Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
"Manic depressive disorder, causes dramatic shifts in mood, energy level and behavior. The signs of manic depressive disorder vary widely in their severity and frequency. In general, manic depressive people experience three different mood episodes: mania, depression, and a mixed state of the two. The symptoms vary depending on the mood."
The New York Islanders failed to make the necessary move to secure a good return for Thomas Vanek yesterday at the National Hockey League’s annual trade deadline.
For a team that is slipping towards a bottom three draft pick in the upcoming 2014 draft faster than Lindsay Lohan in a rehabilitation clinic, there could have been nothing worse. While players such as Marian Gaborik and Matt Moulson were moved without returning the coveted first round draft choice some initially saw as minimum payment for Vanek, it is also clear the return those players brought their clubs was better than a conditional 2nd rounder and Sebastian Collberg.
The fanbase, frustrated for so long with the seemingly mis-managed and beleaguered franchise, certainly did not get any help from a public relations angle when just about every mainstream media outlet took the opportunity to pile on yesterday and offer their view on how bad the Islanders situation is. From TSN calling them a ‘tire-fire’ to News12 Long Island salivating at the mouth for an opportunity to pile on, it looked like general manager Garth Snow was the only loser on this day.
But nobody was talking about how the Calgary Flames could not unload Mike Cammalleri, who they will almost certainly lose at the end of the season for nothing. Or how the Vancouver Canucks dangled Ryan Kesler at the mercy of the entire league after inexplicably trading Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers and leaving them with Eddie Lack during a playoff push.
I know that does not do much to ease the minds of a fanbase that has had to endure so much pain and heartache over the course of the last 15 years while the organization struggles to recover from the ‘Milbury Chronicles’ and crawl their way back to respectability. And winning does cure all, which we know the Islanders have not done much of over that time frame either.
You could easily sit back and blame Snow for what transpired yesterday, only a day removed from getting a good return on soon to be unrestricted free agent Andrew MacDonald, who he unloaded to the Philadelphia Flyers. And you might be totally justified in your thinking. The social media world is quick to unload information on many a hockey fan and then run and hide for cover, leaving us to pick up the remaining pieces. There really is no need to continue to stoke the flames of dissent by attacking your fellow fan or local beat writer, who happens to do a fantastic job in getting relevant Islanders information out to the public. For his job is not to expose, but to report. And there is a distinct difference between the two.
But to chastise Snow is to also ignore the job he has done in rebuilding a farm system that was not only on fire, but burnt and disintegrated into the ground. Many hockey experts believe the Islanders have one of the deepest and best prospect pools in the entire league and that is all because of……Garth Snow (and yes, I am excluding the drafting of John Tavares, which as we all know, my golden retriever, Jake, could have made).
When word came out from Arthur Staple of Newsday on the dump and chase podcast that the Islanders were reluctant to retain some of Vanek’s salary to help push a deal along, it becomes even more clear that maybe his hands were so tied that even MacGyver would have not been able to cut him loose.
Hindsight is 20/20 and even if you look back, not many can criticize the deal originally made for Vanek in which the Islanders gave up Matt Moulson and two draft choices (one a conditional first round pick). The trade market, at that time in the season, is always more expensive than normal coming in second only to, you guessed it, deadline day. The summer is really the only time when trades seem to happen for fair market value.
New York saw Moulson as a declining asset who they had no interest in re-signing to a sure to be >5mm contract over 5 years, based on current NHL economic conditions and comparables. They got a player who was much more skilled and fit right into a first line with Tavares and Kyle Okposo, lifting the trio to league leading offensive numbers over a seven week stretch.
The ‘reported’ contract offer to Vanek of 7 years, 50mm was debated and debunked by more than one source, who place the ‘real’ offer in the realm of 7/60. Snow did what he could to get Vanek to sign but was rebuffed by a players willingness to test out the unrestricted free agent market for the first and only time in his career, a chance to move back to his wife’s hometown of Minnesota and a bevy of injuries and lackluster, unexpected offensive performances that led the Islanders to struggle to win hockey games.
Should Snow be given a pass for what transpired yesterday? That is for you to decide. My first inclination is to say this. Blame him for not acquiring a legitimate starting goaltender over the summer. Blame him for not adequately stocking depth on the blue-line capable of dealing with injuries after the departure of Mark Streit. Blame him (debatable) for the over-evaulation of talent expected to provide secondary scoring.
But, operating under a publicly known shoestring budget, is it accurate and fair to blame him for swinging and missing yesterday? Snow will not be the first or last general manager to have this happen. And what would the reaction been if he had gotten nothing for Vanek…….at all.
Just like I won’t blame Rick DiPietro for signing a 15 year deal that was presented TO HIM, I will not blame Snow for accepting a job OFFERED TO HIM and trying his best to ‘learn as he goes’.
There is nothing that could convince me to believe some of the backlash like ‘He doesn’t care about winning’ or ‘he was sitting on his hands yesterday doing nothing’.
At the end of the day, it is what it is. The Islanders did not do well yesterday and some would even argue they took the biggest loss out of all 30 NHL teams, even the ones who sat back and did nothing. All we can do now is look to the future once again, see the continued development of Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, Calvin de Haan and be excited at the return of Matt Donovan and Mike Halmo.
Why? Because you just have to ask yourself…Is is better to laugh or cry?….. Smile or Frown? It takes up so much energy to be angry, miserable and upset all the time.
Maybe I am missing the true definition of fandom. But to me, I still have to wake up and go to work every morning to pay my mortgage and put food on the table for my wife and kids. And nothing the Islanders do or don’t do, changes that.
Sure I want them to win every game and cover a team that goes deep into the playoffs. That would be a dream come true for a fan of 35 years who has now turned that into this kind of access by uncovering a hidden (or perhaps, ignored) talent. But if it doesn’t happen, does my life change all that much? For the worse? I would have to say no and doubt I even get an argument.