The Deke Squad – Issue No. 5: Tavares Early Season Exit, Garth Snow’s Comments, & the “Oshie Rule”

By Rich Dias-Rodrigues
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Aug 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Islanders general manager

Garth Snow

speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Two outdoor regular-season NHL games will be played at Yankee Stadium during the 2013-14 season as part of the 2014 Stadium Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Following John Tavares’ season-ending injury in Sochi, Islanders GM Garth Snow had some scathing words aimed towards the IIHF and IOC. Snow’s words are as follows:

"“Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season ticket holders now? It’s a joke. They want all the benefits from NHL players in Olympics and don’t want to pay when our best player gets hurt. It wouldn’t matter if we were 10 points up on a playoff spot or 10 points out. We lost our best player and he wasn’t playing for us.”"

Were Snow’s comments justified? What are your thoughts towards Snow’s handling of the situation?

CT: Do I think Snow’s comments are justified? Yes, I do, but here’s the thing. I understand getting upset about your star player getting injured; however, wasn’t it Snow who also took to Team USA for snubbing Kyle Okposo? You can’t have it both ways.

Every team knows the risk of sending its players to the Olympics. While some might feel that NHL players shouldn’t be playing in the Games, it’s currently permitted, and that’s that.

Also, let’s leave the season-ticket holder thing out of it for now…..

I get what he’s saying, though. Rich?

RDR: I cannot quite comprehend why people are taking Snow’s words so adversely. He’s defending the Islanders’ franchise player, and players like him. What’s even more compelling is the comment comes from a former Olympian himself. So there’s more to what he’s saying than just that he’s ostracizing the remaining Isles players in that locker room.

I know you’ve read the harsh critique from in and around Isles country, accusing Snow of singling out one player and, thus, alienating the rest of the team. That basically the Islanders are made of one player and that’s JT. And that whole crack about the season-ticket holders, etc.

Guess what: HE’S RIGHT!

What, now that Garth Snow calls out the team, the rest of us are going to back-peddle? I, for one, defend Snow here outright. This team has played horrifically, and Snow’s stuck to his guns and kept out and off the radar.  And please don’t tell me that Snow is a bad GM because he didn’t spend Wang’s entire warchest on this player or that. Please pay yourself the respect of not sounding naive about the workings of NHL contracts and transactions. It’s never that easy.

I’m glad he stood up and spoke up for Tavares, if you will. Maybe not spoke up, but at the most, gives us all a sense of what really goes on behind these commitments such as the Olympics present.

Like I said earlier, I do not want to see professionals playing these venues at all. It’s a pride thing and glory thing. Sorry, boys. You’ve signed a contract and that means a commitment that requires some serious sacrifice.

But do I think Snow handled himself poorly? No way. What, are we all going to forget Josh Bailey‘s terrible play this year? Or that Michael Grabner was all but invisible? Or that the Isles defensive core was all about decimated? Or that Snow lured Thomas Vanek here? And what if Tavares is out for more than a few months? Huh? What if he’s never the same again? (I don’t even want to think about it.)

Look, I’ll be honest: are you paying to see Bailey ride the bench or not score, or to see one of the best players in all of hockey in John Tavares?  Tell me? Seriously?

Sorry, if the locker room is offended, then they need to step it up.

I’ve defended the boys and will continue to do so. And I believe I’ve been fair with regards to Snow. In this case, I can’t say that what was said was all that “wrong” and I won’t say that it was entirely “right.”

But I completely understand it in the end.