Where are you?

The weekly topic, as I mentioned last night, is sadly appropriate. It was a fantastic night on the ice, with the best team in the league in the house, and it was witnessed by friends and family. It’s just a shame. Heaven knows I can’t tell people how to spend their money, but 1,660 announced, and certainly no more than two-thirds that in the house…

Comparisons to past years are tough. Everybody says everybody else is papering the house. Drop counts — those who actually showed up — aren’t readily available. Sorting out paid from freebies is even tougher. But there’s a little chart in the paper today that includes data from the past four seasons through 14 home games and through Dec. 18. Here’s an expanded version, with some added numbers that hopefully add some context:

Year 14 HGP 12/18 4K+ 5K+ -3K Midweeks Final HFD
2001-02 4140 16-4258 8/10 2/3 4 4 4448 2-5775/3-5626
2002-03 3946 15-3956 7/8 4 3 5 4561 1-5143
2003-04 4218 16-4229 7/8 5/6 4 3/4 4864 3-5812
2004-05 4088 14-4088 8 4 4 4 5403–4973# 2-6282
2005-06 3406 14-3406 4 1* 5 3 1-5242

*-only crowd over 4112 is Hartford
#-first number includes two crowds at Nassau Coliseum totalling 27,166. Second number is 38 Bridgeport dates.

Key: 14 HGP: Average attendance through 14 home games; 12/18: Number of home dates-average attendance through Dec. 18; 4K+: Crowds of 4,000 or better; 5K+: Crowds of 5,000 or better; -3K: Crowds under 3,000; Midweeks: Number of dates on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday; Final: End-season average; HFD: Number of Hartford games-average for those. Slashes differentiate between data for the first 14 home games and data for games before Dec. 18.

Announced attendance is tickets distributed. This includes sales, barters and complimentary tickets.

I don’t know, maybe this question was better asked before this week, but here it is anyway: Why? If you aren’t you coming to games, why? If you are, why aren’t your friends? Do people not get what this product is? Do people not care? What’s holding this team back? We’ve spent five years speculating, and maybe it’s time we figured it out.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hamilton and Rob Collins were here for practice this morning. It’s likely that one, maybe both, of them will return to the Islanders for tomorrow night’s game against mighty Ottawa. And on an absolutely, positively, 100-percent unrelated note, isn’t the salary cap great?

Michael Fornabaio