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Islanders and Barclays reality check

Empty seats are seen during the game between

Empty seats are seen during the game between the New York Islanders and the Arizona Coyotes at Barclays Center on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Fans of the New York Islanders may have felt like they had traveled back in time five years. Suddenly, there were discussions about where the Isles might head to next.

Would it be Willets Point in Queens? The Pilgrim State property in Brentwood? A renovated Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale?

In all likelihood, the answer is No, No, and No.

All the chatter stemmed from a New York Post story Friday night that the team and its new home arena, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, were already looking for ways to renegotiate their contract - or cut ties after an opt-out clause kicks in in year five.

Now for a reality check.

First, it's year one of a marriage - and growing pains are expected. It's clear that there's been trouble between the team, its fans and their new home. But financially, this deal is lucrative, and can be a money-maker for both sides. It's going to take more than squabbles over fan complaints for both parties to back away. And in the Post's report, Barclays CEO Brett Yormark denied reports that Barclays wanted an out.

Is it possible that the trouble could continue; that both the Isles and Barclays would want to escape the deal when the opt-out possibility kicks in? Sure.

But where would they go? Nassau Coliseum, which is still at the start of a renovation that's already seen some delays, won't be built for a major league hockey team. And it'll be run by the same people who run Barclays - so if the Isles don't get along with Barclays officials, why would they head to the Coliseum? Willets Point is caught up in continued legal battles - and ground hasn't even been broken there yet. And there's no business upside to the Islanders moving out to Brentwood. Any real alternative could involve leaving New York altogether.

This was first featured in The Point, the editorial board's daily newsletter for insiders. To subscribe, click here.

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