After two consecutive 100 point seasons and a second round playoff appearance for the first time in many fan’s lifetimes, the Islanders are following suite and regressing back to their old ways. In many ways, it’s exactly what is expected of the Islanders. A team in the most scrutinized sports city in the world for decades has escaped any accountability due to their manipulative PR policies, and it has resulted in the acceptance of mediocrity. However, it is time for Islander fans to step up and declare that this is no longer acceptable.
After finally improving and showing the league that they were a legitimate contender, GM Garth Snow allowed his team to regress instead of progress and build upon their unusual success, once again proving his incompetence. The fact that Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen couldn’t wait to pack their bags tells the story in and of itself. Compound in Andrew Ladd’s contract and the unbelievable waiving of P.A. Parenteau and it’s easy to see how Garth Snow made every single wrong move possible. Deciding to keep Barzal on the roster so that he could play in just 2 games before being shipped back to juniors and waiving a proven NHL scorer who played his career best with John Tavares, while on a discount contract, is truly despicable. Especially factoring in his early season success with the New Jersey Devils.
It also can’t be ignored that the Islanders are still carrying three goalies on their roster, to the dismay of all three. As if the franchise wasn’t embarrassing enough considering the debacle that the Barclays Center has become, Halak’s agent calling out the franchise on Twitter just adds fuel to a fire that people have become socialized to believe is the norm for the Islanders. Nothing tells J.F. Berube that the team believes in him more than sitting in the press box every night with his only meaningful contribution coming in the form of appearing on the team’s Snapchat account during charity events.
When Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin took the reigns this past summer, they promised change and a “world class” product. However, the only returns that Isles fans have seen thus far have come in the form of playing in the world’s worst hockey venue and watching a hockey club that sits at dead last in the Eastern Conference.
This problem starts with Garth Snow. After his eleven year tenure and all of the high draft picks that he has compiled, it is a tragedy that the Islanders are in the state in which they currently reside. He has not done what is necessary to tool this team with the necessary pieces, and it is time for a change to be made. The only way that this can happen is for the fans to clamor for it and make it very clear that this is no longer acceptable. It’s on the fans to be heard and cause such a ruckus that they can’t be ignored. No longer can the fans accept the decisions of a flawed system of management that has produced close to no results for the lifetime of many people.
Snow is not the only problem. Capuano has had some success, which shouldn’t be discredited, but it is abundantly clear that he is incapable of leading this team. It is clear that his locker room has given up on him and while he may be a good guy, he isn’t the right person to bring this team to the places they want to go. Remember when John Tavares took his whiteboard and erased the play he drew up a few years ago? That one simple encounter truly tells it all. Plus, even if Capuano was a decent coach, when a team is in a dire state such as this, a change has got to be made to spark the locker room.
Is this a lost season for the Islanders? Probably. But that doesn’t mean that fans should just throw in the towel and continue the trend of their “next year” discourse. There’s no hope with the current power positions being held by incapable occupants. The new owners need to step up and deliver on the promises they made. They must be held to the same standard as the other owners of New York sports teams and no longer be given this special pass.
They must cater to the fans or they will be given hell for it. Consider this our rallying cry. After being embarrassed for the third straight game, Nikita Kucherov joked that “he wished they could always play the Islanders.” If that doesn’t enrage you as a fan, you are a part of the problem. You are accepting mediocrity and the Islanders as a middling franchise. They are not. They can be competitive. They just need the right guidance and a few more pieces. We can all make a difference in this and it is our job as fans to demand better, not roll over and accept it for what it is, which right now for the Islanders, is an absolute joke.
New York Daily News