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Islanders great Denis Potvin thrilled team will play some games at Coliseum

The former Isles captain remembers the glory days there, and looks forward to the new arena at Belmont.

Islanders captain Denis Potvin hoists the Stanley Cup

Islanders captain Denis Potvin hoists the Stanley Cup over his head after the Islanders won in 1981. Photo Credit: Newsday / Paul J. Bereswill

Count Denis Potvin as another Islander looking forward to the team’s temporary return to Nassau Coliseum.

Before Tuesday night’s Panthers-Islanders game at Barclays Center, the former Islanders captain, Hockey Hall of Famer and current Panthers TV analyst said he was thrilled by the news.

“I was so excited,” he said. “I can’t wait to call my first game there, really . . . My immediate thought was that it would be great to call a game there.”

Potvin has worked many games as an analyst at the Coliseum, but he figured that experience was over when the Islanders moved to Brooklyn. Not so fast! They will play select games in Uniondale until a new arena near Belmont Park can be built.

“After all this,” he said, gesturing with his arm around Barclays, “it’s like going back to all the great memories. My first thought is: ‘Fort Neverlose’ opens up again! That’s really what I think. The atmosphere was one of the key things for us. Even in the ‘70s and 80s, people would comment on it.

“I don’t know why. I’m not an architect. But that’s one of the things they’re going to love. I know the players, just from reading quotes from (John) Tavares and them, that’s where home is. The practice rink’s (near) there. It’s 100 percent (positive).”

Potvin said he also was happy to hear the team would build a permanent new home.

“Thrilled,” he said. “I sent Mr. (John) Ledecky a note. I’m very happy for them. I’ve watched the Islanders from a distance for a long time and a lot of the years were disappointing, obviously. But now that I see the forward-moving program, I’m really thrilled. Really thrilled.”

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