How tough is it for an opponent to play at the Nassau Coliseum? In legendary broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick’s eyes it is so tough to play there that if the New York Islanders had faced the Carolina Hurricanes there in 2019 New York would not have been swept out of the playoffs.
The Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the First Round of the playoffs that year while playing their home games at Nassau Coliseum. When the series shifted to Barclays Center for the next round, the Islanders found themselves quickly bounced from the postseason.
“I would argue that the Islanders would not have been swept two years ago if they were able to get Carolina in (Nassau Coliseum),” Emrick said during an appearance on Hockey Night in New York. “I think that playing them in there as they did Pittsburgh in there would have made a big difference because that’s an intimidating place to play when the fans are cranked up. And they sure were against the Penguins.”
Doc Emrick did not call any of the Islanders’ series with Pittsburgh in 2019, but he was on the call in 2015 during their first goodbye to Nassau Coliseum. The longtime NBC broadcaster called Game 3 of the First Round series the Islanders played against the Washington Capitals.
Emrick’s voice narrated the overtime goal scored by John Tavares just seconds into overtime that sent the original Nassau Coliseum into a frenzy. The moment stood out to Emrick so much so that he mentioned it in October when he announced his retirement.
“Inside Nassau Coliseum, I never heard a louder ovation,” Emrick said during a conference call in October. “I can’t recall a louder ovation than when John Tavares scored an OT winner against Washington in the playoff series the Isles had there.”
During Sunday’s interview, Doc Emrick elaborated a little more on the moment Tavares scored the overtime winner.
“That goal was scored right in front of me,” Emrick said during the podcast. “Our location tended to be over one blue line rather than at center and that goal was scored right in front of me so I could see it all the way.”
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