GM Garth Snow's Gamble Backfired Miserably
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Charles Wang Can Recoup A Decade Worth Of Financial Loss With One Fat Check. He'd Be Stupid Not To Sell.
Recent reports suggest that Islanders owner Charles Wang, who has lost countless millions of dollars keeping the Islanders afloat for the last decade, is open to selling a majority stake in the team. The timing of this scuttlebutt seems odd. Why now?
Yet, the news is still reasonable to believe. Although the shift to Brooklyn is still a full season away, there is little doubt the move will greatly improve the team's overall situation. However, in signing a 25-year lease, the Islanders will continue playing as tenants in someone else's building.
There's the rub.
While Charles Wang might have indeed brokered a deal to ensure the continued operation of the Islanders by relocating them, I believe the move to Brooklyn only enhances Charles Wang's personal net gain by a marginal value.
His proposals to pay for, and construct the Lighthouse Project in Long Island were put down long ago, first by the local legislature, then reaffirmed by a vote of local taxpayers. Now, with Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark having secured the deal to renovate Nassau Coliseum, Charles Wang's window of opportunity to build his own arena within the greater metropolitan area has officially passed.
In fact, when you consider the Nets and Devils no longer play at IZod Center, and after next season Nassau Coliseum will become empty, there's already a glut of unsuitable arenas. Mr. Wang now has every businessman's reason to excuse himself from the local sports scene.
Even after having gained a measure of resolution with the move to Brooklyn, Charles Wang nevertheless apparently seems done with a very lengthy ordeal.
The situation on the ice has additionally taken another step back. This year's regular season's results may have even hasted Mr Wang's willingness to entertain such an exit. Therefore, why not sell, and recoup a decade worth of losses with one easy transaction?
In any event, the time to hold people accountable is at hand.
Over the previous two seasons, Long Island sported the best forward line of all three local area teams. Last year, they were one of the top scoring teams within the division, and nearly toppled the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. This year, the team has suffered a precipitous fall, and certainly not because of Coach Capuano.
Garth Snow's gamble to trade Matt Moulson and a pair a draft picks to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek is partly to blame, and wound up backfiring on the GM in the worst way imaginable. The net result - Isles have no Moulson, no Vanek, and are minus a #1 pick in the next draft. What Garth Snow needed to address was a suspect defense, and upgrading the goal tending situation. He instead, depleted his resources, and compromised the short term fortunes of the club.
Hiring Garth Snow, who lacked any practical experience as a front office executive, was a worthwhile experiment. I'm not out to lambaste a risky appointment, but merely suggest, it is time for the Islanders to broaden their horizons, and seek out a more experienced, and savvy general manager.
In the broader picture, Garth Snow was merely Charles Wang's latest attempt at trying to recover what is increasingly looking like an unrecoverable operation. I find no fault with either man. A combination of the still lingering wreckage left behind by Mike Milbury operating under destructive ownership, a fast deteriorating and out of date arena, and the political situation in Long Island have conspired against Mr. Wang's efforts for a decade.
A fresh approach may indeed be in order for the Islanders sake. Perhaps the move to Brooklyn should be accompanied by an entirely new slate of ownership and front office personnel, who can approach hockey operations with the advantage of being once removed from the organizational meltdown Charles Wang was left to rebuild.
When you get to the heart of the matter, this has been a fruitless process for him.