Are The Islanders a Sinking Ship?

As I first wrote about on November 8th, with the Islanders situation spiraling out of control, GM Garth Snow removed Head Coach Scott Gordon and replaced him with Bridgeport Coach Jack Capuano this morning. It was by no means a surprise as the Islanders are in the midst of a 10 game winless streak and have shown little signs of breaking out of their slump. Close games or not, the team isn’t scoring, and the few chances they are giving up are turning into goals plain and simple. This is not a goaltending issue, or a defensive issue, or just an offensive issue. This is an entire team issue and it needs to be resolved fast. Not for the sake of the playoffs (if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn i’d like to sell you), it’s for these young kids we’ve given the keys to the franchise to and are completely overwhelmed. John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Frans Neilsen, Matt Martin, Michael Grabner and Rob Schremp to name a few are all struggling with the weight of the franchise on their backs. They’ve been given a cast of little known veterans and guys who haven’t played much the past few years to carry a team, who hasn’t won a playoff series in in their lifetime, back to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and do it while missing their top defenseman and best all around forward. In plain English, this team is completely lost. The offense is sputtering, the once reconfigured defense is now hurting and on their 9th man of depth, their franchsie goaltender played poorly in 2 games, (the worst 2 games the team as a whole played) and Gordon decided to roll Roloson for 5 consecutive starts since he’s been playing well. Now DiPietro hasn’t played in over 2 weeks, so who knows where his game is now. It’s going to be a busy week for Jack Capuano.

The change behind the bench was not only necessary, but probably overdue. Scott Gordon is not a bad coach, and isn’t a bad person either, he has been dealt a team of players who are not playing well together and he was out of ideas of how to coax wins out of them any longer. Maybe a new voice and a “simplifying of some things”, as Doug Weight put it, will be enough to get the Isles back on the road to mediocrity. What gets them on the road to success is another matter entirely.

I’m tired of hearing fans who killed Mike Milbury for dealing away Roberto Luongo, Bryan McCabe, Todd Bertuzzi, Olli Jokinen…etc are now are killing Snow for his rebuilding stage. The fact he keeps his roster spots open for younger players and “Bargain Finds”, is the way the Islanders are choosing to go nowadays. Charles Wang has lost nearly $200 million dollars since he’s bought the franchise. He has been trying to build his team a new home since the second he signed ownership papers only to be used and abused by the people we elect and call Nassau County politicians. Here’s a secret for you, no matter who owns the Islanders, they will lose money…that owner may put money into the team for a season or 2….but once the losses start piling up, they are going to do exactly what Charles is doing, only while they’re doing it, they’ll be checking out Quebec, Hamilton and Las Vegas instead of Uniondale and Flushing. Charles isn’t perfect, but you can’t blame him for wanting to cut down on his losses until he has a clearer picture as to where the Islanders will be playing after the 2015 season. What you would like to see, is when the arena issue is finally settled, you’d like to see Charles immediately charge forward with a big trade, free agent signing, or something to show the fans that he was just waiting for his certainty.

Now, you ask how the Islanders can get better?

The first step took place today, placing a new voice behind the bench. As of tomorrow morning, Garth Snow should be formulating a list of new head coaches and start interviewing immediately. The Islanders might be a mess now, but there are coaches out there who would love this job. The Islanders have a wealth of young talent, and once the arena situation comes to a decision (which will eventually happen), the owner has the funds and has shown a willingness to spend on the team. I personally would love to see the team bring up a few kids from the Bridge to shake things up, maybe make a trade to bring in some veteran scoring help in the meantime though i’m not holding my breath on either of these requests.

Finally, I spoke with a friend of mine on twitter today, @greenlanternjet. His real name is Jeff Capellini and he is a die hard Islanders and Jets fan. I told him this afternoon that I was writing a “scathing” blog about the state of the team, the only thing is, the more I look at the situation, the more I understand it. I don’t like it, and I feel my elected leaders are more to blame than Scott Gordon is for the state of my beloved franchise, but I understand it. I get the whole rebuild since it’s the right thing to do, I get the whole try not to commit too much money until you’re sure where you’ll be playing and bringing in the cash in a few years, and I understand that $200 million dollars is a lot to shell out without a light at the end of the tunnel. So Jeff, as much as this blog might be lacking a “scathing” tone, I think you’ll understand it.

