It's been an inevitability for every New York Islanders GM over the last 30 years; eventually when things aren't going well, fans at the team's home arena, whether it be the Nassau Coliseum, Barclays Center or UBS Arena will chant for your removal.
The Islanders, remarkably, despite their limited organizational success over the last three decades, have only had three in-season GMs since 1995: Mike Milbury, Garth Snow, and Lou Lamoriello. Each had varying degrees of success, but when things aren't going well, the fanbase lets their feelings know in the same way.
There were "Mike Must Go" chants that spanned from the late 90s into the early 2000s. That was followed by "Snow Must Go" chants (and billboards!) during the 2017-18 season, and as recent as Tuesday night, "Fire Lou" and "Lou Must Go" were heard faintly from the UBS rafters.
“It’s silly,” Mathew Barzal told The New York Post of the chants. “That’s silly.”
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I guess,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “It’s up to them whether they want to scream from the rooftops or keep it to themselves. I don’t really care. They paid for their ticket, they wanna say what they wanna say. That’s what it is.”
Silly? Yes, but is understandable why the fans are frustrated? Also yes.
The Islanders' record stands at 5-3-3, the 13 points have them just outside the way too early playoff picture, with two games in hand on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, each with 14 points. The fans' displeasure with the on-ice products stems from a few factions. Yes, they are annoyed at how the team has failed to show up in third periods, but there's also an underlying lack of faith that the team, as constructed, is good enough to contend with the league's best teams.
The players don't feel that way.
“We know we have to be better," said defenseman Ryan Pulock.
"We know we have to win some more games. But we’re confident in this group. We know that this group can get it done. I think from management, coaching staff to players, everyone’s on the same page and everyone’s confident in what we do here.”
While the players won't point a finger at management, if their play doesn't improve over the next two games this week and heading into a four-game trip to Western Canada and Seattle, the same chants they heard faintly on Tuesday will likely be louder upon their return.