After 43 years of playing home games at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the New York Islanders will play for the first time tonight in Brooklyn. The Barclay’s Center is their new home where they will host the reigning champions Chicago Blackhawks in the season-opener.
The Islanders announced that they are going to move to Brooklyn three years ago and tonight is their baptism of fire. Now, instead of short 10-15 minute drive to the old Coliseum, the players will have to take other transportation to the Barclay’s Arena, which can take them a couple of hours. However, the Islanders’ players are very excited.
It’s kind of fun, really,” the Islanders forward Matt Martin said. “You’ve got eight guys sitting on the train, talking. It’s consistent too; you don’t have to worry about any traffic. As long as the trains are running we’ll be all right.”
New York already played three preseason games at the new arena to get familiar with it and ten of their first 15 regular season games will be played at Barclay’s Center. That should help them adjusting.
The home team will face the champions, and it won’t be an easy game for them, especially without their starting goalie Jaroslav Halak, who is out because of an injury. Hopefully, he’ll be back in the next few days, his injury is described as day-to-day. Thomas Greiss will get a starting nod in his absence.
Chicago Blackhawks started this season with a loss at home against New York Rangers and will be looking to bounce back straight away. The ‘Hawks changed the squad a bit this year allowing some quality players go in the offseason, but their side is still full of potential.
Blackhawks are certainly one of the favorites this season as well. Chicago will be without the defensemen Michal Rozsival, who is dealing with an ankle issue. His substitute, Viktor Svedberg, is making his debut in the NHL.
Last season this teams played two times, and both teams won at home. Now, the party can start for the Islanders in Brooklyn tonight as they begin the new franchise era.