Unless you possess a degree of optimism that has yet to be seen in the annals of history, you might have a hard time getting revved up to watch the Islanders in the second half, whether on the tube or live and in person at the plush Nassau Coliseum. And this presents a problem for a franchise looking to maintain and even grow a fanbase in Billy Joel Land. So, because it is better to light a candle than curse Charles Wang, The Palm Isle presents some tips to make things interesting in the second half.
Set up a Kansas City BBQ stand on the concourse.Newspapers haven't cared about the Islanders this much in at least a decade. So let's keep Kansas City out there. The city's known for its great BBQ, so it's a win on that front for the fan at the Coliseum. The fact that it'll get the media intrigued is a bonus. Where's the downside? Also, the Isles can install slot machines and, um, whatever Hamilton is known for to keep people on their toes about other places the Isles might wind up.
Don't just put Butch Goring in the seats; let him work odd jobs around the Coliseum. Unlike the Mediocre One, I like Butch Goring reporting from the seats on Islanders telecasts. But why stop there? Why not have him selling beer up in the cheap seats? Or shooting t-shirts out of a cannon with the Ice Girls? Or working the sushi stand on the concourse? The possibilities are endless--and I would think the probability of Butchie losing his cool would be quite high (and another ratings grabber). It also could be cool to have him do a hidden-camera show around the Coliseum a la "Howie Do It." Or just have him punch Ron Duguay once and for all. Point is the Isles are not tapping into Goring's full potential, and they need to change that ASAP.
One-up the magnanimous nature of the Penguins. We all know the great, heartwarming story of Jacob Anderson, the eight-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis whom the Penguins signed to a one-day contract. A truly great story. But the Islanders are one of the few teams who can do the same thing and actually get the kid some playing time (and, assuming he replaces Thomas Pock, actually improve the on-ice product). Sure, practice is nice and it's cool to hang out with Miro Satan, but wouldn't it be way cooler to actually play in a game? Let's make this happen.
Arbour Night worked, so why not just bring the whole team back? One of the true highlights in recent Islanders history was Al Arbour coming back to coach one last game. It was a perfect night and a true reminder of the franchise's respect for its past. So, if that worked, think how awesome it would be for the entire Core of the Four to come back for a regular-season game. Sure, some of the guys might've lost a few strides, but, again, how much slower can they be than some of the current Islanders? And if some of them are reluctant to come back (or if the Isles still can't find Wayne Merrick), they can open it up to all past alumni, thus appeasing the group of Islanders Mania posters who are "tired" of honoring the dynasty players (waaah).
Time to rethink the "three goals and everybody gets chili" promotion. It seemed like a good, reasonable idea at the time, but now the prospects of the Islanders scoring three goals at home are not strong. So the Isles need to find other ways to reward the devotees that still come out to the Coliseum. One idea is a free danish every time Frans Nielsen gets a point. Another is a coupon for a free bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream when Josh Bailey gets a point. But the best I've come up with so far is the new "Score with the Islanders" campaign, where, if the Islanders score one goal, a lucky fan will get to go out on a date with one of the Ice Girls. Sure, it's a a potentially tough assignment for the Ice Girls, but these are tough times and everyone in the franchise needs to pitch in. No exceptions. And, to be fair, if the lucky fan is a heterosexual woman, she can choose among the guys that drive the Zamboni, Charles Wang, or any of the night's scratches, healthy or otherwise.
So, there you have it. Five absolutely fantastic ideas for the second half. Think about 'em, Mr. Wang. And let's go Islanders.