Garth Snow/several members of the organization made it clear over the summer, it's time for this franchise to start winning, that there cannot be any excuses to be back in the top tier of the entry draft next June.
They will not be given a pass in this entry.
The injuries to Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit do not change that. Eight defenders are here with one way contracts, Okposo has been out before and had a twenty goal scoring drought last season, at this stage of his career he is not a franchise offensive star.
The very brief preseason schedule cannot change anything. Every team has a few days off to prepare, the Islanders have five days to finalize their lineup before Saturday.
Garth Snow made his inquiry on Kovalchuk over the summer, this indicates he did not add what he felt his roster needed. At this time he still has not traded for or signed a scoring winger. Instead a player with six goals and fourteen points as late as 2/10 is on one wing (Blake Comeau) with twenty year old John Tavares, the other features a current choice of a player with a one-way contract, who has cleared waivers before in PA Parenteau, or Nino Niederreiter, who was not even kept in New York for the final preseason game, and is trying to make the NHL almost a year earlier than John Tavares did.
Seems like there is a big hole here that has gotten bigger since the summer.
The recent past indicates Trent Hunter is not the player to fill that spot. Another season with Jon Sim in the top six, or even a healthy Doug Weight is not any kind of answer and indicates a failure in development.
Management has spoken, Joensuu, Figren, DiBenedetto, Marcinko and Rhett Rakhshani are in Bridgeport. Matt Martin is injured/still here, but does not seem to possess top six ability based on last season in Bridgeport.
Asking for one player to break into a top line role in Comeau, who did not have a good 82 game season is asking a lot. Asking for Parenteau to step into a first line role out of the AHL seems to be asking for too much.
Can it work? Anything can work.
Is this the progress that management said must happen this summer? I don't see it based on those changes. PA Parenteau is not the NHL's best kept secret, even if he turns into the next Matt Moulson. Comeau was being benched so Trevor Gillies could play three minutes deep into last season.
Bottom line this is not the middle of the season, where it's tougher to replace players. Garth Snow has had time to plan his roster. The loss of Okposo and Streit are huge, but they cannot be the excuse that ends this season.
The general manager should be smart and patient, but the time will likely come where he has to act, he cannot be given any excuses.
New York has the worst hockey media in North America.
The little professional coverage from outside markets will be brutal for the most part, with a lot of bias based on ignorance/or other items, from people who do not follow the team on a regular basis or stuck in the late 90's.
Seems more than a few are still a little bitter about the 80's as well.
It's not going to get much worse beyond non-coverage or articles out of nowhere bashing the club. We all know the deal with Cablevision in terms of television/newspaper coverage which is nothing less than an insult because they have to sell Cablevision's hockey team which has only hurt hockey and their own product.
Islander management's LI campaign is also giving many a reason to not cover the club, practically spamming it into every release.
Only thing that is relevant are the quotes of the players/management, hopefully the club utilizes it's one true resource and stays ahead of the limited media by breaking their own news.
Sadly, some of that media coverage also comes from those with a vested interesting in selling the teams they cover to the public via their editors. Hence those who would blame Nino Niederreiter for being sticked to the face, then slashed from behind by Michael Cammalleri of the Canadians need to take off the Canadians jersey or go find a seat in the stands and stop pretending to be professional about anything.
I cannot waste my effort's speculating on the Colin Campbell double-standard of punishment.
For those who are scoring the salary cap at home, Garth Snow did not have to sign Mike Mottau and give him a two-year contract to reach the cap floor, he has a lot of defenders who could have filled this spot. This was a club where Dylan Reese saw a month of NHL action a year ago.
Many contracts in this league have bonus money in deals for incentives. John Tavares, Okposo, Bailey, and other prospects signed here were given max entry-level contracts, and had to be given bonus incentives.
The NHL is not about what corporation can lose the most money as teams buy out or demote their mistakes or place them on waivers to eliminate the salary cap hit, as they approach seventy million plus in money invested on total payroll. The NHL is also not about what franchise can front-load the most contracts.
Chicago was bleeding red ink last season, their owner is on record for how he had to use his corporations money to offset the losses/front-loaded contracts.
Items like this are what drove the league into a lockout, many teams well below forty million pre-lockout are over fifty million now.
Granted in hockey's smallest big media market, competing with hundred million dollar baseball teams/two NJ football teams called New York, it only makes things more impossible for New York hockey to be reported accurately.
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