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Islanders flirting with Kansas City?


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Islanders, Kings to play NHL exhibition at Sprint Center

By RANDY COVITZ

The Kansas City Star

The teams are set for next fall?s NHL exhibition game at the Sprint Center.

The New York Islanders have agreed in principle to play the Los Angeles Kings, most likely on Saturday, Sept. 26.

And already, there?s speculation that the Islanders ownership will be testing the waters in Kansas City.

Since purchasing the team in 2000, Charles Wang, a Long Island businessman, has not threatened to move the franchise, but he is said to be frustrated by the lack of progress by local politicians for a project to update or replace the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and develop the surrounding area.

The Nassau Coliseum, opened in 1972, is the third-oldest arena in the NHL and seats just 16,234.

The Islanders, who play in the shadow of the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, are one of the poorer-drawing teams in the NHL. They ranked last in attendance in the 30-team last season, averaging 13,640; were 28th in 2006-07, averaging 12,886; and last in 2005-06, averaging 12,609.

?I?m excited, I think it?s great,? said Paul McGannon, president of NHL21, a local organization trying to help bring an NHL team to Kansas City. ?New York has three teams. If they don?t want to build a new rink in Long Island, we?ll take their team.

?The New York Islanders have won four Stanley Cups (1980-1984). If we got the Islanders ? the last time I felt that good is when the Royals beat the Yankees in 1980 to go to the World Series.?

Kansas City has flirted with other NHL teams since opening Sprint Center in October 2008. The Pittsburgh Penguins considered Kansas City as an alternative before securing approval for a new arena scheduled to open in 2010. And Kansas City was in play for the Nashville Predators in summer 2008 before that club found local ownership, though there is still some question about the franchise?s future.

?Sooner or later, Kansas City is going to be tired of being the bridesmaid,? McGannon said. ?We have a building, we?re ready to go, we have a hockey community ready to go ? we?ll glady welcome their team.

?I think it?s a big deal, that we?re having two teams on the coast meet in Kansas City for a game, and we better sell it out. I love the regional appeal of the Blues and the Blackhawks, but we better send a message and sell the game out.?

Last September, the Kings played the St. Louis Blues in an exhibition that drew an announced crowd of 11,603. The game was not announced until late May and was squeezed in the schedule on a Monday night when the Kings already had a pre-season game scheduled in Los Angeles. The Kings sent a split squad to Kansas City, and the Blues, who were scheduled to play a preseason game the next night, left some of their top players at home.

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You're an arrogant little piss, aren't ya?

I think the Islanders should move. They've been patient and havn't threated to move, and it's gotten them nowhere in getting a new arena. I will miss their logo, but i think it's time for Mr. Wang to stop being nice, and throw down an ultimatum.

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This isn't a prelude to them moving. The Isles aren't going anywhere. If KC wants a team, it will come in the form of the Coyotes, Thrashers, or Preds, IMHO.

You just named three teams with newer and potentially more profitable arenas than the Isles (and that includes the Coyotes' current crap agreement with Glendale.) The Isles are not only playing in an outdated hole, they're playing in a place regarded as an outdated hole for at least 15 years, as the least-relevant team in a 3-team market, in a community showing negligible interest in providing them an upgraded facility. That's the best recipe for relocation possible.

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This isn't a prelude to them moving. The Isles aren't going anywhere. If KC wants a team, it will come in the form of the Coyotes, Thrashers, or Preds, IMHO.

You just named three teams with newer and potentially more profitable arenas than the Isles (and that includes the Coyotes' current crap agreement with Glendale.) The Isles are not only playing in an outdated hole, they're playing in a place regarded as an outdated hole for at least 15 years, as the least-relevant team in a 3-team market, in a community showing negligible interest in providing them an upgraded facility. That's the best recipe for relocation possible.

Exactly. It's obvious the Rangers and Devils are the elite of the NYC market and the Isles are merely the red-headed step children on the outside looking in. I know KC probably falls under the Blues market, but there is definately a difference between the StL and KC markets that KC fans would undoubtedly go for their own team (and this from a Blues and St. Louis fan in general). I think they'd be the best candidate for relocation when you add in the quality of facilities, their current and the potential. Makes sense.

You're an arrogant little piss, aren't ya?

I think the Islanders should move. They've been patient and havn't threated to move, and it's gotten them nowhere in getting a new arena. I will miss their logo, but i think it's time for Mr. Wang to stop being nice, and throw down an ultimatum.

You said wang.

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This isn't a prelude to them moving. The Isles aren't going anywhere. If KC wants a team, it will come in the form of the Coyotes, Thrashers, or Preds, IMHO.

You just named three teams with newer and potentially more profitable arenas than the Isles (and that includes the Coyotes' current crap agreement with Glendale.) The Isles are not only playing in an outdated hole, they're playing in a place regarded as an outdated hole for at least 15 years, as the least-relevant team in a 3-team market, in a community showing negligible interest in providing them an upgraded facility. That's the best recipe for relocation possible.

