Over the last few years, our Islanders have had some very rough seasons finishing with top 5 draft picks in 5 of the last 6 seasons. Even with that though, one thing that never wavered was the atmosphere of home games at the Coliseum. Even during the worst years there was still some sort of buzz or excitement during games.
I was at the last two games before the Olympic break last week and for the first time I felt like that buzz or that excitement had disappeared. Sitting in my seats during those games, I didn't get the feeling that a large majority of the people in attendance wanted to be there. The feeling I got was that most people were there because they had tickets and didn't want to put them to waste so they came.
This is something I don't anticipate getting any better after the Olympic break. Especially after we trade Andrew MacDonald and Thomas Vanek I expect us to end up on the short end of most games.
So what now has caused this after so many seasons? I think fans are getting tired of the constant losing and yearn so bad for seasons like last year. With this being the 7th season of the rebuild I think they are well within their rights to feel that way. When were told for years that we have no money and can't afford to sign people and then the GM goes out and signs someone like Pierre Marc Bouchard and calls it our big off season move or signs Josh Bailey to a massively inflated contract that he doesn't deserve questions as they should will arise. Especially in a summer where we are supposed to be building off our first playoff appearance in many years, echoing what many other people have said, the GM failed majorly this past off season. On a normal team, failure like that would lead to the GM losing his job, but that won't happen here.
My favorite though is when the owner who has for the most part been mute since the Brooklyn announcement in October of 2012 tells the New York Times in an interview that "star power" will be needed to compete with the Rangers in Brooklyn. How come he realizes that will be necessary then but doesn't see the need for it now? Also, how management constantly says the rebuild is over and that we should be competing for the playoffs. I have news for them, over the last 7 years of the 21 teams to be in the bottom three in payroll in that time period only 7 of them have made the playoffs. It would seem to me that spending among the lowest teams in the league year after year isn't a good way to ensure success. Knowing this management team they probably think they can go against the grain and be the first team to reverse that trend. Furthering on that point, in 5 of those 7 seasons we spent the least in the entire league usually using bonuses and buyouts to reach the cap floor with ticket prices for the fans either staying the same or going up.
For the reasons I have stated and many more I could understand why the collective pulse of the fans may have disappeared. To be honest, I am surprised it didn't happen sooner.