Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Puckinvibes and Drop Gloves Not Bombs are teaming up for some quick hits on the latest news around the NHL. We are 20 games into the season and will be covering some of the biggest stories so far. Our first topic is the desolate state of the New York Islanders.
They don't call them the New York Islanders for nothin', folks. It’s an organization that's been on an Island of its own for countless years, and for countless eye opening reasons. If Alexei Yashin and Rick Dipietro can get mega, Taco Bell mega big box type deals, then a Hockey fan sitting on his tush writing blogs about players skating on a sheet of ice can get that type of deal. Oh how quickly a franchise could go from a four-peat of Stanley Cups where guys like Bossy and Trottier were so bossy and brotted all over the opposition to being the inept organization that is being bossed around and trotted all over while playing in a barn that's in complete, utter shambles. The Islanders trigger finger for 15 year deals is worse than someone's outrageous sweet tooth for chocolate. Garth Snow stripping a blogger's locker room credentials, in the midst of an ugly losing streak (Losing streak count: 13, baby.), makes the fault of the team's super-sized rut fall on the blogger, himself. The Islanders must think that stripping a blogger's locker room credentials will make waves in a positive way, like the Ice Girls stripping and wearing outrageously skimpy outfits to appeal the bulging eyes of the male species. Not that this doesn't either, but I digress.
At this point, the Fishsticks may be the most giving charity I've ever seen. You want a big time player or two points from the Isles? They will give it to you so graciously that the definition of graciously will need to be re-worked in the English Dictionary.
Who's to blame for the Islanders demise over the last few years and counting? Is it the coaching staff/players or is the management that futile? Garth Snow, a former NHL goalie, is the general manager/stripper of blogger's credentials can be blamed partly for the Islanders struggles, but mostly for the recent struggles, not the overall organization issues over the last decade or so. Mike Milbury, resident d-bag and former Isles GM, absolutely stripped (don't fret about the stripped word count!) this team's talent level big time. We give Roberto Luongo a pile of sheet for his playoff choke artistry in Vancouver, but at least he isn't as fragile as one Rick Dipietro. Olli Joke-in-en is even better than Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish, righttttt? Zdeno Chara is better than the rejects that came the Islanders way, am I right or wrong?
Throughout the mid 2000's, the Islanders could have been a perennial playoff contender. At that point, those three were either in their prime or about ready to set off into their prime. They were what you'd want today. A number 1, dominant center who puts up 90 points per year, a number 1 blue liner, hulking one at that who sets off 100 mph bombs from the point and a young AND a super-talented number 1 netminder that could potentially ride you to the big dance. For the ten die hard Islanders fans, they can attest to the feeling.
It's easy to forget about a bad trade when your team is a contender year in and year out but when the team is on a bigger downfall than the water in Niagara Falls, the pain is everlasting. Shouldn't Milbury be banned from covering Isles games, as a color man or an analyst, after the slaughtering of his roster that still feels the affect, a decade later like a Scott Stevens patented hit on Eric Lindros?
Much like their building, the Islanders are falling apart. This time, however, the damage may be irreparable. While it is certainly in vogue to pile on this franchise, the fact of the matter is that the dysfunction will certainly breed discontent. This time around instead of trading away their future stars, they may just walk away.
The Islanders have a decent nucleus of young talent, and at the top of this list is John Tavares. The key to the future of the team rests on the shoulders of #91. The big problem that we can all see on the horizon is that John Tavares is going to run out of patience with the franchise.
While Steven Stamkos sets the league on fire with a great supporting cast, top notch coaching from Guy Boucher and the tutelage from hockey legend Steve Yzerman, Tavares has Jack Capuano and Garth Snow to fall back on. None of his line mates are all-star quality, he plays in front of 11,058 fans a night on the island and he is not becoming the future star that everyone has always promised he would be. His development is being hindered severely by the dysfunction from within the franchise.
Michael McEnany recently wrote in the Long Island Press: "They claim it took approximately 870 years to completely rebuild the Roman Empire back 753 BC. For fans of the New York Islanders, the rebuilding process around here is starting to feel just about as arduous."
It doesn't quite feel like rebuilding though does it. There is no long term vision from the owner, aside from a pocket filling mixed use land deal to get his Lighthouse project off the ground. The General Manager is clearly in over his head and they have just fired a coach and brought in an inexperienced man from the minors who is not exactly a superstar coach in the making. At this point in time they need to realize that they have Josh Bailey (who was just sent to the minors), Kyle Okposo and John Tavares to take care of. These players are the fresh faces of the franchise, the ones that they need to develop and the ones that they need to keep happy. If Tavares walks, this franchise will barely survive on the ice, and it is hard to believe that it will survive off of it. The Islanders haven't been relevant in over a decade, and nobody wants to fade into obscurity with them.
John Donne said "No one man is an island", however in this case, one very young man is the Island.