As the concrete is being poured and the steel is rising at Belmont Park, forming the bones of the New York Islanders' future home, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is thinking about the short-term.
Curran wrote a letter to National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday morning urging the NHL to allow the Islanders to play the entire 2020-2021 hockey season - the last before the new Belmont arena is scheduled to open - at Nassau Coliseum.
"It's what the fans want. It's what the players want. And, recent evidence has been clear that when Isles play home games on Long Island they win," Curran wrote. "Let us 'Rock the Barn' for one more full and final year."
In response, Bettman said in a statement that the NHL appreciates Curran's "passion and interest."
"The request is a little premature, but it's something we'll consider at the appropriate time," Bettman said.
The Islanders are expected to announce in June their 2020-21 schedule including where each game will be played.
Curran called the Belmont redevelopment "truly groundbreaking." And she pointed out that the last time she made a request of Bettman, it was to allow Nassau Coliseum to host playoff games. The Islanders played the first round on the Coliseum's home ice, and swept the series.
The Islanders' move to Barclays, announced in 2012, came as the deteriorating Coliseum could no longer sustain a major league hockey team. While renovations to the Uniondale arena have since improved its look, the arena still doesn't have the suites, restaurants, or hockey facilities for a major league team to play there permanently.
But as a temporary home, the Coliseum seems to be doing the trick. This season, the team is splitting its home games between the Coliseum and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They've had 11 wins and 6 losses at the Coliseum, including one overtime loss, this season, compared with 4 wins and 2 losses - both in overtime - at Barclays.
Curran's letter comes as the Islanders get ready to play the New York Rangers - at the Coliseum - Thursday night. Meanwhile, in Elmont, the work continues. (See a live cam here.)
Perhaps another rousing, hometown win at the Barn will help Bettman make up his mind.