Islanders Deserve Clean Slate

Have any of you read the article on NHL.com featuring a Q&A with Islanders’ General Manager Garth Snow? If not, I recommend it. You’ll get a first-person perspective on Garth Snow’s tenure as Islanders’ GM, the challenges he has faced, and the optimistic take he has on this team going forward.

The interview, although only five questions, is actually telling. Many Islanders’ fans may not like him in his current position with the team, but I have to say this: Garth has been honest through the entire process of running this organization, and many of us have not been able to accept that in the past.

The bottom-line is that he tells us exactly what some of us (the minority) have been saying for some time now: We have been a rebuilding team, and have been stunted by the lack of a future home, as opposed to poor ownership, management, etc. It’s time to let this team, whenever it gets back to playing, restart on a clean-slate.

Yes, it’s true that players haven’t been attracted to the Island over the past several seasons. Frustration was mounting and misdirected towards the organization. The team’s owner and GM ran a “circus”, so players would never want to come to Long Island. Not with this regime.

Not too many people crying foul now that the Islanders have a future home, though. Garth said it best in his recent interview:

“Thankfully something worked out to where we are going to stay in the area, 25 miles down the road. I didn’t have any ill-will for any free agent when I spoke with their agent on July 1. How do you sell a free agent to sign for five to seven years on Long Island when we don’t even know where we’re going to be?”

When was the last time you remember a free agent signing with the Islanders long-term? We’ve seen a lot of players join the Islanders, but only on one-or-two-year deals. We’ve seen long-term offers to free agents such as Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Hamhuis go without a signature.

That’s fine, and unfortunate, but when was it fair to say that the Islanders organization wasn’t an attractive place to play? As Garth Snow also stated, and what is fact, is that the Islanders have been able to lock-up several key players of their own for the long-term. John Tavares signed a six-year deal. Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo signed for five years. Matt Moulson’s re-upped his contract twice, and Frans Nielsen extended for for years. In September, Matt Martin extended his time on Long Island for three years. Even Doug Weight, one of the best US-born players to play ice hockey, loved his time here and went from Islanders’ captain to assistant coach. Do you think these guys would stay on the Island if the team was as poorly run as many assumed? Come on.

Snow also made his last point, and what should have been obvious since the beginning: The Islanders have been in a rebuild since the 2007-08 season.

“It’s obviously painful at times to go through the adversity that we’ve been through on the ice and that’s a byproduct of going with younger players and developing from within.”

You have to appreciate his honesty. We have struggled, and it has been painful for us fans, but it is what it is. No pain, no gain, especially for a team that lost Jason Blake, Alexei Yashin, Viktor Kozlov, and others in 2006-07. Those players made up over 40% of the Islanders’ goals that season, and left the team. At the same time, the Islanders’ arena situation became very sketchy, and players would not commit long-term. The only option for the Islanders was to build from within.

Now, the Islanders have been rebuilding for five long years, but the arena situation is resolved. Snow has the opportunity to add ability to this roster for the first time since he was named General Manager in 2006.

“The certainty of where we’re going to be for the next 27 years will help us in attracting free agents who otherwise wouldn’t have considered the Islanders. If I am going to sign a long contact I want to know where I’m going to be for the next several years.”

Just like that, the Islanders’ organization has a clean-slate to work with. When hockey comes back, fans have to give the team a chance to show what they can do, and keep in mind it’s a whole new world for the organization ready to turn the corner.

As the team stays to its path, we have to take a look at Garth’s words and understand that the team’s future gets brighter. The Islanders went through a rebuild, something so many teams go through in cycle. The Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins, and Kings all rebuilt their team from the ground up, and all came out with a Stanley Cup. By the time the Islanders’ are in Brooklyn, we should see the team in a completely different light than we have seen over the past few years.

Follow @ChrisTriants

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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  1. Billy says:

    Lets Go Islanders!

    • ChrisTriants says:

      Let’s go Islanders! We need hockey back now. There should be so much excitement from an Islanders’ fan standpoint, but it’s being muzzled by this lockout!