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About the Author: The New York Islanders have been a huge part of my life since I was 7 years old, and during the past 27 years I have experience many ups and downs with this team. The back end of 4 straight Stanley Cups, the Drive for 5, the Easter Epic, trading of my heroes John Tonelli, and Kelly Hrudey. Mike Bossy's early retirement, Pat LaFontaine for Pierre Turgeon, Dale Hunter, David Volek, Ron Hextall, Al Arbour's retirement, Bill Torrey to Florida, Mike Milbury, John Spano, The Milstein's, Hoistgate, the sale to Charles Wang, Draft Day 2000, Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca, Milbury's "reassignement", 40 days of Neil Smith, Ted Nolan, The Lighthouse Project, Kate Murray, Scott Gordon, going from 5 to 7 to 9, Josh Bailey, John Tavares, Calvin deHaan, El Nino, the 2 Kirill's and hopefully.....much, much more. I have been an Islanders blogger for the past 3 years, starting on Myspace, then for IslesNation.com and currently for HockeyIndependent.com, and I have been selected to the 2010-2011 New York Islanders Blog Box. I am an IT Manager for a quite large facility working for a government agency. I am married for 7 years to an incredibly patient woman and am the proud father of a beautiful 1 year old daughter. Email: ajstabile@gmail.com Twitter: Twitter.com/tonystabile

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Islanders Blog Box, Red Wings News Feed. Red Wings News Feed said: #RedWings Are The Islanders a Sinking Ship?: As I first wrote about on November 8th,… http://19FTW.in/8brjX via @HockeyIndie Red Wings [...]

  2. Isles27 says:

    Who was responsible for the Yashin contract? The DP contract? Who was responsible for firing a GM (who should have been fired a lot sooner than he was) hiring another GM, not letting him pick his own coach, getting rid of him after what 40 DAYS and then putting your BACKUP GOALIE in that all important position of GM. Who was responsible for RAISING ticket prices and parking rates this past off season after the Isles finished near the bottom of the league and that was after they finished dead last the season before. Yeah the TOH is responsible for the situation the Isles are in now. Put the blame where it belongs. Wang has owned the team for 10 YEARS and has accomplished SQUAT in those 10 YEARS and that’s on nobody but him. The guy is unreasonable and unstable and that is the main reason why the LH did not get done. It’s either his way or the highway and guess what he was shown the highway and because the Isles have been so putrid the past 10 Years he has no leverage against the TOH because the majority of people on LI could care less right now if the Isles stay or go. Sad but true. Between his screw ups off the ice and his meddling with the team Wang is most responsible for the mess this team is in right now. The Isles have become a joke among hockey people and it’s not because of the TOH it’s because of Wang. Please stop making excuses for Wang let him take responsibility for moronic actions.

    • jason says:

      Dude, say wha you want about the Yash deal. But, when Yash/Pecas 1st came here, the team was good. It brough excitment back to the Island. Any Isles fan who tells u they were upset then is full of shit. Its easy to look back and say it was a mistake. DiPis 15 yr deal was ridic bc he go hurt. But had he stayed healthy, hed only be @ 4.5 mil per yr. Compare that to some of the long term nhl contracts.

      • Isles27 says:

        So dude you would have given Yashin who had a questionable track record in Ottawa a 10 YEAR CONTRACT? DP hadn’t proved anything yet when he was locked up for 15 YEARS how about letting him prove himself to be worthy of a contract that long another dumb contract given out by Wang.

    • jason says:

      Also Smyth/LaFantaine left. They werent fired

      • jason says:

        Yes I would have at the time. Again say what u want about yash and how it ended up. But, that was a great yr. The team was good, and it brought respectibilty back to the island. DiPi, no i wouldnt have. But the other team if not for a BS tucker it would’ve at least made it to the 2nd rd if not more. And again Isles fans are full ouf shit BC at the time w Yash/Peca not 1 person complained. DiPi yes, bc u dont give a goalie that long of a deal. but think of if he doesnt get hurt. hed’s only be getting 4.5 per yr now. DiPi isnt the reason the isles suck right now. They have no scoring.

        • Isles27 says:

          I don’t think there were too many hockey people who agreed with the 10 year contract for a player like Yashin. As good as that year was they only made it to the 1st round and that drought has continued under Wang. As far as the current team there are many problems DP is just one of them.

          • jason says:

            they wouldve made it further had it not been for some cheap hits. Say what u want, but the coliseum and isles nation was nuts during the playoffs. It brought excitement back to the island.

          • Isles27 says:

            That still doesn’t justify a 10 year contract for a player with Yashin’s track record.

