Until Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin actually do something about the state of disarray the New York Islanders are in, they’re no better than past owners.Whether it’s apathy or cluelessness, New York Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin are proving to be as useless and inept as those who came before them.
Sure, the pair struck a deal for a new arena to be built at Belmont Park. But that arena is at least three years away, and anyone who knows anything about the way New York works understands that three-year timetable floated by Governor Andrew Cuomo is about as solid as the sands of Jones Beach.
We’ll believe it when we see it.
Unfortunately, that’s the attitude this ownership group has forced Islanders fans into taking when it comes to their stewardship of the team. In the midst of yet another soul-crushing season, with the team’s franchise player, John Tavares, only months away from free agency and coming off yet another disappointing loss, this time a 5-0 bloodbath at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, the pair has sat idly by and done absolutely nothing to stop the bleeding.
Not unless you believe that going on a public relations tour, taking pictures with fans looking like the creepy “uncle” your parents warned you to stay away from growing up constitutes “doing something,” that is.
Mr Ledecky is the man #isles #vegas
What a night pic.twitter.com/Nfr86HMfSB
— Bryan (@LredB) January 26, 2018
Go ahead and do a quick Twitter search for pictures of Mr. Ledecky and Islanders fans. You’ll find far more results for that than you will for a statement from him or his partner about the actual on-ice product.
Therein lies the problem.
At least Charles Wang admitted from the get-go that he was absolutely clueless when it came to the game of hockey. He mistakenly let Mike Milbury spend a decade destroying the franchise from within before having an “Oh my, what have I done?” moment. But he was honest.
Ledecky and Malkin can’t afford to wait any longer for their moment of zen, for their epiphany. The 2017-18 season is quickly falling into an all-too-familiar abyss of maddening Brock Nelson-like mediocrity.
As ESNY’s John Fiorino wrote last month, general manager Garth Snow‘s inaction now is almost certain to have long-lasting ramifications later.
Why would Tavares re-sign with this team, knowing that its leadership is too incompetent—or too cowardly—to make a bold move that finally gets the Isles out of the realm of “fringe contenders” and into the “legitimate threat” category?
If you’re wünderkid Mathew Barzal, who should win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year, would you seriously consider signing a long-term extension to spend the next, say, seven-to-10 years of your career with this team?
How about if you’re a free agent? Would the cash Ledecky and Malkin pull from their deep pockets be enough to make you overlook the buffoon-like style of management this club has employed since Hall of Famer Bill Torrey last ran the show nearly 30 years ago?
And perhaps most importantly, why would any fan, who has been led down the primrose path to nowhere more than once by past owners, spend a dime of their hard-earned money at the shiny new multi-million dollar toy in Elmont, if-and-when it ever opens?
Maybe this is all an overreaction. Maybe we shouldn’t be blaming Malkin and Ledecky. Maybe, like Wang, they were ultimately in this for one reason and one reason only—the real estate deal.
We saw Wang essentially close up shop after the demise of the Lighthouse project. With Ledecky and Malkin getting what they wanted so early in their ownership, maybe we’re seeing the same thing. Maybe they really are nothing more than absentee landlords, multi-millionaires who truly don’t care about the properties they own, so long as the checks keep coming in and the tax breaks they get keep their bank accounts flush with cash.
At this point, by their inaction, is there really any other conclusion Islander fans can come to?