Another season done, another season of suffering and heartbreak for Islander fans. The last six and a half years have been nothing but abysmal. Yes the Islanders made the playoffs under Ted Nolan in 2007 and last year in a forty-eight game season but let’s not kid ourselves these last seven years have been brutal.
Last season they made the playoffs and that was “supposed” to be the turning point for the franchise moving forward…Garth Snow didn’t get that memo. Not only did he not get the memo to build off of last year’s success but he botched the off-season like there’s no tomorrow. Of the moves he made three of the players, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Peter Regin, and Thomas Vanek, are no longer with the team and have made Garth look nothing short of a fool. He preaches he will never sit back and watch games fade away and improve the team if need be. Well guess what, here we are at the end of the season staring at yet ANOTHER lottery pick. Let’s be honest though as much as the fans and myself included call for Snow to be fired it’s not happening anytime soon and I think it’s important to note that with Wang at the helm, Snow’s job is safe. . This off-season has to be his defining moment in finally moving this team forward.
Let’s get into this season and what a disappointment it has been. I have been writing season reviews for my site for almost five years (in September) and they all have one thing in common…I always end up talking about how to fix the team from Charles Wang all the way down to the players. This year I’m going to do something different. Let’s be honest if I tried to write a paragraph or two for each player that wore an Islanders uniform this year this post would likely equal five pages in Microsoft Word and that’s being modest. This year I’m going to go through each position and not be redundant.
Lets start with the OWNER CHARLES WANG:
We, myself included, lambaste him into not putting more money into this team and we all have the right to be furious. This off-season will be one of the biggest off-seasons in the team’s history but also it could be the beginning of the end of the Charles Wang ERA as team owner. There have been reports that he is in talks to sell a majority share of the team. So far the only suitor that fans know of is Andrew Barroway. If Barroway’s name sounds familiar, he was in the running to buy the New Jersey Devils and then the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. Whether or not he is successful in purchasing the Islanders, it is now confirmed that Charles Wang is indeed ready to sell.
GENERAL MANGER GARTH SNOW:
Garth Snow is likely not going anywhere while Wang is at the helm but let’s just say hypothetically that he fails this off-season as well? Then what? Should he continue to be the GM or be let go? The obvious answer would be to fire him but time will tell. This section for him could be long but the bottom line is, is that this is it for him. If he fails this off-season he is likely gone…or one would think he should be.
Actually the headline for this section should read “Clueless Coaching Staff.” This group of coaches is as inept as any coaching staff I have seen. Every game they change their lines, never bench a guy if they have been playing poorly or struggling. If Capuano and his staff are back next year, and I would be shocked if they were, their leash is extremely short. If, however, they are let go during the off-season there is one coach I would like to see the Islanders go after…Peter Laviolette. He is familiar with the team and has two Stanley Cups to his name since leaving the Islanders the first time.
Here is the real fun…more or less. In the past I would do a run-down of each player but there have been too many players for this team this year and I have lost track of everyone who has played this year.
However, there are a few players that stood out to me, namely Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Okposo, Evgeni Nabokov and Ryan Strome.
Bailey is not getting any praise from me and he never will. He is often compared to Okposo in terms of his slow starts but the difference between the two is simple Bailey always struggles. While KO always struggled early he still managed to put up goals and contribute in other ways. Bailey just looks lost every time he touches the puck and lacks confidence. Giving Bailey that 5 year deal this past off-season was a huge mistake. Good luck unloading that this off-season. It won’t be easy.
Cal Clutterbuck was acquired during the draft last year and was an instant fan favorite. Yes, there were fans who didn’t approve of the trade but let’s be honest, he did what he was brought in to do, hit, score goals and hit some more.
For Okposo I think it’s fair to say that the chants of U-S-A, U-S-A speaks for itself.
Whether or not you like Nabokov he was your number one goalie this year and he kept them in games until the end in the games he played. Being a goalie at his age is not easy and for him to perform as well as he did this season is a great feat in itself. Garth Snow should be looking to make a move for a number one goalie for next year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nabokov back as a backup to give the Islanders some stability in an area that has been so weak for the last seven years.
When the Islanders called up Ryan Strome the first time everyone thought he was going to be the savior. When he was sent back down after about five games it seemed like he wasn’t ready. However, when Tavares went down with his knee injury Strome proved to everyone why he belonged in the NHL. It took a while for him to get his first goal but once he did his confidence kept building.
Now I know you must be thinking, “well weren’t there other players who impressed me this year?” In short order, yes, but I think it would be redundant if I pointed out each one.
The 2013-14 season may be over for the Islanders but that doesn’t mean there won’t be news coming out of the Islanders camp or from me. Tuesday we will find out where the Islanders will select in the upcoming draft and I will detail what I think they should do with that pick. I also hope to have some great interviews coming up. Check out Pro New York Sports Facebook page and keep an eye out for posts on the Yankees.