Islanders question the quality of ice at Barclays Center
Problems with the ice at Barclays Center, which became an issue last spring in the Islanders first season in Brooklyn, surfaced again in Friday night’s 3-2 victory over the Coyotes.
“It wasn’t very good, I don’t know what else to say,’’ coach Jack Capuano said Saturday at Northwell Health Ice Center, where the Islanders drew 1,800 to an open practice. “I’m not going to elaborate on it too much. And I get it was a humid day, the weather’s tough, but I can reiterate what the players said that it’s got to get better. It wasn’t good.’’
Cal Clutterbuck had called the surface “unplayable.’’
Capuano was asked if it was dangerous. “I’m not going to elaborate on that,’’ he said. “You don’t want unsafe conditions. There’s a lot of surfaces that we played on that depending on the weather outside sometimes it’s not the greatest. Both teams have to battle through it. I’m sure they’re aware of the situation and they’ll do their best to correct it.’’
Last Tuesday, Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, said, “We’ve brought on board an ice technician to really manage the ice. I think we’re getting really good marks from the players.’’
Asked about Friday’s situation, Barry Baum, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment chief communications officer, wrote in a text, “The ice quality is our highest priority. We are working very closely with the NHL and Islanders ownership to ensure we have the best conditions for our players.’’
Baum said steps taken this season include temporary dehumidification, a dedicated ice manager and consultation with Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities operations manager. The Islanders were 25-14-2 at home last season and 2-1 this year.
John Tavares described the surface as “Just soft. Best way to describe it is like a muddy field in football. It is what it is, everyone’s playing on the same ice sheet, obviously it’s a work in progress. For me, I try not to worry about it, just try to go out and play my game. (Weather) obviously has a lot to do with it at this time of the year. I think it’s like that in a lot of rinks when it’s warmer outside. You fill the building with 15,000-16,000 people. You become used to it.’’
Johnny Boychuk, whose shorthanded goal in the third period beat the Coyotes on Friday night, added, “It was not as good as it was the last couple of games probably due to the humidity outside. We’ve seen it better, but (Friday) night it wasn’t its best. I played in a couple of rinks where it’s been worse. Everybody has to play on it.’’
Brock Nelson said, “There’s some times where it’s better than other times. It’s just something you got to deal with. Sometimes it bounces in your favor when the other team is not expecting it. I think just be ready for all things out there.’’
Notes & quotes: D Nick Leddy hopes to play Sunday against the Wild. D Ryan Pulock was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury and will miss four to six weeks, Capuano said. F Eric Boulton has been placed on waivers.