The New York Islanders are hosting Philly this afternoon, and if an early 1-0 advantage to the visitors holds up, the hosts will see their record drop a league-worst 5-15-5. Noting that hopes for the Lighthouse Project are dashed, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks accuses owner Charles Wang (above right) of “acting as the equivalent of a slumlord for the remaining four years of his team’s lease at Nassau Coliseum, an arena that was hockey’s big stage three decades ago but now stands as a living tomb haunted by memories.”
There is Broadway, there is off Broadway, there is off-off Broadway and then there is Long Island, where the owner, once perceived as a savior (so originally was Spano, so originally were the Gang of Four) has all but disappeared from public view.
It is impossible to determine what the endgame here is for Wang. It can’t be to simply run out the clock over the next four years while further gutting the franchise’s infrastructure. If that truly is the objective, if the owner simply intends to devalue the franchise to the extent no one else would even consider buying it to keep in this area, then it is time for the commissioner to step in, exert his authority and save the Islanders from the crypt-keeper.
Bettman always talks about the league’s commitment to its current markets except when he talks about the Islanders, and then he talks about the commitment to Wang. It’s troubling there is no sense of NHL commitment to Long Island, no sense of NHL commitment to the fan base Bettman himself was once a part of back in the glory days that have passed the franchise by.