New York Islanders: A Team Destined for Perpetual Mediocrity?


The question on every New York Islanders fan’s mind isn’t necessarily a question at all, but a stark reality. One that has hovered over the organization for, it seems, an eternity.

I have never understood, for the life of me, why a team that saw such wonderful days 20 to 30 years ago is incapable of building a road back to said glory. Moreover, the Islanders have become one of many ‘whipping boys’ or ‘punchlines’ for the NHL, other teams, and reporters. Granted, there’s been very little to cheer about aside from John Tavares‘s talent and massive potential, which may be traded away one day if things go sour in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, when I was growing up Islanders fans were abound; now I’m stuck hearing Rangers fans talking smack about how there’s only one team in New York, blah blah. THE ISLANDERS WON FOUR STANLEY CUPS! Four consecutive cups at that? I just don’t get it.

Then there’s the albatross around Wang’s neck in the form of beleaguered/battled/bruised Rick DiPietro, whose luck (and play) with the Islanders reminds me so much of Bobby Bonilla and the Mets (his failure to live up to even an inch of the money dished out, etc.) without all the smugness. I remember back when Billy Smith was still a part of the Islanders coaching/advisory team, and unfortunately I cannot quote the exact source where I read (or heard?) but he went on record to say that the Islanders were making a big mistake bringing up DiPietro at the time they did and it would cost them big in the long run–even hurt his career. As Smith explained, he felt DiPietro would overcompensate in areas where his talent was underdeveloped, causing for unnecessary injuries and miscues that would cost the team goals.

Whatever the case, my “Stanley Cup” this year, in all honesty and with as much ‘sobriety’ as I can muster, will come in the form of being at least a few games above .500. OR, at the most, a formidable opponent, the likes of which will NOT be blown out night in night out.

Here’s what Adrain Dater from Inside the NHL at  si.com had to say about them:

Geez, you just want to say some nice things  about this team and its near-term future. But you just can’t quite do it. John  Tavares proved last year that he’s an elite scorer, but there just isn’t enough  talent around him to get too excited about the Isles. How long before goalie  Rick DiPietro goes back on the injured list, too?  

 http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nhl/news/20130109/nhl-preseason-power-rankings/#ixzz2Hs4mYjBF]

Annoying doesn’t even cover such a report, but more so because it’s true rather than simple trash talk. I would rather have a scrappy team that gives everyone a fight, rather than bottom-feeders that everyone points to and laughs, or some semblance of the 1994 New York Rangers, who with all due respect, were nothing more than the New York Oilers.

The Islanders have a chance to pave a way out of mediocrity, both on and off the ice, if and only if they’re vigiliant and disciplined and intelligent.  Now let’s drop the puck.

–RD

@eyesonisles

Tags: AHL Featured Garth Snow Islanders John Tavares New York Islanders New York Rangers NHL Popular Rick DiPietro

  • newyorkislanderfancentral

    Problem with you is kind of like the problem with Avs salesman Dater, who’s always had issues with the Isles. You are far too willing to take one paragraph as gospel from someone who cannot name five Islanders and works off the 90′s play book (ignoring four playoffs in five years) because these outlets are broke and cannot afford to cover their primary team short of hyping them but have to slap together a paragraph about every team for their paycheck. The Islanders do not have a home media they have Cablevision which means glass is kept half filled.

    • Rich Diaz

      Actually I agree with you, but I don’t think I was taking anything as Gospel more than I was expressing frustration at the lack of respect a team/franchise like the Islanders gets year after year.
      Honestly, the part about not naming Islanders…that’s true of lots of critics. I assure you that I’m not one of ‘em. And for Cablevision…yep, it sucks.

      • Rich Diaz

        Case in point, brother:
        “Annoying doesn’t even cover such a report, but more so because it’s true rather than simple trash talk. I would rather have a scrappy team that gives everyone a fight, rather than bottom-feeders that everyone points to and laughs, or some semblance of the 1994 New York Rangers, who with all due respect, were nothing more than the New York Oilers.”

        I’ve been an Isles fan since 1979, watching games on WHT. And I hate the lack of respect this organization gets. But, I say again, the Isles give Dater and his likes the bullets to shoot them down, money, Cablevision, et al notwithstanding.

        I just want a solid, CONSISTENT, scrappy team is all. Take care.

      • Rich Diaz

        Case in point, brother:
        “Annoying doesn’t even cover such a report, but more so because it’s true rather than simple trash talk. I would rather have a scrappy team that gives everyone a fight, rather than bottom-feeders that everyone points to and laughs, or some semblance of the 1994 New York Rangers, who with all due respect, were nothing more than the New York Oilers.”

        I’ve been an Isles fan since 1979, watching games on WHT. And I hate the lack of respect this organization gets. But, I say again, the Isles give Dater and his likes the bullets to shoot them down, money, Cablevision, et al notwithstanding.

        I just want a solid, CONSISTENT, scrappy team is all. Take care.

