FREEFALL: 7 Mistakes Of The NY Islanders & How To Rectify Them

Ok, lets keep this blunt and to the point…

The Isles came out strong, but reality hit like a ton of bricks. The coach got canned. This is not because Gordon was doing a terrible job, per say. But more likely clear that Snow was not going to resign him post this last year on contract. So, his dismissal was more as a sacrifice before its time in a hope to wake-up the young team. (we’ll go into the whys at a later date, wrong or right on the Isles part)

It did not work.

A likely thought was that Bailey or Tavares turn on the jets with Gordon gone. This has not been the case. Tavares last night looked just as lost as the next guy who is trying to decide which empty seat to move down into at the Nassau Coliseum for the next home game after paying too much for his ticket.

This team is in complete disarray. The Isles fanbase is in disarray. The season is in disarray.

This might be the toughest times for the Isles team and fans. For something is very wrong. I’d like to call out a couple of glaring mistakes and offer a few solutions…

Mistake #1: Not Enough Vets

Pushing off the vets was clearly an error. Doug Weight is just one guy. The rest of the team looks like an intensive care ward. Most of them a young and inexperienced. The lack of veteran cohesiveness….a big weakness on the former coach also, btw, remains.

Vets and experience matters, no matter the style of play. Isles need some veterans mixed in and fast. This might be a way to stave off the freefall and get some kids to develop where they belong…either deeper on the depth chart or in the AHL. The “let’s go with kids on offense” experiment failed miserably. Time to fix a mistake, Garth. Time to admit fault, fix it, and move forward.

When your dman (besides Streit) is one of your point leaders, there is a serious problem.

Mistake #2: Raising Prices

I don’t care if the Isles got a better lease deal with SMG. They had a hell of a lot of nerve, lack of forethought and just plain insulted the fanbase with the ticket pricing. Who the hell is running the business end, Gordon Gecko? Lower prices on tickets, food and parking. Now. What a crock that is, and fans know it. If there is a #1 reasons fans haven’t come back, besides the smell on the ice lately, it is due to the price not being right.

Mistake #3: Open Communication

Pretend to actually want to communicate. Any successful or at feasible business actually makes an attempt to communicate, inform fans, press, bloggers and anyone else on a proactive basis. This somehow was lost.

Start with the Lighthouse Project. Enough of the silence! Admit Scott Rechler is out. Admit you tried to get meetings with ToH’s Kate Murray lately and she refused. Admit you are completely at the whim of Ed Mangano and his larks. Stop the silent madness. Stop pulling away and isolating yourself, you jerks. Come back to reality and open up the lines of communication. You are losing the battle, the war, and yourselves.

This about face last year and subsequent actions has failed spectacularly on every possible level.

There is not a soul that thinks this is working. Get over the mistake, wake up and smell the coffee and start talking. We are listening….time to ante up.

Mistake #4: Accept That Free Agency Did Not Work

Admit that you tried to not only chase many a defenseman, but also that the forwards you did try to get didn’t want to come to Long Island. Isles free agency failed miserably for one big reason…they are not a competitive team poised to win soon.

The rebuild’s long arc still has not see the bump upward. No key guy is going to sign with a team that is in flux like this UNLESS they want more playing time…and then they aren’t quite the top flight guys you were hoping for.

Isles ARE willing to spend. Just can’t get the people they want. Those they did get are not quite shoring up the team in ways they hoped.

Reality bites, but at least it would fade away the absolute falsehood that Charles Wang is penny pinching. Admit that there is a deep problem here in getting good or key people.

Mistake #5: Stop the Madness with the Internal Paranoia

Stop pushing away criticism. Stop being the paranoid crazy uncle that the family whispers about. Stop trying to control what you can’t. The apparatus that has been installed under Snow and the Isles brass has lent itself to unfettered paranoia, reactionism, and just a negative view of those around them. It is a deep flaw and will only serve fear and failure, not success.

Get people who can deal with press, media, petulant fans and bloggers, and just plain get over yourself.

Enough is enough here.

Mistake #6: Hire a NHL-level Coach Now, Not Later

Sorry, Jack ain’t the guy. This team needs a NHL-level guidance and development.

