Published on February 11th, 2014 | by Pete Truszkowski15
Isles Management Gets Free Pass
The New York Islanders are once again in last place. That’s a common theme for this team under current general manager Garth Snow.
Garth Snow took over this team in late summer 2006. He made the playoffs in 2007 off a team mainly built by Neil Smith during his 40 day tenure. He finished last in 2008. And 2009. And 2010. And also 2011. Oh, and 2012. In 2013, he rode the coattails of a nice winning streak to sneak into the 8th seed of the playoffs. Instead of building off the momentum provided by the playoff run, we are in 2014 and once again, the New York Islanders are in last place.
That once again brings up the question; why exactly does every facet of this team get a free pass from everyone?
The fact that there is still one single defender of Charles Wang is utterly insane.
Charles Wang does not lose $20 million dollars a year on the team. In fact, according to Forbes, since 2005, Charles Wang only loses $8.2 million annually on the New York Islanders. These numbers are also from Wang, a man whose former business partner is in jail for fraud. You think there isn’t some fraud accounting going on here?
In fact, there is no reason to believe that there isn’t some false accounting going on here. In late 2009, Tom Suozzi signed over a sub-lease between the Isles and SMG that would give the Islanders control of the Coliseum. Charles Wang became in charge of booking events and the likes for the Coliseum year round. In return, Wang bought in much more revenue from the events at the Coliseum. Tickets, concessions, parking, etc all benefited Wang now instead of SMG. However, there’s no reason to believe Wang isn’t putting his far more beneficial numbers under a separate entity. This “Islanders Entertainment” set up 2 months after the new lease seems like a fair guess, no? But it’s much easier for Wang to cry poverty without mentioning those numbers and events that line his pocket.
Charles B. Wang is also the 278th richest person in America, with an estimated value of $925 million dollars. Think about that when you defend Charles Wang. This guy has more money in between his couch cushions than some people make per year. This guy could buy your house, destroy it, laugh and then chalk it up to a rounding error on his checkbook. Charles Wang lost $1.2 million dollars on the Islanders last year, if what he reported is totally accurate. Think of it this way, you received $1000 dollars from your uncle for graduating college. You lose ONE DOLLAR and 29 CENTS. You got a burger from McDonald’s. You got a slurpee at 7-11. You buy a candy bar at the grocery store checkout. That is what we’re talking about when you talk about Charles Wang losing money on the Islanders. But please, keep crying poverty Charles. And please, keep defending Wang saying he loses “sooooo much money” on this team.
Since 2008, there is one team that has appeared in the NHL’s lowest three payrolls all 7 years. If you guessed the New York Islanders, you are 100% correct. The Islanders had a chance to continue to grow their brand after last season. They were riding the momentum of last season and people were starting to believe in the franchise again. With a few more million dollars invested into this team, we’d be talking about a 2nd straight playoff appearance right now instead of the draft party. It’s simple economics, especially in sports.
Invest more money in your team. Field a better team. Sell more jerseys. Sell more tickets. Sell more hot dogs. Sell PLAYOFF tickets. Sell more season tickets for next year. Put more money in YOUR own pocket. It’s really not hard to figure out.
Or in Charles Wang’s case, it’s: spend no money on your team (cheating the NHL mandated salary floor for years), ice a pathetic product (last place in 6 of last 7 years), make no money (you don’t wanna pay to watch Jon Sim, Marty Reasoner or Peter Regin? Aww man), cry poverty (LOL 278th richest man in America), make people believe your cries (maybe you’ll get credentials).
One thing that really grinds my gears is when people act like Charles Wang “saved” the Islanders. Charles Wang bought the Islanders back in 2000 for the sole reason of a real estate grab. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he bought the team; he’s admitted as much. He says he wouldn’t buy this team if he had to do it over. His real estate grab, also known as the Lighthouse project, fell on it’s face. He didn’t have the best interest of the New York Islanders franchise in mind when he bought this team. He had his own personal interests in mind.
And even when the Lighthouse project fell flat on it’s face, the team was not leaving the New York area. We’re talking about the NHL here. The same league that is fighting tooth and nail to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Phoenix. The same league that has never moved a team that has won a Stanley Cup in it’s history. No league would move a franchise out of a cash-laden market like New York, especially when there were other options as to where the team could play. It was inevitable this team was staying in NY, whether Charles wanted them to or not. To his credit, he did appear to want to keep them here, so good on him.
One of Charles Wang’s biggest failures is his lack of ability to be in control of the hockey part of this franchise. He kept Mike Milbury around way too long. Milbury was a total failure. He is now entering year 8 of Garth Snow’s tenure. Snow is not much better.
Mike Milbury had more success than Garth Snow as Isles GM. Let that sink in. There is no argument; both of these GM’s suck.
