Barclays Center continues to be a nice stopover while the Islanders await word on a permanent home.
Despite past complaints about location, poor ice and attendance, the Islanders are 52-23-13 since moving to Brooklyn to begin the 2015-16 season.
“The guys just seem comfortable. They play well there,’’ coach Doug Weight said Monday. “The strange thing to me, even when we’re not on our game — I can’t say it’s the crowd or the atmosphere, whatever it is — you just have a good chance to win. We’ve won more games maybe in that building that we feel like coming out of we didn’t play that great. We just find ways to win in that building right now, so I don’t want to talk too much about it. We have a good mojo there.’’
The Islanders are 5-0-1 this season at Barclays and are 25-5-4 against the Western Conference since moving there. That is the best interconference home record in the NHL since the arrival at Barclays, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Starting in 1972, the Islanders were 831-611-169 with 55 overtime losses at Nassau Coliseum.
The organization’s goal is to build a new arena at Belmont. The outcome of the pending bid before the state might be a key factor in whether they can retain potential free agent John Tavares.
“I’m not going to sit here and say it is or it isn’t,’’ Tavares said. “For me, anyone making a big commitment, decision in their life, I think you want to know everything that’s involved, and certainly you want to take your time, and I think that’s my type of personality. For me, I don’t see it really as a rush. I still got the rest of this contract, and now that we’re in the season, I’m just trying to worry about playing as much as I can. That’s enough on my plate.”
Tavares took a spill on the Barclays ice last season but has no current issues, saying, “You just try to make home ice obviously an advantage. A place you want to be comfortable in. We’ve done that for the most part for two-plus years now, so we just want to continue to get better at it. There’s a long way to go in this season, a lot more home games. We want to make those productive and obviously get results there.’’
Regardless of what happens with Belmont — the state has set no timetable — Tavares appears intent on delaying any decision about his future until the end of the season. Neither he nor the team appears to view the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline as a critical juncture.
“Not from my standpoint,’’ he said. “I don’t expect to be traded or want to be traded. I want to play here. That’s my goal, it hasn’t changed . . . I’m here as an Islander, really enjoy being the captain and try to give these guys everything every day.’’