Hank Ratner, president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden...

Hank Ratner, president and CEO of the Madison Square Garden Company, speaks to members of the media in the expanded Madison Concourse area on the sixth floor of the Garden. Credit: Craig Ruttle, 2011

So how do the Rangers' owners feel about the Islanders' pending move to Brooklyn, placing them closer than ever to their longtime rivals' home base?

Just fine, thank you.

"We've had a great relationship with the Islanders for probably 40 years now; we expect that to continue,'' Hank Ratner, president and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, said Thursday night. "We've got a great rivalry on the ice. We expect that to continue as it has in the past. We wish them all the success.''

Might the Isles prove more of a business threat in Brooklyn?

"We'll see what happens,'' Ratner said. "We look at it that the Islanders are still in the marketplace. If they go to Brooklyn, I think they'll continue that traditional rivalry. It's a great thing for us, the Islanders and the sport of hockey.''

Even though the Islanders are on-ice rivals, the Garden has a stake in their success because MSG Network owns their TV rights. So wouldn't a more relevant, successful Islanders franchise benefit the network? "If that makes them more relevant,'' Ratner said. "It's the Islanders. They're very important to us.''

Among the options discussed for the Islanders over the years was an arena adjacent to the Mets' home in Queens. When asked at the World Series how he feels about the planned move to Brooklyn, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said, "I was expecting that. [Owner Charles Wang] tried so hard. For years he tried, and he just can't afford it. And the Barclays Center is really nice."

With David LennonThe Dolan family owns

controlling interest in the

Rangers, Madison Square

Garden and Cablevision.

Cablevision owns Newsday.

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