If you subscribe to the Islanders Insider email service - which rarely sends interesting emails - this week you got a note asking you to fill out a "game operations" survey. So, here are the questions and my answers to each one:
They are rated on a scale of 1-5 (1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied).
1. The music played at Islanders games, such as warm-up music, songs on whistles, audio prompts, and pump-up songs: I said 4, which is satisfied. It's fine. The experience is good because it's a hockey game of NHL quality. It's not mind-blowing and I've seen better, but it is sufficient.
2. The quality and frequency of the live organ: I said 3, neutral. It's good, but I could always use a little more. I was at Citi Field for a Mets game the other day and the organist was amazing, playing 70s and 80s songs with the natural organ flair. We need more of that at the Nassau Coliseum.
3. The intermission t-shirt giveaways, such as the t-shirt guns and the 12-barrel gatling cannon: I said 2. Once again, just fine. I just caught a t-shirt in the Pepsi Porch upperdeck area of Citi Field's right field. It was a real blast from the on-field gun. The Coliseum Ice Girls, who are responsible for the t-shirt throws, need to bring more shirts, take bigger blasts and spread the wealth. People love swag, especially after paying the disgustingly high prices for tickets nowadays.
4. The 1st intermission Ball Blaster cannon: I said 3. Why? Because I don't even know what this is. This means get rid of it. There is no need for ball blasting in the NHL - or anywhere for that matter.
5. The usage, quality, and frequency of replays on the video board: 5. I always enjoy a good replay and the Coliseum staff is usually on the mark with their visualization queues.
6. The pre-game opening sequence, from the Ice Girls with Islanders flags to the open video, to the National Anthem with the giant American flag: 5. This is good. They could pick better people to sing the National Anthem sometimes, but of the 41 home games almost each one features someone decent.
7. In-arena host, Rich Barrabi, and the pre-game and intermission game analysis and player interviews: 3. I'm only neutral because C.J. Papa did the in-game video interviews for the last two seasons and rumor has it that he is no longer with the team. So, I need to see Rich a little more before I got and give him a 4 or 5.
8. The usage and frequency of noise meters, noise prompts, and the general atmosphere at Islanders games: 4. The meters are used enough. I could care less about what they say. For years, crowds were able to make noise and be sufficient without an electronic meter on a fancy scoreboard telling us that the crowd is cheering loud. That's what my ears are used for.
9. The exposure of the NHL out-of-town scores and the NHL highlights shown pre-game and during both intermissions on the video board: 5. This has gotten better in recent years with various smaller video boards being placed around the Coliseum.
10. The intermission on-ice games, such as the Human Puck Shoot, Nathan's Hot Dog Race, and the American Airlines' Fly Away game: 2. Generally, people are interested, but I'm not. It's the same stuff over and over again, every game, for years. I really want to see something new and fresh. These events are not major parts of the Coliseum or Islanders culture - they're just space fillers that no one cares about.
11. The Kid's Day game experience and the NHL and local mascots in attendance: 2. I've never seen "local mascots" at an Islanders game. I've seen the Islanders' sorry excuse for a mascot - Sparky the Dragon - but nothing else. I also don't see much for kids to do.
12. The in-game texting features, such as text-2-screen, pix-2-screen, and the second intermission song poll: 2. I've tried this feature - both good and bad texts, but have never had one appear on the screen. Sometimes, I feel like it's all an intricate way the team can get money from the phone companies. So many of the texts keep reappearing from time to time, like it never was meant to add new texts in the first place.
13. The in-game trivia contests, such as Tongue Twister Trivia, Hollywood Line Trivia, and Name That Islander: 5. Half the time an average fan gets an easy question and still manages to screw it up.
14. The overall Islanders game entertainment experience: 3. Maybe I am being generous with a 3, but the Islanders and everything about the organization is really anything but top-notch. Things should be different this season with John Tavares on the ice and a core of solid goal tenders (we'll get to them in the weeks to come), but in recent years I have not had much enthusiasm to attend games.
Good job by the organization to ask these survey questions, but let's see if the answers die-hard fans provide actually help change policy.