The Isles coaching vacancy is an opportunity, not so hard to fill as the press makes it. This team does have young talent, even if they are in freefall. Even if just for the rest of the season, this team needs a NHL-level hand at the tiller.

It is very hard to “assess talent” when the team is an unmitigated wreck.

This team would be better served with a Bob Hartley, Andy Murray or even a Paul Maurice. No dice for a Ken Hitchcock, especially when Scott Gordon was thought to be too cerebral. So find that other type of coach and get them in there.

Give a one year deal, or hell, go for two and make them a consultant if they don’t work out. But the team and development would be better served with a guy who has been there and who has the experience of being in a losing streak. There is nothing to lose here.

Mistake #7: Return Chris Botta his Credentials

I’m not a fan of advocacy style blogs, so I am not big on Botta’s stylings post going truly independent (off Isles payroll). I think Botta has always short-changed himself and fans here, but there is not a doubt he deserves access and does a first-rate job on covering the team. Just because his style is not my personal cup of tea doesn’t mean he’s not a key guy or not important. He is very important, especially due to the fact of the lack of reporting that goes on this team.

This is not the first time he was in hot water with Isles Brass. Remember a video that had to be shot when he made the site and himself the news back before the Lighthouse hearing?

I do. I shot the video. This was the first time the Isles were hot and bothered with his work almost immediately when he wasn’t on payroll. This issue festered and continued thereafter, especially when Botta went more and more into that style of work.

It is this issue, not some self-grandiose  battle with Garth Snow as the crux here….in my opinion.

No matter. Sit down with the guy, vent, work it out, and get him back in the locker room. It is a disservice to fans otherwise, and just not acceptable.

The Isles seem to have this internal fantasy that press should be a certain way. Isles have no clue how easy they have it. It will get easier as more and more fans stay away and stop going to their website.

Isles used tout their huge numbers to their own website two seasons ago. I bet that those numbers have dropped exponentially since Botta’s rise. This might be the number two issue between the two parties that nobody is talking about.

Influence. Control.

Isles are trying to dis-empower a guy who they helped empower. And they keep hurting their own coverage with all sorts of antics and blogger push-offs. Isles defanged the blog box. Isles defanged Newsday. Isles defanged PB. They hurt their own coverage for what reason exactly? It makes no sense. They are hurting their own fans and product. Open a dialogue and work out differences.

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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.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BDGallof and BNZ Writers, Jeff Quirin. Jeff Quirin said: RT @BDGallof: FREEFALL: 7 Mistakes Of The NY Islanders & How To Rectify Them -| Hockey Independent http://t.co/5lDDjgk via @wibiya #isle … [...]

  2. Isles Fanatic says:

    BD,

    Good read, I still however like what Botta brings to the table as a read. Also, important to note that vets are essential to this team, but they need quality vets that can contribute on the ice not just in the room…otherwise, the freefall continues.

    It is my thought and has been for some time that Snow will not be in place come next season if this insanity continues….I guess that time will tell.

    • RobC/KO21 says:

      Botta does a disservice to the fans when he stirs the pot…He also censors fans posts when hes called out on his motives or when you question his opinions…

  3. Isles Fanatic says:

    Almost forgot….glad to see your posting a little more often….You do an excellent job.

  4. Fred Poulin says:

    I have to agree that the Islanders really need an experience head coach to right the ship this season. An experienced head coach like Michel Therrien, or Bob Hartley. They also need more veterans, what about UFA like Owen Nolan or Bill Guerin, they won’t cost much, can play on a 3rd line and will bring guidance and respect in the room.

  5. Crazy Ivan says:

    Bring in Keenan for the rest of the season!

    Ya think we need a coaching change? I can’t think of a bigger change thatn Iron Mike.

  6. BDGallof says:

    I don’t support bringing in Iron Mike at all. No way.

