That's the common thought on Long Island and elsewhere with the news last week that the Islanders have agreed to play an exhibition game in September against the Los Angeles Kings at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
The announcement sent shockwaves through the club's fan base. It's pretty easy to see the potential for a match.
The Sprint Center is a year-old building ready, willing and able to house an NHL club. The Islanders are in desperate need of a new home.
Islanders owner Charles Wang has been working on a development project in Nassau County that would include a new home for the team to replace 36-year-old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Known as the Lighthouse Project, the 150-acre development includes plans not just for a new home for the hockey team, but a luxury hotel, a sports training center, housing units, retail stores, a minor-league baseball field and acres of underground parking.
The Lighthouse Project first was proposed by Wang and real estate developer Scott Rechler in 2007, but to this point, no progress has been made while the Lighthouse people continue to meet with officials from the town of Hempstead and Nassau County
Wang, who moved to New York from Shanghai at the age of eight, repeatedly has said he has no desire to sell the Islanders and certainly no desire to move the team. General Manager Garth Snow said the decision to play the game in Kansas City is a "hockey operations decision," no different than playing preseason games this past September in the Canadian Maritimes, or in past years in Trenton, N.J., Lowell, Mass., or London, Ont.
"I've always been encouraged to find ways to expand our fan base," Snow told reporters. "This is probably a hot-button topic because of the decision to play the game in Kansas City. But I'm being consistent in the way I've scheduled preseason games in the past. It's a good opportunity to touch fans in a different market."
Nor is Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray worried about the team suddenly leaving town.
"From the article I read, I'm not particularly perturbed or concerned because it's from the mouth of Mr. Wang that he isn't anywhere close to moving the team," Murray told Newsday. "I don't take any threats from an exhibition game in Kansas City."
But there must be a growing frustration on Wang's part that his development dream for his club and his home area is going nowhere. How long will he hold out for the Lighthouse in his home port?
First half in the books: Halfway through the season, nothing definitive can be written about the five teams in the Atlantic Division. The Rangers and Penguins started great and fizzled; the Flyers started poorly and lead the division; the Devils spent the better part of two months with a roster not even coach Brent Sutter could recognize and remained in the playoff chase; and the Islanders continue to lay the foundation for what could be a positive future.
Here's a look at the good and bad of the first half from the Atlantic Five:
Player of the First Half: Jeff Carter, Philadelphia -- The talent always has been there, and Carter seemed to be building to something special as he grew into his 6-foot-3 frame. Now a fully mature 200 pounds and in his fourth NHL season, Carter is on his way to a spectacular season.
Carter finished the first half of the season with 27 goals, and started the second half in a flash, scoring twice -- including the game-winner -- in a 4-1 win against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Carter leads the League with 29 goals, which matches the total he had all of last season. He's also become an all-situation player, tying teammate Simon Gagne for the League lead with 4 shorthanded goals and scoring a team-best 9 power-play goals. Only one time has he gone more than three-straight games without a goal.
"Whenever he touches the puck, you know he's going to get a scoring chance or he's going to create something," said teammate Martin Biron.
Carter's sublime scoring has been one of the major reasons the Flyers lead the Atlantic Division at the halfway point of the season.
Coach of the First Half: Brent Sutter, New Jersey -- At one point in November, Sutter went into a game minus two of his top defensemen (Paul Martin, Andy Greene), his top three centers (Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, John Madden) and his Hall of Fame goaltender (Martin Brodeur). Despite that M*A*S*H month, they went 7-5-0 in November. As the first half ended -- and the bodies became healthy -- the Devils remained in the playoff race.
As the second half of the season starts, the Devils are sixth in the Eastern Conference, just four points behind first-place Philadelphia in the division.
Rookie of the First Half: Alex Goligoski, Pittsburgh -- As bad as it was for the Penguins to suffer the losses of Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney, it allowed the team to fast-forward the development of the 23-year-old defenseman.
"I thought I could make the team, and that was my focus," Goligoski told NHL.com in October. "Come in, have a good camp, show them what I can do and hopefully make the team. But, being realistic about it, they obviously have a lot of defensemen here and I was prepared to do whatever."
Whatever meant playing a full-time role and anchoring the point on the team's power play. In just his second professional season, he leads rookie defensemen and Pittsburgh defensemen with 6 goals, 13 assists and 19 points.
"I guess you tell yourself just keep doing the same things you've been doing, take in as much as you can and learn every day," said Goligoski. "You have to be a quick learner. It's been moving fast."
Surprise of the First Half: Scott Clemmensen, New Jersey -- Clemmensen returned to the Devils, the team that drafted him in the eighth round of the 1997 Entry Draft after a one-season sojourn in Toronto.
For Clemmensen, it was a return to a place and an organization where he was comfortable, and his playing time would come with Lowell, the club's American Hockey League affiliate.
"Players move along for different reasons and you respect that because it’s part of the business, but we never think twice about bringing someone back if they can fit a need and want to be here," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said. "Scott is the type of individual we love having in the minors with our young goalies, and if there's a need, we know he'll be ready."
Surely no one thought there would be one, but when Martin Brodeur went down with a torn biceps tendon, Clemmensen displaced Kevin Weekes to assume the starters role. After playing 28 NHL games over six seasons, he already has played 26 this season, going 15-9-1, with a 2.38 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
"I've always known I'm able to play in the League, but you have to have someone give you the chance and you can't take it for granted," Clemmensen said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "I have an opportunity now to play, which is something I never did before in the NHL because I didn't have a golden path to the NHL. But I'm here now and doing the job and no one will take that away from me."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.