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So long, Nassau; My Memories


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With the Islanders' game seven defeat at the hand of the Washington Capitals on Monday night, the Nassau Veterans' Memorial Coliseum will never see NHL hockey again.



And I am heartbroken for two reasons.



The first and more immediate of the two being that if the Isles had not laid an egg in game seven (they had 11 shots) there would have been the most compelling match-up so far in these playoffs as the Rangers and Islanders would clash in a long overdue installment of the battle of New York. It would have been must-see TV.


But the second reason is much more nostalgic.


Nassau is a small arena which makes for a very intimate experience for a hockey fan. But Nassau is even more important on a personal level.


The first NHL game I attended was in that barn.


It was November 1st, 2008. I live in Connecticut, so the idea of watching the Habs play in person seemed like an incredibly foreign idea. For my 13th birthday, I got two tickets to see the Habs take on the Islanders with my dad in Nassau and was unable to sleep for the next 3 months.


The seats were something to dream of. One row from the glass and immediately adjacent to the Islanders' penalty box. It couldn't get any better.


One thing that cannot be understated about Nassau is that it is an old building. Very old. There was a security guard in front of us that kept us from banging on the glass for fear it might fall and injure a player.


During an intermission, my dad came back with hot dogs and they were easily the worst hot dogs one could by for six dollars.


But anyway, a game was played that night.




That night, Nassau felt more like Bell Center 2.0. Filled to the brim with Canadiens' fans, the Olé's started early and they were music to the Habs' ears. The Canadiens struck early and looked to be in great shape, but the Islanders would not be out done, sporting their then throwback jerseys for the first time that have since become their regular home uniforms.


The Isles would score 4 straight goals to lead 4-1 in the third period.


Calling Georges Laraque...


Big Georges would drop the gloves with Mitch Fritz, a highly touted prospect (goon) at the time. The fight was close, but Laraque knocked Fritz with one good punch that cut him just above his eye.


Remember where I said my seats were? When Fritz went back to the box, he sat down right next to me.




(At about 0:58, I'm the dork wearing the white Habs jersey holding the cardboard tube. It was a sign that read "C'est le but! RDS!")


This fight sparked the Habs to an incredible comeback as they would end up winning 5-4 in regulation.


I remember every second of that game. I remember rookie, Kyle Okposo's stick breaking in an attempt to swat the puck away and I watched as his stick blade helicoptered over my head into the 5th row. I remember Mike Komisarek slamming Frans Neilsen into the wall right in front of me.


I went to two other games in Nassau; both Habs victories. On December 14th, 2013 I watched the Habs squeak out a 1-0 OT win as Pacioretty gave the Canadiens the win an Price getting a 21 save shutout.


The most recent game, and the last, I saw at The Barn was this season. On December 23, 2014, I took my dad, his girlfriend and my girlfriend to the Habs - Isles game. Montreal won 3-1.


If Montreal and the Isles met in the conference finals, I would have sold both my legs to get there. That arena meant the world to me and I will miss it dearly.


Anyone else have memories with this building? In it? Watching it?


Thanks for reading




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I read a few cool trivia facts.


JP Parise was the first North Star to score a goal at the Nassau and Zach Parise was the last Wild player to score a goal at Nassau.


Nassau is the birthplace of the "playoff beard"




I thought I read where the Islanders will play a few games a year on Long Island after the renovations? -- probably pre - season .

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@ihabs1993  Very cool post, can't believe you were in the video.....awesome!  Nice that the fight sparked a giant comeback. Georges was a wily veteran in that fight, he had a poor position, so he created space, squirmed and pulled until he was in a better spot to land shots. Was never at Nasseau, but always respected that building, even though it's famous for being a rat hole of a place....still, 4 straight Cups were born there!!

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Nassau is the birthplace of the "playoff beard"

  Is the playoff beard because of Butch Goring...I know Ken Morrow won the Olympic Gold Medal and went straight to the Isles to eventually win 4 straight cups (best run ever?) and he always had a knarley beard...was it one of those two guys?
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  • 2 weeks later...

I understand that the Islanders are keeping the name, should they decide to change the name to say Americans, would Rochester (AHL) object? There was a New York Americans back in the '30s. I would like to see the New York Americans versus the Montreal Canadiens!

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Never saw a hockey game at the Coliseum, but I did see Pink Floyd there in '88 in what all present still to this day claim as our craziest and greatest concert experience. So for that I will bid a fond farewell

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@sarsippius Don't want to hijack the thread, but seeing Floyd live changed my life. David Gilmour gets so much feeling out of his guitar....it was one of the best days of my life seeing that band!!

Right on brother, I'd go see Gilmour play a banjo in front of a supermarket. A live Gilmour experience is almost indescribable

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