The New York Islanders have just two wins in their last 12 games, and both Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin’s silence continues to provoke an irate fanbase.
Everything was going swimmingly for Jon Ledecky the New York Islanders.
The Islanders announced their Belmont Arena deal as the team was in a heated battle in the Metropolitan Division standings. They had also figured out their future with plans to split time between the Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum in the years before Belmont.
Everyone was in good spirits, and things were going fairly well for the Islanders and their fans. The conversation piece was that with some retooling defensively, they could challenge for the division.
Forty-nine games later, the narrative has shifted to the point that Isles fans are talking about Rasmus Dahlin, the projected number-one overall pick for this year’s draft. To quote Brian Compton in the IslesSeat podcast’s latest episode: “It’s just sad.”
The Islanders 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday was yet another brutal display of a team that has quite obviously thrown in the towel. The Islanders started their ‘big run’ last week, and have won just two games in their last twelve tries. Anders Lee’s comments to Andrew Gross of Newsday shed light on what the mood of the locker room must be like at this point in the season:
“I think it’s been some of the worst,” Lee said of the Islanders’ mounting losses. “It’s so frustrating what we’ve gone through. We keep trying to right the ship. We haven’t been able to find our way. We kind of lost our mojo this second half of the season. Unfortunately, it just tumbled out of control.”
Though a 4-1 win over the defending cup champions came as a breath of fresh air on Tuesday night, it’s too little, too late for the “World Class” organization Islander fans were promised under the reign of Ledecky and Scott Malkin.
Since taking over as the Islanders majority owner, Ledecky has cemented himself as the face of the ownership group. Both him and Malkin made the promise to Islanders fans that they were going to transform the Islanders into a “World Class” organization, capable of attracting the NHL’s best free agents and most importantly, putting a winning product on the ice in search of their fifth ring.
It will be two years since the duo has taken majority ownership of the Islanders this June, and in those two years, the Islanders have yet to make a playoff appearance. The 2016-17 season saw a frantic search begin almost immediately for a Team President to relieve Garth Snow of that responsibility (for the record, Garth Snow has three titles with the New York Islanders: Team President, General Manager, and Alternate Governor).
For the first few months, the headlines all revolved around who Ledecky was wining & dining, it seemed that he had been picking the brains of everyone who was anyone in the hockey world on feedback for how to proceed. Then, just as quickly as it started, the search seemed to be over.
Ledecky can be found at most Islanders home games. He’s typically smiling and shaking the hands of fans he meets on the LIRR, throughout the arena and even in other arenas like his visit to the BB&T Center earlier this season.
Despite his excellent PR and one-on-one interactions with fans, the charasmatic owner has nothing concrete to say regarding his team’s performance, any evaluations in the front-office, or whatever happened during his search for a new Team President. Allan Kreda of The New York Times wrote a piece about Ledecky & Malkin in 2016 a little under a month after they took control of the Islanders, in this is an interesting quote from Mr. Ledecky:
“If the fans aren’t happy, they aren’t going to come,” said Ledecky, a former minority owner of the Washington Capitals who purchased the Islanders with Malkin in 2014 from Charles Wang. “Successful franchises have this connection with their fan base. They listen and they try to make improvements. They don’t pay lip service.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? To be fair to Ledecky, he has made himself accessible during games, but with that said why then has he not publicly come out and made a statement yet? Things have gone from bad to worse very quickly for the 2017-18 Islanders, and now the fanbase made a vocal statement regarding their opinion of the Isles front-office.
The perpetual silence could be the tell of an owner who is very aware of the dismal situation his product has been placed in—and everyone around the Islanders knows just how important this season was. Give ownership a big ‘W’ for the work leading to the Belmont deal, but everything since has been all smoke and mirrors.
Inevitably, the silence will have to be broken at some point within the next few months. Either John Tavares re-ups or leaves, and until that time comes it seems Ledecky will continue to blanket himself from the media.