The NHL is working with Nassau Coliseum and Nassau County to increase security in the wake of fans stealing a "handful" of seats and reports of aggressive behavior toward opposing fans, commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday.
The Islanders will play the Washington Capitals at 3 p.m. Saturday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. A loss would eliminate the Islanders and mark their last game at the Coliseum.
"The fact of the matter is you're going to have incidents you wish you didn't have, and you're going to have to respond to them," Bettman said. "I think the Islanders have done it appropriately and our security people have been working with the building and Nassau County to make sure inappropriate conduct is both discouraged and dealt with, if necessary."
A Nassau County Police spokesman already has said patrols around the Coliseum will be increased for the game, including more uniformed and plainclothes personnel in addition to the usual officers on horseback.
Bettman said the Coliseum was "appropriately staffed" in earlier games in which those incidents allegedly occurred. "We expect our fans to act appropriately," he said.