The Questions LaFontaine WSJ Writer Mike Sielski Could Not Answer About His 4/2/12 Article....

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/06/2012 10:00:00 AM | |
Our entry on Thursday discusses our efforts to gather more details on Mike Sielski's article on Pat Lafontaine, with his response that he can't get into the details of his news-gathering/reporting, citing Wall Street Journal policy.

So New York Islander Fan Central will present our questions sent to him via e-mail with some of our own background information to help try and answer.

Of course, this must start at the beginning with what was specifically requested in our e-mail.

It seems there are a lot of unanswered items in your feature that perhaps you can clarify for everyone because your subsequent radio/webcast interview also did not address any of this. The intention here is to inform our readers as a New York Islander blog with no team or media affiliation.

Many of the questions ask what you knew and when/if you were aware as a reference point for folks to follow, granted that's repetitive.

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1. Outside of one Islander centric article about John Tavares after a game against the Rangers (10/18/2011) have you covered one New York Islander game this season where Msg's team was not the opponent beyond your HU Times/WSJ feature covering the referendum announcement on 5/14/2011?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Mr Sielski's work at the Journal details many local sports, his only Islander centric coverage until 4/2/2012 all season was one singular article after his countless Ranger updates on 10/18/11 after Tavares hat-trick in a win against the Rangers.

Our Thursday entry detailed his 2011-12 seasons work at the Journal.

Mr Sielski covered the referendum announcement writing an article on 5/14/2011 HUTIMES-Wsj (Wall Street Journal) what many also will recall on 7/12/11 WSJ had an article titled " A Stadium’s Costly Legacy Throws Taxpayers for a Loss” where two different WSJ writers release a feature on the cost of the Bengals Stadium in Cincinnati, which some folks cited as a reason for voting no on the Nassau Coliseum referendum in local coverage?

The Cincinnati Bengals website on 7/13/11 issued an immediate rebuttal to the Journal.
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2. When did you speak to Mike Milbury for his opinion and Pat Lafontaine?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
I felt these were very fair question given that Mike Milbury/Pat Lafontaine are long gone from the organization, Mr Milbury has had a lot of things to address in the last year.

Unless Mr Sielski made a special trip to the Coliseum to cover an Islander game without the Rangers, the last time he was there would have been Feb 24th, where his no quote/game article appeared the next day 2/25.

The 2012 archived articles of his work at the WSJ do not reflect any other visits to the Coliseum here.
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2a Was Steve Webb contacted about this given that general manger Garth Snow had no comment?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
If Garth Snow had no comment according to Mr Sielski, it only seems prudent he would reach out to Webb as part of his research, or at least give the same answer.
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3. When did Charles Wang issue his statement to your inquiry?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
See Milbury/Lafontaine.
This story was in the WSJ a day after Mr Wang was on television.
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4. You referenced the Feb 5th 2008 game, writing the Islanders denied LaFontaine a credential for the game, Brian Burke instead provided a ticket for LaFontaine, and the two continued their meeting in a suite reserved for the Ducks' owners.

On Feb 7th 2008 a NY Times Article by Lynn Zinser reported through a spokesman that LaFontaine would have been welcome to come and sit in a suite reserved for alumni as a footnote during a game at Msg.

Were you aware of the Times article two days later and the Isles spokesman's statement before you wrote your article?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Being that he referenced this specific event I was wondering if he read the 2/7/2008 Times Article where the Isles spokesman is quoted about a box for alumni being available?

If you look at the comment section after that article in 2008 this blog asks our questions, and Ms Zinser responded.

She wondered what we wondered.
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4a. You also wrote a former team executive confirmed that LaFontaine was denied a credential to the game, would that be the Isles former media relations coordinator, and Islander sponsored blogger, Christopher Botta, who's credential was revoked in November of 2010, and when was this confirmation provided?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Given Mr Botta is very active insulting the Isles/Wang/Snow almost daily on twitter calling for critical New York Islander coverage while not covering any games, it would only be prudent to inquire if one Ranger centric writer spoke with another for the 4/2/12 article?
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5. Your article reports in September 2011, Lafontaine and former Islander Steve Webb biked 550 miles over 48 hours, from Toronto to New York, to raise money for charity. That the Islanders issued a news release on their website about the event. The release mentioned Webb, but not LaFontaine.

You article also reports the Islanders confirmed these events happened but didn't comment.

My questions would be are you aware the Isles release only covered Webb starting the trip 9/19/11? That NHL.com site reported on it 9/18/11 and them finishing on 9/21/11? Or that the Isles website did a similar release for Webb on 9/12/2010 which NHL.com also featured 9/13/2010, and the Isles website also did this on 9/9/2009 among many Islander website features on Steve Webb's charities?

Also noting the Sabres website issued a release on 9/14/2011 The Ranger website presented nothing on this which concluded in New York City?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Islanders website reported on Webb starting the trip on 9/19/11. NHL.com site reported on it 9/18/11 & NHL.com 9/21 reported on the finish.

The Sabres website issued one one release on 9/14/2011.

The Ranger website has three news articles on Pat Lafontaine and presented nothing on this event.

Isles website did a similar release for Webb on 9/12/2010. NHL.com featured that on 9/13/2010 Isles website also covered this on 9/9/2009 among many of Mr Webb's charity events.

