The morning after the Islanders' arena hopes were shot down by the voters of Long Island, life goes on. And it hasn't taken long for the possibilities for the future of the franchise to take shape.
If the team isn't able to secure a home in Uniondale for 2016 and beyond, the team will find a new home and the first place that comes to mind is Brooklyn. I discussed that option a bit yesterday, noting the viability of moving the team just a little ways west.
But that might not be as sure shot as it appeared on first glance. Yes, there will be a fancy new arena that will host the Nets, and yes it will have ice rink capabilities. However, the problem lies in the amount of seats it could fit for hockey. The capacity of the arena for basketball is listed at 18,000, but to make the arena work for hockey, it would have to be cut to 14,000-15,000. That would make it the smallest arena in the NHL, smaller than Winnipeg's MTS Centre.
It would be a very tough sell, but not an impossible one. If it came down to the only viable option to remain in the New York area, you'd have to think Gary Bettman would be able to swallow the pill a little easier. He doesn't want to uproot teams -- see Phoenix -- and especially wouldn't be exicted about taking a team from a market like New York. That's if the Nets and Barclays Center would consent to the Isles sharing the joint.
"We will continue to work closely with the Islanders to explore whatever options still may be available in light of what obviously is not a positive department," Bettman said in a statement to Islanders Point Blank. "Our goal is for the team to remain on Long Island and we still hope that objective can be realized."
On the ownership side, it sure shounds like you can cross Russian tycoon and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov out of the mix. He has made it known that he isn't interested in buying any other sports teams right now. Now that isn't a big hurdle, Wang could hold onto the team himself or find some other owner from the area. In New York, that's not a terribly tough task.
At this point, Wang and the Islanders aren't talking about the future home of the team, just its future on the ice. But behind the scenes, they have to be thinking about their next move. If they are going to stay in the area, which still seems the most likely to happen, they need to start the process now. Arenas don't just go up over night.
As for the land where the arena currently sits? Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is moving on to Plan B, asking for proposals for people interested in the land. That doesn't include or exclude the arena sticking around.
"We're looking for a vision on what we have and what will become available in 2015," Mangano was quoted as saying by Newsday.
While it is still way too early to say what will happen to the Islanders and the land, it's certainly cloudier today than it was this time a week ago.