        • newyorkislanderfancentral

          I watched the Isles since 1974, then road games on Ch 9, WHT and saw the back-pages daily for this team when hockey was never more popular here. (unlike hockey now in NYC) Dater’s outlet has no money like all of them, they work off the last time they could spend on coverage which is the Milbury 90′s playbook or something like DiPietro’s injury which is all they know or care to learn. Espn covers markets, not teams so they must sell those markets for their ad $$$$$$. Al Morganti used to praise the Isles a lot but most markets have media salesman to sell their product in a positive light. Tim Panaccio sells Ed Snider’s Flyers, Brooks sells Cablevision Rangers, Pat Hickey sells the laughingstock Canadians in a positive light or the Gazette finds someone who will and same with Little Ceasars/Amway Wings in Detroit. Newsday is Dolan’s toy stacked with die-hard Ranger fans (Staple, Zipay, Best, Herrmann) who will tell the Isles story in a negative light above all. The Times, News are broke and won’t spend money on Isles or Devils coverage most games win or lose….Take Care.

          • Rich Diaz

            How true. How true, sir. Here’s to always hoping the Islanders turn it around.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral

        My point is how quickly you were willing to agree with Dater instead of challenge his poor journalism. The New York Islanders do not have the laughingstock Knicks with their one playoff win in a decade (less than Isles) propaganda machine via Cablevision owned Newsday/Msg that will have local media sell the club in a positive light for their ad budgets unlike the Isles/Devils who will be hidden as Dolan’s competition because of the cable contracts that overpay to hide/limit them. Reality is the few old hockey die-hards in NYC media always have a little resentment toward the Islanders and Devils success. Jeff Klein, Hackel, Brooks. (Isles 1980 Post part-timer)

        • Rich Diaz

          No, no I agree. I was using Dater (apparently poorly as I now see) as a jumping off point regarding my frustration with the manner in which the Isles are painted. Your last post brings up obvious points about said disrespect and underexposure.
          Whatever the case, I’m hoping Brooklyn will somehow make things better, but I know that the Isles will still be under the thumb of said culprits.
          If you’re a blogger let me know where so I can follow you. Otherwise, hope to hear more from you in the future.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZCPJ5SDXGVWWKXLQYCCLXGIUW4 Claven

    It all comes down to a horrible ownership and incompetent management. For more than the last 25 years it has been proven that those at the top are the driving force at the success and failure of a franchise. Just see how long before Bill Wirtz passed away that the Chicago Blackhawks went from mediocre to finally winning the Cup. During the Dynasty Years the ownership was not great, but the management and coaching was legendary. The NHL economic model was also very different at that time.

    When Wang was brought in, being the Computer Associates CEO, I even thought things would finally turn around. Strong Long Island roots, a major company, and successful businessman, would finally bring a strong base, bring in good hockey people, with lots of money, to finally spend on a winner. Boy was I wrong. He wound up making it worse by not understanding the nature of a sports franchise. He thought because he was the owner, like his previous empire, that he could do what he wanted, without any repercussions from his customers.

    The difference between the Islanders and Computer Associates is that people have a vested personal interest with the Islanders. Emotional bonds that go to the very souls of many diehard fans. The mind boggling repeated idiocy of this regime, makes one think that this can’t possibly be real. “Where are the cameras?”

    The sad truth, painfully, it is all too real. Brooklyn in 2015 is a positive step in the right direction, but much more needs to occur. Charles Wang needs to sell this team to Russian mega-billionaire and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. He then needs to clean house of all management and coaching. First hire Brian Burke as GM. Then hire Jon Cooper (aka the next Peter Laviolette) as head coach. Keep the solid core of the team and find people who can properly develop that talent. Then and only then will the New York Islanders cease to be a “perpetual team of mediocrity”.

    • newyorkislanderfancentral

      The sad painful truth is this owner spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the team, renovate a building he did not own many times, spend hundreds of millions more on players, save this teams AHL affiliate and from Hamrlik to Reinhart has been spending on players since day one of his ownership.

      And what happened? Isles went to four playoffs in five years before they lost most man games to injury three out of four years.

      How did fans react when the payroll went up and he raised ticket prices after 2002 playoffs? (like 29 other owners do) People refused to go.

      That does not include the 20m for the Lighthouse or the time effort for that and the absurd Mangano referendum. This is not a game of how much money he can throw away on hundred million dollars players front-loaded while Nassau demands a free building they would own with fans asking for 70m dollar payrolls at 1973 ticket prices while every other local team got a check from the taxpayers for new buildings.

      Meanwhile Wang flew in kids five years running from around the World for the Lighthouse Tournament and housed them. He’s out there in blizzards handing out hats in Dec 2003 to 3,000 fans.

      The other truth you fail to acknowledge is this man has owned this franchise since Feb 2000 and from Peca to Osgood to Tavares to Hunter, Witt to Nielsen-Nabokov it seems everyone here does nothing but praise the owner and resigns or wants to be resigned which is a reflection of how things are behind the scenes because everyone sure seems to like being here.

