Hello Fans and readers of the Voice. Let me first thank the people that come here to read and share thoughts on the Islanders. This has been so far a great experience for me and I look forward to continuing to bring a fans perspective to the world of reporting on the team. Poll Results - A Whopping 75% of those that voted expect the Islanders to finish 1-6th on the conference. 97% of you think the Islanders will make the playoffs. My how expectations have changed since the season began.
To last nights event I was thinking about one thing and the fans that were there were the amount of empty seats at the Coliseum last night. I'll be honest, I was embarrassed. I was angry. I shook my head numerous times at what the players must think when they see so many empty seats to see a winning team. I know the economy is in a down turn. I know the cost of living has gone up. It has effected me also, trust me. All that being said, it didn't stop people from spending record amounts of money on Black Friday. I actually heard someone last night use the excuse that it "was cold outside". Excuse me... COLD? After last weekends game with Boston, which was announced as a sell out, the crowd was announced at around 8,100 for Dallas. Last night, with the conference leading Senators in town they announced a crowd of around 9,200. WHAT HAPPENED? The attendance was up a league high 34% over the 1st 20 games. I shudder to think what these 2 games have done to that average.
Those that were there were loud. Those that were there were treated to an excellent game of hockey culminating in a thrilling shootout victory. I wonder how many fans sat at home wondering why there were so many empty seats. What is a team to do to draw fans? Do we have to traipse out one of our 80's legends every game? Do they have to start giving tickets away? There is no one out there who will say the Islanders simply do not have fans. How can the crowds fluctuate so wildly from game to game? Simply, and very quite simply, this team needs to do one thing. All of the 80's legends can come back over and over again, they can have a special night every Saturday the bottom line is this team needs to win. They have to win and win in the playoffs. There is no louder building in the NHL when the Islanders are in the playoffs. The fans are there, the fans are passionate and one nice run into the playoffs in this writer's humble opinion would be enough to send the Island into a hockey frenzy once again and expand the season ticket base. This team is winning. They are doing their part. The big question is how long will they have to prove themselves before fans start coming to the games again. This is not the same team we have seen over the last 20 years here. They play for the team, not for the name on the back. They have all bought into Ted Nolan's system whole heartedly. Now it is time for the fans to buy back into the team. There were times when I expected to see 6,000 at the games, when Travis Green was the top center. Tommy Soderstrom was the No 1 goalie. They lost games in every possible way. This is not that team. This is the new Islanders. Come out and see them and win lose or shootout loss they will work hard and entertain and that is all we can ask for as hockey fans. I am tired of hearing people say the building is what keeps people away. Its total and utter BS. Look at how many people went to Yankee and Shea stadium last season, two stadiums that rival the coliseum in their obsolete stature. Come on out and be entertained.
I welcome everyone to voice their opinions on this matter.