We don't know if there are pictures of 10-year-old Anders Lee of Edina, Minn. in the pajamas of the first-year Wild back in the year 2000, but the Islanders might not want to take any chances.
As the Islanders embark on this uncertain three (or more)-year path to Belmont, they must learn from the John Tavares heartache. They need to control what they can control, and make their organization as attractive - or at least as less unattractive - as possible. They need to eliminate the excuses for someone else to walk out the door.
Beginning with the 2019-20 season, all of their home games must be played at the barn in Nassau County. And the plan to move all of the games to Nassau should be announced weeks before the trade deadline in February 2019.
The idea for now is to play 20 games this season at the Coliseum, and then 48 games (some could be preseason) in Nassau over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. As the agreement currently stands, this leaves Barclays Center with approximately half of the Islanders home games over the next three seasons.
This is stupid, pointless, and counter-productive.
Look, this has nothing to do with the beautiful borough of Brooklyn - one of my favorite places on the planet - or any of the new fans the team made in the community. But let's face it: although the move to the Barc was one of necessity to keep the Islanders in New York, little else about the move paid off.
As a hockey arena, the Barc is awkward. The notion that the move to Brooklyn would result in more media coverage - you know, the "city" and all that - turned out to be false hope. There has been little demand for tickets, with secondary-market tickets for three-quarters of the games going for less than it costs to take the LIRR. The attempts to "Brooklynize" the Islanders in marketing efforts were often cringe-inducing.
It says everything about how the organization feels about the true heart of its fan base that the Islanders are promoting the heck out of its Coliseum ticket packages for the upcoming season, while the Barclays games are more of an after-thought.
In the weeks before Tavares was to become a free agent, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Islanders ownership, Lou Lamoriello, the Barclays/Coliseum management team, and the NHL worked together quickly to magically raise the amount of games at the Coliseum this season from 12 to 20. It was a noble effort.
Now they need to finish the job. Imagine how dead the Barc will be on many nights as a lame-duck arena for the next three years.
Why let Lee or any of the other potential unrestricted free agents next July 1 (Jordan Eberle and Robin Lehner among them) contemplate life anywhere else but Long Island? Why run the risk of them putting this strange arena situation on the negative side when breaking down the pros and cons of staying a New York Islander?
Knowing the disaster the Brooklyn partnership has been, Barclays Center management would love to move the Islanders completely from Barclays to Nassau. Cuomo is for anything that keeps the Islanders happy on the way to Belmont. The NHL, especially after seeing one of its teams shuttle back and forth this season, would almost certainly approve a full-time move back to the Coliseum as long as it passes the test when regular season games begin there on Dec. 1.
There's no reason for this three-year dance. Return the Islanders to Nassau County where they belong.