|Islanders jerseys will be a common sight in Brooklyn in a few seasons, as last night's game attested to|
Not this upcoming season, not the next one, but the season after that will be the New York Islanders first as a tenant of the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn masterpiece of an arena that we, Nets fans, already adore and admire. In the 2015-16 NHL and NBA seasons, the Islanders and Nets will once again share a home arena, just like they did in the 1970s, when the Islanders and (then) New York Nets each played their home games at the Nassau Coliseum, out on Long Island.
But last night, in the Islanders' first ever game in their future digs, the basketball-centric Barclays Center displayed both the overwhelmingly good and miniscule bad parts of the spectrum with regards to how the sleek, modern expanse will be as a mixed-use space.
The intimate seating structure Barclays provides makes the rowdy, playoff-like atmosphere of the arena one perfectly suited for hockey and the NHL, a game and league which essentially serve as the United States' equivalent of soccer, in terms of the fanaticism and spirit of its fans.
It's weird that the Jumbotron isn't centered over the ice (a vestige of the basketball court's precedence) and that there aren't any seats behind one of the nets (another basketball-related complication). However, as attested to by attendees of the game, Barclays will be an exemplary host of hockey in two seasons, and one that the Islanders and visitors will be excited to play in.
The only real issue fans had with Barclays was the fact that a few seats in the arena's hockey set-up are classified as "obstructed-view", which means that they block view from some of the playing surface. This negative, the only one with significant backing, is just a fact of life at many sporting venues, like the Pepsi Porch seats at Citi Field that cover the right field fence or those seats at Barclays early in the 2012-13 season that were blocked by temporary camera wells during Nets games. If that's the biggest complaint, then it looks like Barclays graded out pretty well for its hockey debut.
Additionally, reports from fans at the game cite the convenience of the Atlantic Terminal (for LIRR, among others) as a major upgrade over the traffic-ridden Coliseum. For fans coming from the Islanders' major support area–Long Island–taking the train to Brooklyn is easy, quick, and stress-relieving, with hour-long back-ups on the Long Island Expressway out of sight and out of mind.
Overall, a very good first hockey game for the Barclays Center and its soon-to-be tenant, the Islanders, with the exception of an Islander win, as the visiting New Jersey Devils won in shutout fashion. But with the young talent the Islanders have coming through their system, their ceiling is high and they will certainly contend in the near-future. Maybe when they move to Brooklyn, both the Nets and Islanders will be playoff teams? We'll have to see for that answer, but we know for sure that the Islanders' and Barclays Center's futures are bright, and hopefully some of that light will shine on the Nets too.