I’ll admit, I was neutral on Garth Snow until this past summer. But after watching Garth Snow turn last year’s awesome feeling of hope, belief and love for this team into this apathetic, awful feeling that I currently feel towards this organization, it’s hard to put trust into this man. Yet, for some reason, he gets a free pass.
Many Islanders fans look towards the Islanders “bright” future and give Snow a free pass. Well, according to Snow, the Isles embarked on a 5 year plan in the summer of 2008. We are now in the 7th year of that “plan” and we are still in last place. This team still SUCKS. And honestly, what exactly has Garth Snow done that is so amazing?
He’s drafted John Tavares. A monkey could have drafted John Tavares. Kyle Okposo was drafted by Neil Smith. Mike Milbury drafted Frans Nielsen. On the current present day roster, Garth Snow can hang his hat on Tavares, a young player who’s shown flashes of being a top 9 player (Brock Nelson), two fourth liners (Cizikas and Martin), and two second pairing defensemen with injury problems (Hamonic and de Haan). Mind you, we are 7 and a half years into Garth Snow’s rebuild.
Part of the problem is that fans tend to overvalue their own team’s prospects. Like I always say, when looking at a prospect you look at the upside and their skillset, but you don’t really think about the fact that they can fall flat on their face. When Garth Snow was hired in 2006, he wrote a “Letter to the Fans” that embodied this gem; “How can you not be excited about DiPietro…Robert Nilsson…Ryan O’Marra…Petteri Nokelainen…Jeremy Colliton…Kyle Okposo…Blake Comeau…Sean Bergenheim…Chris Campoli…and so many others.”
3 of those 9 players are still in the NHL. One with the Islanders. One is an impact player at the NHL level. So next time someone writes how excited they are about “Ville Pokka, Andrej Pedan, Anders Lee, Johan Sundstrom, Anders Nilsson, and Kirill Kabanov” remember Snow’s letter. Because a majority of the prospects we are so hopeful for today will amount to be absolutely nothing. It’s easy to say that “our prospects now are so much better”, but honestly, that’s worthless until any of them actually prove it. Last season, we were talking about how excited we were for Nino Niederreiter to ride shotgun with JT for the next 15 years. Now, Nino Niederreiter is essentially Cal Clutterbuck; a 3 million dollar 3rd line winger who has 7 goals.
On the topic of Clutterbuck, Snow failed miserably this off-season. You can’t even blame Wang’s financial restraints for this summer. It was just a miserable job by Snow, lets recap:
Trading a former 5th overall pick for a 3rd liner.
Signing that 3rd liner to a big, overpaid contract.
Paying Pierre-Marc Bouchard 2 million dollars to be an AHL player.
Giving Josh Bailey a contract that will handicap this team for years.
Bringing back Nabokov over 3m a year, further botching the goaltending.
Not addressing the defense.
What makes anyone think that this off-season will be different? Sure, Snow has made some nice draft picks; make him the director of scouting. Sure, Snow has made some nice low risk signings and waiver claims that have turned out well; make him a pro scout. But what makes anyone think that Garth Snow will be the one that takes this team to the next level? What has he done to deserve that benefit of the doubt?
Would anyone be surprised if he rolled into next season with the same defense he has to finish this year, plus Reinhart? Essentially, replacing a veteran presence who plays top 4 minutes with a rookie. Oh wait, didn’t he do that this year?
Would anyone be surprised to see Bailey and Grabner back in a top 6 role next season? Okposo has a spot locked up in the top 6, and one of Strome/Nelson/Nielsen will likely be moved to the wing. That leaves two top 6 wing spots open for next year. Do you trust Snow to bring in outside help to address this? Bailey and Grabner are signed for big money, meaning they’ll almost certainly be on this team in a big role.
Do you really expect Snow to fix the goaltending longterm this off-season? Or do you expect a project like Khudobin or Scrivens bought in? Do you really expect to see Ryan Miller or Jonas Hiller in blue and orange?
So Snow has proven to be nothing special in the drafting department. He’s also proven to be incompetent in terms of addressing the team’s issues, as seen by him not changing the defense or goalies at all this whole season. So what exactly does he do well? Keep the payroll low and keep his mouth shut. The perfect puppet for Charles Wang.
He won’t even fire Jack Capuano, who has proven to be way over his head almost every night in the NHL. Hell, just last game he had Eric Boulton out against Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. AT HOME. So if Capuano is a good coach, doesn’t the team you built suck? Or if the team you built is good, why are they in last place? Coaching probably, right? It’s a combination of both.
I honestly have written quite a few similar articles about this subject, but I really just want to educate Islanders fans. Charles Wang sucks. So does Garth Snow. I don’t even have the energy to write about Cappy; it’s not worth it. It all starts at the top.
And unfortunately for us, it trickles from Wang to Snow, through Cappy and the players and our passionate fanbase is drenched in warm piss. Don’t worry though, Wang, Snow, Capuano, the blog box members and Snow and Wang apologists will all tell us it’s rain.
Take a sip of the kool-aid, it’s delicious.