Country says that with pride, ditto for every true blue Ranger fan about my team. That’s the way it should be. Hockey is the one sport above all other where you can’t fly that bullshit answer of “I’m a New York fan!” statement and claim to love both teams. Why? Because in baseball and football, they aren’t in the same conference,much less the same division. In the NHL, they are both in the “quick bus-ride full of hate”, the caldron of spite that is the Atlantic Division. The proponents of places like Hamilton and QC talk of former and hypothetical rivalries. Please, shut up. Islanders. Rangers. It’s the greatest rivalry in all of sport. Don’t kid yourselves with crap like Yankees Red Sox, where the game is played at it’s slowest most boring level when those 2 hook up, testing each other for weaknesses. Isles-Rags is run and gun punch you in the face balls to the wall hockey. The New York Islanders were born in 1972. They came to life in 1975 by running the Rangers out of the playoffs. They were pimp-slapped in 1978 when Davidson backed the Rangers to a shocking upset and a run to the Finals (which none too surprisingly… the Rangers choked away!). But that lowest of lows for the Islanders, dropping a series against a depleted outgunned Rangers team was the impetus for the Architect Bill Torrey doing what needed to be done. It would be a long time before the Rangers dared puff out their chest at Isles country again. The Islanders made rolling the Rangers a yearly tradition. It’s why no matter what they say, the Rangers NEEDED to beat the Isles in 1994 on their path to the cup to validate it. That’s what a rivalry is about. It’s a litmus test for the validity of your accomplishment. Your team’s day isn’t complete until you check their boxscore and chuckle at Henrik getting roasted twice by Rob Schremp. That’s a rivalry. How about 300 minutes of penalties… IN A PRESEASON GAME? (See Rick DiPietro vs. Al Montoya at the conclusion of a pre-season linebrawl). That’s what makes hockey the best sport in the world. That’s why the NHL needs Islanders-Rangers.
That’s the list. Rip it to shreds if it strikes your fancy. That’s my home. That’s my team. That’s a marriage made in heaven. The fact they’d move into the exact spot where the scum that was O’Malley and Moses haggled over putting the Dodgers and ultimately lost them would heal a giant wound for Brooklyn. You could even call us ‘dem bums’.