  3. anthony c says:

    Charles Wang is still a buffoon, who knows jack squat about hockey. He is a cancer to this team, just like garth snow. If wang gave a damn about the team’s arena issue he would get fred wilpon on the phone and tell him he wants to build a new arena next to citi field. The lighthouse is dead and has been for at least a year. Wang is to stubborn and won’t budge until he can build “wang city”. Build an arena next to citi field, it can be done before the lease at the coliseum expires in 2015.

  4. Pat says:

    Tony, It’s time for Charles Wang to sell this team. He didn’t get his

  5. jason says:

    u dont raise ticket and parking prices when ur team blows, hasnt made the playoffs in yrs, andhas been a lottery team for the fast few yrs. If wang thinks he’s losing $$ now, waiti until mid-end of the season when its completely empty. I know alot of ppl who gave up their season/ticket pkgs for this yr. Bc ppl are tired or paying for a crappy product. Again, U DONT RAISE TICKET,CONSESSION, AND PRAKING PRICES when the team is terrible. Their concession stand prices are almost as much as going to a Yankee game. That to be is obsurd.!!!!!

  6. sybo says:

    So Wang doesn’t want to spend money because of the uncertainty of the teams future…and because of the losses he takes year after year right? So they cost cut in every way imaginable and field a team that frankly CANNOT succeed year after year, essentially making it so LESS people are willing to show up at games. While raising ticket prices no less. THEN, he basically shuts the TOH out altogether because he doesn’t like their scaled down plan. No negotiation…no compromise…just silence. Let’s not even mention the mind numbing circus show decision making and meddling that has gone on during his tenure. Why is Scott Gordon an “adviser”?…because they are too cheap to let him walk away with their money. Jankowski let go? DP not sent down to the bridge for conditioning? Because they can’t afford to have him come off the cap. Jaffe not renewed because he is too honest? Team sponsored bloggers with team-mandated orders to sell the kool aid. Enough is enough with these LIARS!!!! …wasn’t Katie Strang (team reporter) told Gordon’s job was not in jeopardy 4 days ago? Uggggghhhh the list is endless…and it’s time for regime change NOW!! Is this scathing enough???

  7. Isles27 says:

    Wang could get started right now on his project but he doesn’t want to. The revenue stream has changed in Wang’s favor he gets more of the arena revenue that he used to also when you count the money he gets from the cable deal if he puts a good product on the ice he can probably do well. The moron raised prices so much he is now forced to dump tickets on stubhub there are tickets on there for 9 dollars for tomorrow nights game. Anyone who listened to Jaffe knows he was not hard on the Isles the reason he got fired was because he was good friends with Botta who Wang/Snow despise now.

    • jason says:

      No developer in their right mind is gonna get started on a project when he will lose $$ on it. Im not defending Wang. i think he handled alot of the LH wrong. But, TOH is also to blame. But lets face it, only reason Wang ever bought this team was bc he had this development in mind. Now that it wont happen, who knows.

      • jason says:

        u forgot to mention they were to cheap to bring an extra dman to calif w then and only had 5 dman bc of that sat night. Gordon will end up being a good coach, just like lavilolette.

      • Isles27 says:

        You think the Nets would be building an arena in Bklyn right now if their owner had the same antagonistic attitude toward the local politicians that Wang has had out here? You don’t think that the Nets ownership had to, let’s say, play ball with the local politicians in Bklyn to get things done? You think the Nets ownership messed with the people in power in Bklyn like Wang did out here? I have zero sympathy for Wang he made his bed and now he has to lay in it.

        • jason says:

          the nets owners also hasnt lose millions on a team. Why should wang build a new arena for a team when he has a terrible agreement w nassau and SMG? He would lose more $$ and never see it back. No owner in their right mind would do that.

          • Isles27 says:

            The agreement has been changed it’s much more lucrative for Wang now. He still gets to do more than just refurbish (not build) a new arena. Like I said if he wasn’t such a nut case maybe he would have gotten a better deal. What makes you think he conducts himself any better away from his hockey team than he does with his hockey team? The guy has been a horrible owner. I don’t care how much Wang has lost or how much the Nets owners didn’t lose you don’t deal with people the way Wang has done. There are procedures and negotiations in Government and you don’t get to circumvent them because your rich.

  8. RobC/KO21 says:

    Wang did initially save the team and he does take astronomical losses BUT whos fault is that???I have to agree w Isles27…This guy just does not get it, hes not trying to make a winner out of this team…

    • Isles27 says:

      Hey Rob did you see Botta’s site got pulled you gotta wonder if Wang has something to do with it watch out Gallof. BTW where is Gallof? I’m telling you Jaffe was let go because of Botta it’s becoming more clearer and clearer Wang seems to be in self destruction mode right now.

