The New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn at the start of the 2015-16 season, and while some long-time fans in Nassau might be a little bummed about that, it's really the best-case scenario for all parties involved at this point. The team remains within the city of New York, it's still on what is technically considered to be Long Island, they get a brand new state-of-the-art arena, and the team will be keeping its name, logo and history.
It certainly beats the alternative, which could have very easily been the team playing in Seattle, Kansas City or Quebec.
The only potential drawback is that state-of-the-art arena was designed with a specific sport in mind, and that sport was not the NHL. Not only will it be the smallest arena in the NHL with a capacity of around 14,500 (about 500 seats smaller than the MTS Centre in Winnipeg), it's pretty clear when looking at the outline of the seating chart that it was built as an NBA arena (the Islanders will share the building with the Brooklyn Nets) which could make things a little awkward for hockey.
Depending on which seating chart you look at, there are going to either be no seats in one end of the arena, or a very limited number with most of them coming in the upper levels (to get an idea, just look at the picture to the right, via Lighthouse Hockey).
This has some folks concerned about the sightlines and the alignment in general.
It certainly won't be the first NHL arena to have a bizarre alignment.
A quick trip in time to some of the other awkward buildings NHL teams have called home over the years:
Ottawa Civic Centre (Ottawa Senators 1992-1995)
|The Ottawa Civic Centre was not built for an NHL team. (OHLarenaguide.com)|
When the Ottawa Senators entered the NHL they spent three seasons playing in the tiny Ottawa Civic Centre to crowds of around 10,000 people (who happened to see some of the worst teams in recent NHL history). As you can see in the above photo, one entire side of the rink had almost no seating in what was the smallest rink in the league. During the 1995-96 season, the Senators moved into their current home, Scotiabank Place, which is now one of the largest buildings in the NHL.
The Thunderdome (Tampa Bay Lightning 1993-1996)
|The Lightning could get nearly 30,000 in the Thunderdome in their early days. (Fanbase.com)|
The Tampa Bay Lightning spent their debut season in Expo Hall, a tiny arena on the Florida state fairgrounds, before moving to the much larger (perhaps at times too large) stadium in town that was originally built to attract a Major League Baseball team. Since no baseball existed in Tampa at that time, the Lightning moved in for a few years and played before some of the biggest crowds in NHL history, including what was a league record at that time of more than 28,000 fans. This was unique at the time because, well, it was a baseball stadium. If only we had known then that baseball stadiums could be pretty cool settings for hockey games.
America West Arena (Phoenix Coyotes 1996-2003)
|This might be a little closer to what the Islanders will deal with in Brooklyn. (NyIslandersadrift.com)|
This one might be a little more similar to what the Islanders could be dealing with in Brooklyn. When the Jets (the original Winnipeg Jets) moved to Phoenix in 1996 they spent seven years at America West Arena (now known as US Airways Center) and as you can see in the above photo, the far end of the ice had almost no seats in the lower level. This was because the arena was built for basketball and the hockey rink just did not quite fit without taking away seats on the lower level.
At this point we won't know exactly what the sightlines will be like in the Barclays Center until a game actually is played there.
The first trial run will be in January when a pair of KHL games are played in the arena (if the NHL lockout is still going on those games will involve Alex Ovechkin and his Moscow Dynamo team).