The New York Islanders are in dire need of a victory to quell fans’ fears about the state of the team. Garth Snow needs it badly.
WWHILE TEETERING THROUGH THE MISERABLE, lonesome offseason, many fans missed general manager Garth Snow‘s obscure comments to Newsday’s Arthur Staple. These revealed a shocking and scandalous fact about the Isles’ executive: he wanted the team to ‘take that step to the next level.’
From perusing the headlines and social media groups, one might gather that Snow had other intentions this offseason. “It’s all been sugar coated by the local media,” one fan said. “Snow’s a delusional, manipulative liar who doesn’t have a clue of what he’s doing.”
While this comment may seem a tad outlandish, it’s an accurate depiction of the sentiments shared by so many fans on Long Island. After a lukewarm start, observers have brazenly called for Snow’s firing — and remarked that the club may be taking a step back after finally taking two steps forward.
THE ISLES ADVANCED TO THE SECOND ROUND OF THE postseason for the first time in twenty-three annums in 2015-16. It was a transition season — the team departed their longtime stomping grounds in Uniondale — that concluded in the typical roller-coaster of emotions: sadness, denial and hope.
The last noun is the most pertinent to the current situation. Ronald Reagan was the leader of the free world the last time the Isles hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup. Naturally, fans crave raising the famed trophy again, especially after a prolonged rebuild and tons of empty promises.
Now in his eleventh season at the helm of the team, Snow vowed to ‘maintain the positive strides we’ve made in the recent past and take that step to the next level.’ Unfortunately, there’s tremendous uncertainty surrounding those claims.
The team entered the Summer with a slew of options at their disposal. First, they needed to find a way to retain Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, three organizational cornerstones who had adorned blue and orange sweaters since they entered the league.
‘We need to devise a way to keep all three,” Snow was quoted saying. That plan ultimately failed, because not one of those guys ended up staying in New York. Was this ideal? ‘No,’ Snow said. But, onto plan B.
“Whether it’s a winger for John [Tavares], the addition of a goalie, upgrading our defense, we leave no stone unturned to improve our club.”
That statement is innocuous enough, until its validity is analyzed. Did the Isles acquire a winger for their captain? They snatched two, but one was surprisingly cut before the season, and the other lacks Okposo’s playmaking ability.
Did they add a goalie? Nope, and now they actually have a goaltending surplus. It’s a good problem to have, until the netminders get frustrated about being on the only team in the league with a three-way rotation.
Finally, did they upgrade their blueline? To be fair, there wasn’t much of a need to. However, they inked Denis Seidenberg to a one-year pact right before the season, which meant that heralded defenseman Ryan Pulock would begin the 2016-17 campaign in Bridgeport (AHL).
With this in mind, did the Isles ‘take that next step’ and ‘get better’ like Snow insisted they would before the floodgates opened up?
ON THE FLIP SIDE, IT’S ONLY FOUR GAMES INTO AN extremely long season. Ladd and Tavares only skated alongside one another for one preseason game. Jason Chimera has only displayed some glimpses of his offensive repertoire.
But at the same time, an increasingly impatient fanbase is growing infuriated about their beloved hockey club. Something’s going to have to change, or things could get real ugly in Brooklyn.