      • RobC/KO21 says:

        I hope you’re wrong but I wouldn’t put anything past this “so called” organization…I was wondering why Gallof hasnt posted as well…

        • Isles27 says:

          The Professional Hockey Writers Association are protesting the Isles on behalf of Botta. Looks like Wang is in the middle of crappola once again.

  9. Jethro09 says:

    I think you don’t place enough responsibility for the state of this team on Wang’s shoulders. While Wang saved this franchise with his money when he bought them, he’s been slowly killing them with his meddlesome, uneducated decisions on how to run a professional hockey team.

    This organization’s biggest problem right now is Charles Wang. I never thought I’d write that, but its true. Its the same for any corporation: Bad decisions up top trickle down and effect everyone below. Wang insists on being involved in every decision that’s made with running this team, yet he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. Stains from his bad decisions are all over this team. Staying with Milbury for as long as he did; signing Yashin and DiPietro to 10 and 15-year deals respectively; the idiotic “committee” idea he implemented followed by his hiring, then firing Neil Smith within 40 days because he wouldn’t go along with it; Wang’s hiring of his back-up goaltender to be the GM without even speaking to any credible hockey executives or soliciting any opinions about anyone else who may have been more qualified for the GM spot. The list goes on and on.

    The other problem with Wang is that the team is not a priority for him, the Lighthouse is. He bought the team as a land-grab so he could get his foot in the door to develop the Coliseum site. He never bought the team with the team being a priority. That’s why there is no arena for this team right now. Its not a priority for Wang. The Lighthouse is.

    Until Wang is completely removed from all hockey-related decision making and this team has a new arena somewhere (my bet is they wind up in Queens), this sinking ship will continue to go down. I’m not a hockey insider, but I can imagine that this franchise has absolutely no respect or credibility around hockey. Wang’s decision-making is probably a large reason for that. Until the organization gets a true hockey-man, a lifer, up top making decisions, this team is doomed.

    • RobC/KO21 says:

      When the LHP was a hot topic about a year ago, I was in Wangs corner…The most recent developments, such as Jaffe, Janks, Gordo, etc etc, have me feeling pretty naive and gullible for drinking so much Kool Aide for so darn long…I had enough of Wangs Kool Aide…This franchise is doomed and its really heart breaking…I love the sport of hockey, its the most exciting sport to watch, IMHO, but I am a fan who mostly just watches his own teams games so its really not gonna suck

      • Isles27 says:

        What kills me right now is watching how the kids on the Rangers are developing because management has given them some support. I’ve been on the Callahan bandwagon for a while now and he has improved since last season and so has Dubinsky. This “rebuilding” is a sham it’s just an excuse for Wang not to spend money. Also it’s true no top of the line free agents want to come here but the main reason is not the building the main reason is because of this circus atmosphere that Wang has created here.

        • RobC/KO21 says:

          This blows, end of story

          • Isles27 says:

            Wrong attitude to have Rob I’ve been a fan of this team since the mid 70′s and Isles fans need to organize AGAINST WANG. Where are all the gullible naive fans like Nick who marched down Hempstead Turnpike arm in arm with Wang with their protest signs, that went to board meetings to boost Wang? These are the people Wang took the most advantage of by raising prices on them as soon as he got a better deal from the county. He showed them how much he appreciated what they did for him. They should be the first ones with the ANTI WANG signs now. Time to tell Wang the problem wasn’t the TOH the problem was YOU.

          • RobC/KO21 says:

            I know…Wang owes the people, like Nick who put their own sweat and tears into his vision, an explanation and an apology….Its just messed up

          • Isles27 says:

            By pulling credentials from first Gallof now Botta he is showing that he doesn’t want anyone around who will hold him accountable for his actions and the way he runs his organization. He only wants yes men around (and Botta was a yes man for a long time). Then people wonder why no respectable hockey people want to coach or play here. Word is all around the league that Wang is a nut.