      What he does not do is front-load, that’s why he cannot sign free agents, given he does not get a check like other local teams they make offers where they can.

      Let’s get Brian Burke in here or Sather so we can have Redden instead of Streit, or make a nice Kessel trade instead of Moulson, or Grabner. Snow’s done a good job, he’s had some rotten luck with injuries which is a big part of the story.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202898860 Cliff Neill

        Wang was just the latest chapter of incompetent and apathetic ownership. This has been going on for more than the last 2 decades. Is he a nice man to the players? I’m sure. Did he spend some money when he first got here? Yes. But not wisely. His inability to recognize that Mike Milbury was the worst GM in sports history, has been a major reason for most of their problems on the ice. How about his grand plan to corner the Chinese talent market? Brilliant. The insults to the fans by telling them to”get a life” when they ask about the team. He came in with no hockey knowledge and still doesn’t get it. How many years of being a cellar dweller does one have to experience before they figure maybe something is wrong. It’s fine to be a fan and loyal but when the team you put your loyalty behind seems to have no interest in taking the right steps to make the franchise successful, and still keeps raising prices, one has to question the direction the team is being taken. Being a fan does not just close one’s eyes to the problems no matter what. It’s because we do love the team and see those who are supposed to be the guardians of the team that we love, are mistreating the team to such a point that they are now the biggest joke in all of professional sports, something has to be said. As for Snow, the only talent he seems to have is being able to find guys that have been given up too early on by other teams. His drafting has been terrible. He was the retiring backup goalie and was named GM, 1 month after a real GM had just been hired! Who does that? Charles Wang that’s who. Pat LaFontaine the special adviser, resigns knowing what they did was atrocious, and now he is persona non grata at the arena. A Hall of Fame player with team roots, has been “excommunicated” by Lord Charles so much so that they try to intentionally erase him from the history books. The known corporate culture there is one must always agree with Emperor Charles or they will be in big trouble. Apparently something he brought with him from CA. No matter how wrong they might be. Completely dysfunctional and incompetent is not a good environment for success. Please keep being a fan but please start understanding they are the reason for the team’s lack of success and they should be held accountable. The team also has no ability to develop talent. How many players that were drafted here that went on to great careers AFTER they left this team? There is so much more that I can go on with but this is too long as it is. I have been a fan since 1980 just after the Miracle on Ice when I was 8 and these last 25 plus years have been mind boggling and painful beyond description. It has to stop, NOW.

        • newyorkislanderfancentral

          Forgive me Charles Wang spending when he got here led to four playoffs in five years, when Milbury had his first losing season under Wang (not counting year one) he resigned.

          Perhaps you be a little less trusting of Ranger fan/non Islander reporter Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal (via Botta agenda) regarding Pat Lafontaine because he was erased from nothing on the Isles website, in fact Wang honored him 11/8/2003 and his goal was posted in a team video 2/22/12 one month before Sielski’s selective hitjob along with Eric Hornick’s game recaps in 2012 before and after Sielski’s hitjob on the Isles website which is there right now along with Lafontaine’s team records, profile and him being announced at Arbour night after he resigned.

          Bob Clark was a gm directly off the ice for Philadelphia for over 20 years…The Garth Snow Islanders have been the poster child for man games lost to injury, meanwhile his draft has been very solid and smarter than the Filatov crowd in 2008, adding Hamonic in a great trade with Toronto, also with solid work in identifying talent around the league.

          I’m sorry you demand this owner be the only one to give you 1970 ticket prices with a 2013 payroll while he was the only local owner not to get taxpayer money for a new or renovated building. And please stop playing the playoff series win card, for the New York Islanders winning the Cup is the standard, so if they won game seven in Toronto it’s not symbol of anything.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1202898860 Cliff Neill

            What did that have anything to do with what I wrote about?

  • Michael Balboa

    Isles looking like 2013 could be a good hockey year – at least much better than most expect..I think the SI Power rank of 3rd from last massively underrates them..They have some great youth chemistry which is mixing and maturing like a fine wine and with Capuano providing some great leadership I think the Isles will make the playoffs this year and lets see if that can be a springboard… Go Isles!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Both/731742938 Bill Both

    Dater is useless. Ignore him. Isles have question marks this year. Will Lubomir or won’t he? Can Nabby play a solid 35-40 and will Poulin be equaly solid when RDP goes down? Will Stromer stick and is he eady to step in as second line center? Can Boyes regain his old form? Grabs, Ox, Reasoner and Streiter also can produce more. If everything breaks right, Isles can make the playoffs. Long term I can see them returning to their former glory and forget about JT being traded. Won’t happen.

    • Rich Diaz

      Agreed. I say a sweep this ‘weekend’ at home makes me a believer. For last night’s scrimmage gave me some doubts…enough to be a bit cynical. Still love these guys though.

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