Coliseum Memories: The Barn rocks again as Isles return to playoffs in the 2000s

Nassau Coliseum was the place to be in the 1980s, but some lean years followed that weren’t as prosperous. Things would begin to change at the turn of the millennium.

News 12 Staff

May 7, 2021, 2:46 AM

Updated 1,171 days ago

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Nassau Coliseum was the place to be in the 1980s, but some lean years followed that weren’t as prosperous. Things would begin to change at the turn of the millennium.
“It wasn’t just cold, it was desolate and it was depressing in every sense of the word,” longtime play-by-play announcer Howie Rose says of those dark years in the late ‘90s.
“When there's no fans, not many fans anyway, and you look up and you look at all those banners up there - it’s hard to believe that could happen,” says former Islanders captain Michael Peca.
But the Barn began to rock again in the 2000s as a new iteration of Islanders returned to the playoffs.
“To go from an arena in the late ‘90s, which wasn't the busiest venue, to rocking it the way we did in the early 2000s - you know, you can feel it,” recalls former Islanders grinder Steve Webb.
In 2002, the entire league could feel the roaring series between the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m surprised [the Nassau Coliseum] withstood all the vibrations from the noise and the fans,” says Peca.
“You really felt like you might be wearing the ceiling in the next few minutes, because you just felt like it was going to collapse,” jokes Rose.
Game 3 of that Toronto series saw Webb take on the Maple Leafs - all by himself.
“Things were pretty surreal that day,” remembers Webb. “Being a fourth-liner and having the impact that you have, and the fans appreciated it.”
"Webby played the game like there was no puck on the ice,” says Peca. “I think the opponents knew that and they paid the price regardless.”
As the Islanders get set for Belmont, they hope to bring some of that Coliseum charm and grit to the new arena.


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