Funny thing happened in the two weeks from what was perceived by many to be an excellent draft class by Garth Snow and the NY Islanders. Notice how I type that out that we don’t list all the names like Garth Snow, Charles Wang, Ryan Jankowski, Scout A, B, C, D, etc.
Notice that when MANY people list it out, they don’t list names. But suddenly, when the Isles don’t renew a contract, all hell breaks loose in the twittersphere, blogosphere, boards, comment sections and god knows what else.
Part of the problem is the simply dunderheadedness of the NY Islander organization who should have announced they were parting ways, thanking him for his time, and with perhaps a little story or retrospective. But, no, not the Isles. Instead, they get a bit bewildered when the blogosphere, board and tweets are filled with panic. Then again, they’ve been doing everything silently for a bit now.
Now all this said, it is a very silly panic over something like that. It’s not like they fired the guy. Hell, he didn’t storm off and head home. A contract wasn’t renewed. In hockey, this is par for the course. In business, this is typical and common.
The problem is there is this perception that the NY Islanders are cutting costs, Wang is cheap and all this other hodgepodge.
So let’s get into that a bit.
First off, though the Islanders have made many a business organization change, including trimming, the hockey ops has mostly been left alone. In fact, if you look at Garth chasing free agents, you can guess that money is not such an issue as people make. Wang’s not likely being a tightwad. Its the simply understanding of why blow cash when the team can’t even make the playoffs. Remember, they all learned a hard lesson of how going the free agent route worked in Ted Nolan’s last run. They changed gears, and committed to it. I think this free agency, despite the lack of reeling in the big fish, has been proof positive of them willing to spend.
OH MY GOD, JANKS ISN’T DRAFTING!!
Umm, just want to remind what Ryan Jankowski did. He was a well-respected guy who ran the scouts. Though we cannot deny his counted voice, he was one of a few that funneled to the final selections. However, as General Manager does dictate by meaning, Garth’s choice and selection was final.
There is some argument and debate here, that somehow others made those choices…some going as far to say Charles Wang.
To my own understanding this is not true. Garth Snow, as GM, had all final say. Whether he used a Ouija board, picked it out of a hat, used a system that’s been in place since Neil Smith, or talked to Dionne Warwick…the buck stops with him.
Obviously, one would think an owner would be consulted. After all, you got to sign them, or explain on how one kid fell out of the first round, or god knows what else. But if people think that Charles Wang is sitting reading scouting reports, with a cup of tea and a fat cigar, selecting picks, you have another thing coming. Garth has propped-up Janks to talk about kids on ITV and give the skinny. This is certainly true enough, and one would think the head of the scouts should give fans the best scouting analysis. He, ummm…runs the scouts. One would think he has the best grasp on the reports. Also notice that this draft he did not do that at all.
I won’t dismiss Jankowski’s role. He was moved from European Scout to Assistant GM and Director of Amateur Scouting since August of 2006. This is months after the 2006 draft that Feltrin had to watch Neil Smith and his team select…
(courtesy The HockeyDB.com)
|2006 Entry||7||1||Kyle Okposo||R||Des Moines Buccaneers [USHL]||154||39||57||96||72|
|2006 Entry||60||2||Jesse Joensuu||W||Assat Pori [FNL]||18||2||2||4||8|
|2006 Entry||70||3||Robin Figren||L||Vastra Frolunda Juniors (Sweden)|
|2006 Entry||100||4||Rhett Rakhshani||R||US National Under 18 Team|
|2006 Entry||108||4||Jase Weslosky||G||Sherwood Park Crusaders [AJHL]|
|2006 Entry||115||4||Tomas Marcinko||R||Kosice Jr. [Slovakia]|
|2006 Entry||119||4||Doug Rogers||C||St. Sebastian’s [Mass. H.S.]|
|2006 Entry||126||5||Shane Sims||D||Des Moines Buccaneers [USHL]|
|2006 Entry||141||5||Kim Johansson||W||Malmo Jrs [Sweden]|
|2006 Entry||160||6||Andrew MacDonald||D||Moncton Wildcats [QMJHL]||49||1||6||7||22|
|2006 Entry||171||6||Brian Day||R||Governor Dummer Academy (Mass.)|
|2006 Entry||173||6||Stefan Ridderwall||G||Djurgarden Jrs. (Sweden)|
|2006 Entry||190||7||Troy Mattila||L||Springfield Jr. Blues [NAHL]|
So we cannot attribute Jank’s role, nor even Garth Snow. But we can attribute it to the foundations that the Islanders use to this very day. Once Milbury’s system was flushed out, that is.
So if we even look to diminish Garth’s role. And who would ever do that, right? I don’t have an axe to grind with the fellow. BUT if we did, then we’d have to reduce Janks role as well.
Well then, what are we debating about?
Oh yes…somehow the sky is falling. Now I remember.
CHICKEN-LITTLE IS JUST WAY OVERDONE
Look, I’ve been there. I’m going to be 40 years old this summer. I’ve watched this team careen off a cliff, fall down a hill, and them watch Mike Milbury squat on it until we cried uncle. But there needs to be a little leeway and stepping back by the Islanders faithful who react to every fart and fizzle as if someone just smashed their world. It doesn’t help that some people push them along.
Here’s a great one:
“The NHL should investigate”
Investigate what exactly? That someone’s contract didn’t get renewed? Really? In the business world, we call this…well, Tuesday. In other words, just another contract situation when the contracted and the employer have two completely different set of values. I agree that is just another badly handled thing by the Isles who need to be far more proactive and with a bit more panache as an organization so that these things don’t blow up. Hiding things, or constantly pushing things under a rug, thinking that nothing is wrong, is well….silly.
Islanders have been doing this for a few years now, with some spectacularly embarrassing results, including lately…the Lighthouse Project.
Silent and brooding just doesn’t work as a business organization. You are a sports team, therefore you are a PUBLIC business. You don’t get to work in a vacuum and never will. There seems to be more to this, especially in how it was handled by the Islanders. But, much like an free agent who the Isles choose not to renew, one has to think when a employees contract is up, the same rules apply. It’s a business, team is moving on, so does the one with the contract. That’s the problem with contracts in the first place. They run out. Then someone has to make a decision. Yes or no. Well, unfortunately Ryan’s answer was nay…but one would think that had to cross his mind.
But to think that some sort of grave crime happened because Isles didn’t renew…not buying it. Ryan is a bright guy and he’ll get his own club one day to show what he can do. But to act like this is the greatest crime since they canceled MASH?
Come on now.
The Isles public has a propensity to get rattled, shaken, stirred, and outraged at the slightest provocation…or even a blog or tweet. Let calmer heads prevail.
Drafting is a process. One of those process people is now gone. Time will tell on what difference it really makes. But one has to think if Janks contract wasn’t renewed, then his voice was just a little bit less with the draft just two weeks ago. You know…that one that everyone seemed to love, sign praises and cite: In Garth We Trust.
Well that trust seems very liable to the wind blowing.
As always there is a bit too much hot air.
About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.