The only thing that has been keeping the Islanders alive for the last decade is the lucrative TV contract they get from MSG. If the Islanders can get an upgraded facility (either through extensive renovations or a new arena) they can be a stable team. One just has to look at New Jersey, which now has a new arena and a similar TV deal to the Islanders, The Devils were in the top 10 of the league as far as revenue goes last year according to Forbes. That said the Islanders do need a new arena because as more teams get these new arenas they fall further and further behind. Last year the Isles were already last in the league in revenue and because they are located in NY they can not recieve revenue sharing like other teams.

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Remember when the Devils were the redheaded stepchild and the Islanders mattered? Ah, better days.

I also remember when the Devils threatened to move to Nashville; literally right after they won their first Stanley Cup.

:upside:

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Nassau County officials have shown little interest in working with Charles Wang to get the Coliseum reconstruction project going before, and I assume the situation has only gotten colder as the financial situation up there gets worse. The county can't even afford to keep a fresh fleet of police cruisers going right now, I can't imagine how they'd justify putting any public money towards the arena. Wang has a lot of his own money that he's willing to spend, but they also haven't helped him with any zoning or construction matters. Attendance continues to flounder, the team is horrible, Nassau Coliseum is a dump, and even as a Long Island native (Ranger fan, though), I wouldn't be surprised to see the team move if their situation does not improve and soon. I'd hate to see the team go, but I can understand if they do.

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Supposedly AEG had some potential investors from KC at that Kings vs Blues exhibition game in the preseason.

Perhaps if they have the chops to be able to buy a team they should start wooing Wang.

I don't see the big project getting done there at Nassau. Either they'll figure a way for a renovated arena or move out all together.

My guess is Wang is tired of losing money and will either move or sell to someone who will.

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If they move they shouldn't change their name. The "Kansas City Islanders" would sound more out of place than the LA Lakers or Utah Jazz and it would be hilarious

That reminded me of the movie Baseketball

I'd understand why they would move. They're New York's second team, and they'd get more attention in KC. I hear the arena in KC is really good, and isn't Nassau Coliseum some what run down?

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You just named three teams with newer and potentially more profitable arenas than the Isles (and that includes the Coyotes' current crap agreement with Glendale.) The Isles are not only playing in an outdated hole, they're playing in a place regarded as an outdated hole for at least 15 years, as the least-relevant team in a 3-team market, in a community showing negligible interest in providing them an upgraded facility. That's the best recipe for relocation possible.

Before you condemn community interest as negligible look at the team's history over the past 15 or so years. Management has not given us the fans a reason to care. Even since Wang bought the team we the fans have had to put up with the craptastic contracts given to Yashin and DiPietro general draft incompetence from Milbury being GM that's continued into the Snow regime and a perpetual rebuilding program. This is a team that has made the playoffs what maybe two or three times since going to the Conference Finals back in 1993. I know I'm not satisfied with perpetual last place finishes nor just barely making it to be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs teams. It's so bad that decent free agents don't even want to give the Island any look. Let alone a first or second look. When a washed up Bill Guerin and Doug Weight are the best free agent signings you can come up with (the Streit signing was a fluke) you know the team is a joke.

If you were a fan of this team don't you think that your patience would be gone? Would you spend a dime to see this joke of a franchise? I thought not.

The past has shown that if management puts a quality product on the ice the fans will show up in droves. You couldn't get anywhere near the Colisseum during the dynasty years. If Mr. Wang showed a real commitment to the team by hiring competent hockey people to run the fron office instead of a had been backup goalie, drafted smartly and signed some decent free agents the fans will come back.

Nassau County officials have shown little interest in working with Charles Wang to get the Coliseum reconstruction project going before, and I assume the situation has only gotten colder as the financial situation up there gets worse. The county can't even afford to keep a fresh fleet of police cruisers going right now, I can't imagine how they'd justify putting any public money towards the arena. Wang has a lot of his own money that he's willing to spend, but they also haven't helped him with any zoning or construction matters. Attendance continues to flounder, the team is horrible, Nassau Coliseum is a dump, and even as a Long Island native (Ranger fan, though), I wouldn't be surprised to see the team move if their situation does not improve and soon. I'd hate to see the team go, but I can understand if they do.

First, Nassau County officials are behind the project and have publicly supported it. Nassau County has no say in the zoning matters in this case. The issues lie with the Town of Hempstead who controlls the zoning and permit approval process. The Town has dragged its heels on this for years which hasn't helped matters.

I think a major reason for this is that the project Wang wants to develop is not only too ambitious but would not fit into the area nor be profitable. He wants to put a major shopping mall on the site when there are already two major shopping malls within two miles of the Colisseum.

I think the best option would be to just build a new arena. I think the Town is dragging their feet because they want to see the project scaled down. Ultimately, I think that a replacement for the Colisseum will be built just not to the scale that Wang wants with his Lighthouse project.

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Actually, I should have added this to what I previously stated. For a project of the magnitude of the Lighthouse would take years for all the approvals to be in place and for all the necessary studies to be done. Ultimately I do believe that there will be a new arena of some kind on that site and even some of what is proposed in the Lighthouse but I think in order for a deal to get done and ground to be broken that Wang needs to scale back the plan or set the project to be build in stages.

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