  7. RobC/KO21 says:

    Mistake # 6 will go down as another HUGE GM BLUNDER unless they sign an experienced and respected NHL coach ASAP…This team needs structure and confidence…To instill a minor league coach with no NHL games coached is counter productive…We need these players to have faith and trust in their coaches…This AHL coach is just just adding to the confusion these kids are experiencing…The bottom line is these kids need an experienced coach to help with their inexperience and lack of confidence…I believe this would give REAL LIFE to this team…Real Pride to play for a great NHL coach…So right now we have the BLIND leading the BLIND..Cappy might be a good coach but hes not what this team needs…In fact hes the opposite

  8. esd714 says:

    Hey BD-don’t disagree with much here–but they have veterans on the team after Weight (Wiz, Konopka, Sim (when he was here, Jurchina, Motau (injury not withstanding), Eaton–what they need is the vets–including Weight to lead. If Tavaras is lost — one these guys needs to get in his ear in real time and get him right-same with Bailey and Comeau etc…

    • RobC/KO21 says:

      I think that Moulson should be the capt but that would be an insult to Weight, wouldnt it???Maybe at least give him an A

      • Isles27 says:

        Last season when we were having Captain discussions I said that I didn’t think anyone on this team should be given a “C” unless they went out and earned it. Has anyone on this team earned a “C” for this season personally I don’t think so.

        • RobC/KO21 says:

          I believe Moulson has shown leadership on the ice and in his interviews hes been calling out the players saying they have “no heart and better get it together”…Moulson has been so consistent and plays his game every night…We need more players like him…

  9. Isles27 says:

    Just like the free agent pool is very limited for the Isles because of Wang so is the former NHL coaching/executive pool. Nice to throw some of these names around but I doubt a lot of them would consider working under Wang/Snow.

  10. Pat says:

    Can’t disagree with any of your points DB. It just infutiates me that were at the point where we are right now. How did the train come so far off the track. Is this franchise and who’s running it so stupid that we all can see where this has gone so wrong. For the first time since I can remember, I am so disinteested in this team it’s sad. It just seems like management just could care less about the fans and people who still love and care about this team.

    • BDGallof says:

      It’s definitely rough to watch. I mean, I completely ignored the Mets last few years because I knew Minaya was a mistake. I knew whatever they did would fail in the end b/c the GM and culture within was riddled with issues. So I know the feeling. I think the Isles have talent within the org, but there is something very wrong. I view it as the board of govs and owner as primarily problems: Those who came over from the LHP especially who have employed the philosophy of failure now to the organization.

      • RobC/KO21 says:

        “Those who came over from the LHP especially who have employed the philosophy of failure now to the organization”

        Thats a theory I havent heard and could be part of it…What do u think about Howies comments, BD?

      • mrlbem says:

        The Wilpons at least seem to have some sense of shame. Four horrible seasons finally got to them. Can the same be said about this ownership and management? Or do they feel they know better than everyone? This is more similar, in terms of NY sports history, to the Giants of the late 70′s. Although there, the disfunction was caused by two factions of the Mara family not speaking to each other. Finally, the Commissioner stepped in and strongly encouraged them to hire George Young to run the football operations of the team.

        I don’t have much confidence in this ownership/management doing the right thing, do you? If Bettman were of the mind to have an intervention, and I doubt that he is, would Charles even listen? It is so obvious and frustrating that what this team needs is the most qualified hockey guy out there, whoever that may be, running the team with no interference from the owner. And it’s equally obvious and frustrating that Charles either doesn’t understand this or doesn’t care.

  11. [...] • "The Seven Mistakes of the New York Islanders and how to Rectify Them." Sadly, none of them involve a murderous cyborg and a young Mike Milbury. [Hockey Independent] [...]

  12. HyeDray says:

    Not much to disagree with. With Mottau now likely down we bring in yet another ill prepared kid.

    My personal order of importance on your points:
    1) Bob Hartley — is he not good friends with Mr. Snow? He would be an excellent addition and I fully agree — it has to happen sooner rather then later. Using the year to wait until June/July is a huge mistake (shocking)

    2) Ticket pricing, and the general way the business is run is reprehensible. I have little desire to attend games for the express reason — I don’t want to a) waste my money watching the team lose, and most important I don’t want to give my money to Charles Wang. I am convinced Mr. Wang knows very little about running a business. I think the guy got terribly lucky, and was in the right place at the right time with C.A.

