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Brooklyn gains steam as possible Islanders destination

Construction On The New Jersey Net's New Home In Brooklyn, The Barclays Center Continues

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: A billboard announcing, “Welcome to Brooklyn ’12" is seen next to the Barclay Center, a sports arena and future home of the the National Basketball Association’s New Jersey Nets, that is currently under construction, on March 5, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The stadium is scheduled to open September 28, 2012; the New Jersey Nets will be renamed the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Andrew Burton

It’s been no secret that the New York Islanders aren’t happy with their current home in Nassau Coliseum and will probably leave once their lease expires in 2015. Owner Charles Wang hasn’t denied the idea of moving out of New York state in general, but if they try to relocate within NY, Christopher Botta once again discusses Brooklyn’s soon-to-open Barclays Center as a likely destination.

Sharing a state-of-the-art building with the NBA’s Nets would be enticing and bring certain advantages, but it’s not necessarily a perfect fit, either.

But even Brooklyn is an imperfect solution for the Islanders. Barclays Center was designed as a showcase for the Nets, with ideal sight lines for basketball. Capacity for hockey at Barclays Center also is just 14,500, which would make it the smallest arena in the NHL.

Brooklyn does offer advantages, though. Unlike the Coliseum, fans can reach Barclays Center via mass transit. As one of New York’s five boroughs, Brooklyn also would ignite increased Manhattan media attention.

That’s an interesting, abbreviated pros/cons list. Perhaps the Islanders could alleviate the smaller seating concerns by charging more for tickets in a fairly wealthy area?

In their under-the-radar way, the Islanders are slowly crawling their way back to respectability despite playing in the tough Atlantic Division. Getting a more suitable arena in a nice market might help them compete in attracting top-tier free agents in the future. Whether Brooklyn ends up being that location remains to be seen, but after shooting down the idea before, Gary Bettman even warmed up to the idea - a bit.

“I’m not sure yet,” Bettman said. “It’s something we’d have to look at.”