The announced attendance at tonight's Islander-Dallas game was 8,161 (just 44 people more than half-full). It is by far the smallest announced crowd of the season (11,008 vs. Tampa) and is the smallest crowd of the Nolan era. (8,269 attended an Isles-Devils game last November 2 in New Jersey; the smallest home crowd was 8,739 last Halloween)
The last time the Isles announced a smaller crowd for a home game was an announced crowd of 3,863 for the blizzard game 12/6/03 vs. Chicago --note however that that was an actual attendance as opposed to a tickets sold number.
Last Halloween's game was the lowest announced attendance since March 6, 2001. That night, 8,415 attended the Isles' 5-1 loss to Washington. Alan Hahn's story in Newsday concentrated more on the trade deadline...and one of Mike Milbury's targets: Michael Peca.
However, tonight's crowd has that number beat, so we have to move back to the Islanders' first game of the Millenium. On January 2, 2001, the announced attendance was 7,916 for an Islander 3-0 loss to the Canadiens. Jose Theodore punctuated that evening by scoring into an empty net -- the only goal ever scored by an opposing netminder.
Alan Hahn's Newsday story noted: "The holiday season is over and it seems the Islanders' season is slowly following suit. Playing before a scattered crowd that braved not inclement weather but the specter of witnessing another loss for the home team, the Islanders last night ended their seven-game homestand with a dismal 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in front of an announced attendance of 7,916 at Nassau Coliseum, which has become hockey purgatory.
Well, for one night the aging Coliseum was hockey heaven for Montreal goalie Jose Theodore, who scored in the final seconds to punctuate a game that seemed not to need any further punctuation.
"It can't get worse than that," Claude Lapointe said.
But it does for the Islanders and beleaguered general manager Mike Milbury, who once again heard rousing chants of "Mike Must Go!" And it did for forward Mark Parrish, who after the game scolded the few remaining fans the team has for booing the team's final touch on a 2- 5 record during the homestand.
"As much as we love the fans and want them to come out and watch us," he said, "if they're going to boo us like that, we'd appreciate it if they just stayed home, to be honest with you. That's not going to help us out all too much."
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of FSN statistician Eric Hornick. Eric, who has worked the Stanley Cup Finals four times, celebrated his 25th anniversary as the statistician on Islander home telecasts on January 21, 2007. Often referred to on-air as an actuary, he is one of 3,044 Fellows of the Casualty Actuarial Society and is the President of the Casualty Actuaries of Greater NY. You can find him in the "Best Seat in the House", about six feet to Howie and Billy's left, at most Islander home games. For more on the actuarial profession, visit www.beanactuary.org
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