The Washington Capitals had home ice advantage to start the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between themselves and the New York Islanders.
While the Verizon Center is an exciting place to see post-season action — Capitals fans rally behind their team, and the building gets pretty loud — Nassau Coliseum will only see and handful of games before the Islanders leave their long-time home for good. Game three was one of those final games — and by making the post-season, New York’s ‘other’ hockey team ensured that fans were given the opportunity to go truly nuts each and every contest.
Sure enough, the crowds were deafening as the Islanders took home a 2-1 victory (and 2-1 lead on the playoff series).
Boychuk on Coliseum: "Probably the loudest building I've ever played in." #Isles
— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) April 19, 2015
Mind you, that’s the same Johnny Boychuk who used to play at T.D. Garden in Boston — and won a Stanley Cup there, nonetheless.
Nassau Coliseum is in dire straits. Anyone who’s ever attended a hockey game there knows — the building is, for lack of a better term, falling apart. It’s about as run-down as you can find in the NHL without heading up to Rexall Place in Edmonton — and even then, Rexall may only be more derelict because the oil derrick in the ceiling may come down and wipe out the home team bench on any given night. Nassau needs more than just a facelift; short of completely demolishing it, there’s little that can be done without a major, lengthy, expensive renovation.
It’s also out on Long Island. If you’ve ever lived in the NYC-Metro area, getting to Long Island is a guessing game. Is there rush hour traffic as you’re trying to get there? Good luck, it may take you three hours to go from Manhattan Island to Nassau County. The trains are another nightmare altogether — with Long Island-bound LIRR trains only connecting to certain destinations from the less-than-friendly Jamaica Station, getting out to the suburbs for a game is something that the ownership group thinks will be easier once the team is in Brooklyn.
Nassau Coliseum, though, is one of the most special buildings in the NHL. It’s where the Islanders won their four separate Stanley Cup Championships in the 1980’s, and it’s where a lot of city hockey fans witnessed their hockey games growing up. Nassau Coliseum may be past it’s prime — and the Barclays Center may be a much better building — but the roar of the crowds at the post-season games this year make it clear that no one is quite ready to say goodbye yet.