The New York Islanders played their first preseason games of the year last week . . . in Brooklyn.
Earlier this month, the team unveiled its third jersey -- a black-and-white sweater strikingly similar to the uniforms of the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center's other occupants . . . in Brooklyn.
And the Isles have sold 8,000 full season tickets, only 30 percent of which were bought by Long Islanders, to fans, corporations, and others who want to see the team play . . . in Brooklyn.
But Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano continues to suggest that the Islanders will one day return to the Coliseum. It's irresponsible, cruel and dishonest of him to do so. He should stop.
Let's spell it out for Islanders fans, area residents, and Mangano: The New York Islanders aren't returning to Nassau. They'll play this year -- and for 24 more -- unless the arena's ceiling caves in, or those 8,000 season ticket holders disappear into a poof of smoke . . . in Brooklyn.
Most recently, Mangano told WFAN.com that he believes "we will see the return of the Islanders at some point." When Mangano trots out such talk, he's skating on thin ice. It's unkind to Islanders fans seeking hope. It's reckless and there's no basis for his comments.
Here's what we do know:
There's far more money to be made in NYC. Sponsorships and tickets are going for higher prices in Brooklyn than they did in Nassau -- and new Coliseum paint won't change that.
The team is about to have new majority owners, who based their valuation and their purchase on a home at Barclays -- not the Coliseum.
Developer Bruce Ratner, who is both majority owner of Barclays and tenant of the Coliseum, apparently is looking to sell his stake in Barclays, according to published reports. That could loosen the connection between the two.
Even when the Uniondale arena is renovated, it won't be built for a major league team -- and it won't come close to Barclays.
That's key. The Lighthouse Project, conceived by Isles owner Charles Wang a decade ago, would've included a $320 million renovated Coliseum. The Barclays Center cost $1 billion. Ratner is spending just $130 million on what amounts to a Coliseum wardrobe change.
The difference is in the details, from club seats and luxury suites to large-scale restaurants and other perks. The Coliseum won't become an arena fit for a major league team, even if seats are added back later.
Nothing's impossible. The Islanders could leave Barclays if things don't work out, financially or otherwise. But it's unlikely, and even then, the team could go anywhere.
When the Dodgers moved, many thought the team would return to Brooklyn. After nearly 60 years, it's still in Los Angeles.
"We're going to continue to not give up that hope," Mangano said of an Isles' return.
It's time to give up and move on. Embrace the Coliseum's future. But want to see the Isles on their home ice? Head to Brooklyn.