Tonight the Islanders open their season at home against the Dallas Stars in what starts year 3 of the slow painful rebuild and also year 1 of the remaining 5 years on the lease at the once glorious Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. As we all know owner Charles Wang stated at the Islanders media day last month that he will no longer be silent or keep the media and fans in the dark about the state of the stalled lighthouse project. He also assured everyone that the Islanders will be playing at the coliseum until their lease expires in 2015.
With that being said, are we now in the grueling beginning stage of bidding farewell to the Islanders since kate murray and her cronies at the town of hempstead are still dragging their feet, and the proposed reduction in size of their lighthouse (which was reduced over 70% in size) is what she has basically made as a final offer to Charles Wang being that she clearly says is "Non-negotiable". A joint statement from Wang and county executive Ed Mangano slammed murray and the town of hempstead's version of the lighthouse as "economically unviable for both the owner and developer of the site". During the unavailing of the new lighthouse to the media and citizens murray was again slammed by the media and majority of the towns people who attended. Murray immediately defended her vision by saying she was "preserving suburbia", and only 2 people in the crowd sided with her.
Rumors have now been swirling that Mangano and Murray have been butting heads, and are also not even on speaking terms anymore after the events that transpired over the summer. In which has cause a pretty bad riff among the republican party in nassau. I personally feel Mangano is trying to save face by siding with Wang since the two hardly spoke since Mangano was elected early last winter. Mangano on the other may have more common sense and is more aware of what is at stake. Knowing that if the Islanders don't have the lighthouse or a new arena in general before the lease expires in 2015. The team will pack up and leave, which will end up happening while he is in power, and his political career will be turned to ash before his very eyes begin remembered as a man who simply let Long Island's only professional team leave. Which would also cost nassau county millions and millions of dollars that the Islanders generated as begin a tenant in the coliseum. It would also destroy kate murray already joke of a political career to ash. It very well could cost the republicans as a whole too.
Even though Charles Wang is not the brightest when it comes to the sport of hockey, I give the man a ton of credit for being willing to keep the Islanders on LI. He has lost more money keeping the team a float then many of us will ever see in our lives, and he still perseveres. Any other owner in his position more then likely would have bought themselves out of that abomination of a lease (Thanks SMG, you bastards) and moved somewhere else like Kansas City which has a new state of the art arena waiting for a permanent tenant. Nobody knows what will happen over the course of the last 5 years of the lease. Will the Islanders be getting their new arena or will we be starting the 5 steps of grieving.
As a fan of almost 20 years I can't accept that. I refuse to accept that they could be gone after 2015. If commissioner Gary Bettman was so steadfast to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix by buying them with the leagues own cash, then he better do something similar if it comes down to the 11th hour for the Islanders 5 years from now. Losing a team in the New York market is a huge no no. Especially if that team has 4 stanley cups, and is the last great american hockey dynasty that literally dominated the sport in the 80's along with the Edmonton Oilers. The team that ended the dynasty, and were the last great canadian hockey dynasty.
So here we are on the night of what could be the beginning of the end. The 5 steps of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I guess 1st off is denial. Let the process sadly begin.