- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2002

Seen and heard last night at Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.:
BIZARRE WEEK: Where, you ask, is the Christmas spirit? Apparently not in Lake Success, N.Y.
Islanders center Shawn Bates, the team's second-leading scorer with six goals and 21 points, visited the team doctors in Lake Success on Friday to have his chronically bad groin checked. He didn't get the good news he had been hoping for, but the news he got wasn't as bad as what was waiting for him.
Bates walked outside to where his 2003 Lincoln Navigator SUV had been parked and found an empty space. Inside his vehicle were his passport, his wallet with all his credit cards and his cell phone.
"It's been the most bizarre week of my life," he said.
He also missed the game because of the groin injury.
FANS DISAPPOINTED: This has not been the kind of season the Islanders had been hoping for, especially at home where they had a record of 6-9-2 before playing the Caps. The fans have been doing their part, averaging 14,158 in the cozy Coliseum (capacity 16,234), but frustration has been growing.
"Everybody has been living up to their end of the bargain except the team," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Now it's time for us to stand up."
The nearly full houses are a far cry from where the franchise stood a few years back, when anything above 6,000 was considered an excellent showing.
"Our owners made a commitment, our fans have made a commitment and the Coliseum has to stop being a place that people can take points out of," the coach said. "That's gotta change. We're 6-9-2 [at home], and that's unacceptable."
Dave Fay

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