Despite Early Exit, Coliseum Was True Advantage for New York Islanders
Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Nassau Coliseum was quite different Tuesday than it had been three days prior. The ice was gone and instead of fans there were only workers. There was no cheering anymore, just the sound of silence.
But as the New York Islanders gathered their things and said goodbye to the 2013 season, they fondly remembered one last time the excitement and adrenaline that they received from the fans at the Coliseum.
“I’ve heard a lot about it over the three years I’ve been here and I’ve never really seen it,” Matt Martin said of the atmosphere for games 3, 4 and 6. “The last three home games and in the playoffs, it was just electrifying. It made a huge difference for us I think. It turned into the funnest rink in the league to play in.”
Other members of the team were quick to comment on how exciting it was to play in the building.
“The best experience I’ve ever been a part of,” David Ullstrom said. “I’ve played some juniors or something, but this barn was rocking. It was a great experience.”
Michael Grabner added: “It was a great atmosphere. They all told us how this building is going to get in the playoffs, but I think it exceeded my expectations. It was a lot of fun and I hope we can have that next year.”
During all three home playoff games, the building was sold out and the decibel level was off the charts. During Game 3 it was so loud that Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald spent part of the game having to yell to one another to communicate.
“I remember for game [three] I was on the blue line getting ready for the game and my ears were actually hurting,” Hamonic described. “It was pretty loud. I was thinking like this might be bad actually. It’s too loud out there and me and A-mac were sitting there yelling at each other on the ice. We like to talk a lot, but you couldn’t hear much. It was unbelievable. I mean you come over from the hotel in the morning and everyone’s sitting there having a couple pops at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It just shows how revved up everyone was.”
The Coliseum was a true home ice advantage for the Islanders. Despite being one the oldest, and most dilapidated, buildings in the league it still has it’s charms.
“When you get the old buildings and the old acoustics it does make a difference,” Brad Boyes said of the Coliseum. “You realize that and then when it came to playoffs it was nuts. The home ice advantage thing kind of slips away in the new age because of the new buildings… Being a visiting team is not as intimidating as is, but for us…I think the home ice advantage was an advantage. It definitely helped us.”
Grabner later said that playing home playoff games “was the most fun I had playing hockey in a long time.” And Kyle Okposo believes the experience only adds to the drive of players wanting to return to the postseason.
“To see the building the way it was, it makes you hungry for next year,” he said.