For those who like to check NHL team website searches:
Isles website search results Pat Lafontaine 30 news, 0 image, 0 video.
Sabers website search results: 41 news, 1 image, 6 video.
Rangers website search results: 3 news, 0 image, 0 video.
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5b. Are you also aware the the Isles game recap or " Skinny " written by Msg employee, Eric Hornick, does reference Lafontaine many times in 2012 current game recaps on the Isles website because it was not in your article?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
It just seemed odd Lafontaine's name is all over game updates on the Isles website if his accomplishments are in fact being hidden/delete/removed?

That would include Sunday 4/1/12 (the day before the WSJ article) & 4/4/2012.

Lafontaine to this day is featured in Isles historical section with his picture which does not seem consistent with everything being removed from the clubs website?

Granted the (2:56) Islanders Season Opening Video 10/8/2011 does NOT show the 1987 goal, however it also contains nothing from JP Parise, or the 1975 team. Very quickly the video (43 seconds) goes straight to the first Stanley Cup in the highlights.

ITV Video Feature released 2/22/2012 shows Lafontaine's goal in their 10,000 goals in forty years (1:31) again asking the question if he is being wiped from team history what's his goal doing there in a video produced late in February of this year?

Updated:
The Isles Frozen In Time section of games also includes the Easter Epic here without the Dolan-owned telecast with Jiggs McDonald & Ed Westfall.
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6. Were you aware Lafontaine was at Al Arbour's 1500th game against Pittsburgh on Nov 3rd 2007, he was introduced to the crowd, and was on the ice with Charles Wang during the post-game ceremony despite his resignation in August 2006?

6b. Are you also aware Lafontaine was pictured with Sidney Crosby at the Nassau Coliseum March 22nd 2007?

7. Your article states after Lafontaine's resignation, he called Wang twice in 2006, once in Thanksgiving and once at Christmas, inviting him to meet for coffee, and Wang never called back, but he was obviously allowed on the Coliseum ice and seen with Crosby in the visiting team area early in 2007.

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Because none of this is even in Mr Sielski's article, and obviously all of it happened after his resignation. Even Ms Zinser was aware of it when we asked in the Times in 2008?

Getty Images dated image of Lafontaine/Crosby at the Coliseum not in an alumni box.

I think we all know Lafontaine was as Al Arbour night, and introduced without providing a link on Nov, 3rd, 2007.

Islanders website did include Lafontaine's name in their recap of that night.


(41-seconds)
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8. Were you aware Lafontaine was honored by Charles Wang after his hall of fame induction on Nov 8th 2003 in what was described as a rousing pre-game ceremony, where he specifically requested no personal gifts, or that the teams Hall of Fame began in 2006 by honoring Bob Bourne with many former dynasty players still not inducted to this day, which was only picked up again this season after Mr Wang honored the dynasty teams on many occasions to the point he was criticized for doing so?

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Long winded question---granted.
Mr Sielski brought up the Isles Hall of Fame, which began in 2006, I just provided the background of what's this owner has done.

As I wrote the other day it was unclear for this blog what Lafontaine asked for on 11/8/2003, until we did some research and found out.

This blog even found the coverage before and after with the article on Pat Lafontaine's own website which we linked to.
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9. Where you aware in Nov 2000 both Charles Wang, Charles Dolan agreed to a " Charity Challenge ", where both the Isles/Rangers season series loser would contribute to Lafontaine's charity?

(Note-Our e-mail question included the Hummer Metro Ice Challenge Dispute) but that really was after Lafontaine was out, and the Devils in.

WHY NYIFC ASKED?
Call this a throw-away question on our part, I simply wished to know if Mr Sielski was aware of both local teams effort long ago?
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Summary:
NYIFC tried to get direct answers, we were left with more questions, and gave you all the background detail that we could find.

I think these were fair questions our fans would wish to know.

Mr Sielski's career background was presented to the best of our ability with his accomplishments/awards before we wrote this on Thursday, if anything was left out, we will update our earlier entry.

Conclusion:
Charles Wang's first coach was Butch Goring. His firing, did not sit well with the alumni long ago, and now he's in the Dolan's broadcast booth calling Islander games on Dolan's Network. Denis Potvin was reportedly not happy on a few occasions, these things happen in all organizations, sooner or later they are usually resolved.

Mr Sielski's work was sloppy or selective. It took less than an hour to do the research for this entry.

When Yankee Stadium had it's closing ceremony in September 2008, Joe Torre, Roger Clemmens here and others were omitted from the clubs history.

Transparency:
I did not even know Pat Lafontaine's Companions In Courage Website was not listed on our sidebar with many former Islander players until this entry, I thought it was there already.

This blog made sure our historical upgrades this year featured included the 1987 series with Washington. Our long-standing admiration for Pat Lafontaine's career, his incredible charitable efforts over the years transcend hockey, and are an example to everyone.

Good luck finding Jiggs McDonald/Ed Westfall Islander call of the 1987 Easter Epic from the Dolan's archives of New York Islander hockey. McDonald is in one internet video doing the narration for another outlet here.

Our past archives have always featured Pat Lafontaine. I was in Maple Leaf Gardens
on Mar 3, 1984, the night he had a hat-trick against Alan Bester in an 11-6 win.

Thanks for reading.

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