          • Isles27 says:

            Here is my take on the whole Botta incident he gets his credentials pulled so he in turn pulls his site to bring attention to it and it worked because all the Botta sycophants who post on that site sprung into action with e-mails, calls, posts and they ended up getting Francesa involved. Brilliant PR move by Botta the only thing he is no better than Wang when Wang fired up these gullible naive twits to go protest on his behalf while he couldn’t give 2 craps about them same with Botta he is only using these morons and they don’t even know it. The comments on that site today are unreadable they think the guy is some kind of god. Dopes. Second I heard the interview on FAN with Botta and it is quite obvious that Botta is afraid to burn any bridges with Wang, I guess because Wang is a billionaire and wields a lot of power on the Island, but he has no problem blowing up the bridges when it comes to Snow. He contradicted himself in that interview if you are going to claim that Snow is Wang’s puppet and takes all his orders from Wang then you can’t claim that Snow is 99% behind getting your credentials pulled.

  10. Big Van Vader says:

    Enough is enough and it’s time for a change.

  11. 19 Isle in NJ 22 says:

    Look … I’m pretty much in agreement with 99% of what Isles27 says … so I’ll just add some other tidbits.

    As an out of state former NY’r I wanted nothing more than to see the Lighthouse Project built with all the bells and whistles attached to it… not to mention the economic benefit to Long Island … However since last Fall I noticed since Charles Wang instituted the cone of silence there has been more than a noticible lack of interest in the team from Charles… ONLY if he could leverage fan interest in one of his charities or projects does he care for us fans.

    I believe (maybe naively) that Charles had his heart in the right place in the begining … However there seems to be a lot more than meets the eye.

    Charles is the single biggest reason the Isles are in the state that they are now … Not the TOH …. Not Scott Gordon … Not Chris Botta and not Garth Snow… They are all but a reflection of the mess he created… pawns if you will.

    Scott wasn’t the right coach for this team … His system is reliant on team speed and defensive mobility … Other than Streit … and sometimes even Hillen … they have none on the blue line. The forwards don’t have the experience and intimidation factor to make Gordo’s over speed system work consistently for them … End of Subject.

    Garth wasn’t the right GM for the team either … first off he was the backup goaltender to an unproven, but promising future star who happened to burn-out too fast.
    Garth actually did surprisingly well his first season with some notable flubs … We can all play Monday Morning QB, but fact is that GM’s and Owners don’t get judged on their efforts … they get judged by results … and I think that speaks for themself. I think the whole Neil Smith / Committee issue tells the whole story … After Neil Smith’s dismissal / resignation … how ever you want to label it … was based more on him being less than a GM, and more of an advisor in the committee system and that just tee’d him off. I bet dollars to donuts he was 100000% against giving DP that contract, and was told to take a walk if he didn’t like it, and Patty LaLa saw the writing on the wall and left before the fire in the building spread to his office.

    FF to Botta … Look … Chris Botta is a professional with an emotional interest in the Islanders’ success… He’s never hid from that fact. A lot of fans (especially fans without access to Newsday because of the PayWall) relied on Chris’ first hand knowledge of the team. I think Chris over the years as Point Blank grew in popularity realized his responsibility was growing. You can argue whether or not he abused that responsibility or not … but fact is Chris really put his heart and soul into the blog… He didn’t have to do it for nearly the year he did without making money on it … It was his passion… and us fans enjoyed sharing it.

    Some get PO’d when their comments are under moderation review… but any long time fan has to remember the comments section under Newsday when Logan was the beat reporter, and before the whole new Newsday look took effect … The comments where totally out of control and unreadable.

    So I expect the blow back from Botta’s and BD’s credential pulling will eventually destroy the passions of the “hanger On” Islander fans … because quite frankley I don’t trust the Islanders’ State Run Media from their online site, and Newsday’s light hitting articles … I know Katie doesn’t want to slam the team … because at the end of the day she has to face the players she writes about, and she wants to have as open a dialog as she can without the door being shut in her face … but US fans know the reality… and quite frankley I’m sick of it.

    No Charles … you are not getting another dime from me … You’re a business man right? Well when I buy from a business I expect a return on investment … and with you at the helm I get no return … so at this time I suspend any and all pilgrimages to NVMC to fund your pilaging of this team. When I see some positive results … I’ll be there. Until then, I’ll be rooting for the team while watching a second rate team on a second rate MSG+ 2 degraded SD TV signal on my Big Ass TV …. where by the way I can watch other NHL teams in full blown 1080 HD with clarity and excitement… Get your ass together Charles.

  12. Isles27 says:

    Nice rant 19 Isle we seem to mostly be on the same page. If you have Cablevision the overflow channel is supposed to be in HD now which means Dolan has done more for Isles fans this season than Wang has.

    • 19 Isle in NJ 22 says:

      Thanks for that info Isles27 … No wonder the Rangers were on the overflow when the Isles were on MSG+ during the middle of the week.