    3) The appearance of doing nothing with regard to a new venue is killing the franchise on many levels. Either Wang needs to conceed to the Hooples of Hempstead OR he needs to openly seek out a new location to get what he wants. The pig headed ignoramus Hooples won’t budge — so there is nothing to negotiate. Mangano is Murray’s and Mondello’s puppet — so he is ineffective in anything. When Suozzi lost, the LH effort fully died.

    • Isles27 says:

      Seems like someone didn’t get a bad enough beating on election night he’s looking for some more. Wang got involved in the last TOH Supervisors Election and also in the Nassau County Executive election, he put his eggs all in one basket instead of playing it in the middle AND HE LOST. He tried to embarrass Murray with his protests and rally’s, allowed Murray’s opponent to campaign in the lobby of the Coliseum during a game and Murray ended up with close to 70% of the vote which is a landslide. You really think Murray is going to do him any favors after all of that? Wang is eating some humble pie right now and he deserves to. One more thing Gallof if this democratic operative andre is going to keep posting his played out hooples crap on other peoples pieces like he did with yours then I am going to respond to his crap if he keeps it to his own pieces then I will just ignore the left wing buffoon.

  13. TPJM22 says:

    Isles 27 – Republicans SUCK the big moose C and always will. Frigin LOSERS like you.

    BD – Botta is right here and doesn’t deserve the LOSER NYI ignorance that has happened.

    Please, get it real. This franchise + TOH, Nassau, LI Replubicans w SMG are LOSERS and have destroyed the NYI franchise with SMG Repub kickbacks and TOH NO GROWTH leading to the worst franchise in sports!!!! 13 losses in a row!! Thanks Repub Nassau LI!!!!!!!!

    Repubs screw up everything!!! Right 27???

    How ’bout these LOSERS????????????

    NO EXCUSE!

    REPUBB ARE CLUELESS AND THE MONORITY IN LI NY!!!!!!!!!

    • Isles27 says:

      Another schmuck who took a massive beating on election day comes out of the woodwork. How’s your hero 0bama doing? This is the only state (and Illinois)who would re-elect a corrupt POS like D-L Charlie Rangel, when news about his corrupt ways and that he would be tried by the house came out BEFORE the election he still got voted back in by the NY libs like you and andre and you 2 clowns have the nerve to talk about corruption. Murray got almost 70% of the vote that doesn’t sound like the minority to me and Thank God we are the majority in this country. Typical liberal never expect people to take responsibilities for their actions the Isles are in the sad state they are in right now because of CHARLES WANG. Figures your a Botta sycophant. Look what andre started with his partisan political bs.

  14. RobC/KO21 says:

    Lets stop with the politics…If you cant think for yourself and all you do is agree with what your particular party tells you to think then you are a sheep…Why are so many Americans sheep???This is why Im no longer Republican and I became an independent…I prefer to think for myself and come up with my own opinions and feelings…I dont care wtf what a party tells me Im supposed to think…

    This post wasn’t pointed at anyone in particular…If the shoe fits wear it!

  15. 19 Isle in NJ 22 says:

    BD … I generally agree with the list of mistakes … The one glaring one for me is that they have Jack Capuano taking on this team during one of its most turbulent times in recent history. Jack is a fine AHL coach … without any hardware to show for. If Scott couldn’t get the job done (probably mostly a loss of confidence in him from the players) … Than how is Jack going to get this team going? 1-0-2-0 in the last 3 games isn’t exactly an endorsement of his coaching.

    My biggest fear is the development of the young talent both on the Islanders and in the AHL right now … These kids more than ever need firm and proven leadership. Who exactly is developing kids on the farm right now? No Trottier to even take the bench for the Sound Tigers to fill in until Jack returns. Was Jack really getting the most out of the kids to develop them properly? Was Jack sold on Scott’s system in the first place? Apparently not since he’s apparently tweaking it. Players themselves have admitted making adjustments in interviews.

    I guess those 7 mistakes you outlined BD could be considered the Isles Brass’ 7 Deadly Sins.

  16. jpwjr1199 says:

    Per SAY?! Really, BD? Christ – it’s per SE. I hate to be rude, but Nassau College offers Advanced English courses every semester.