After suffering from severe writers' block, and not being able to think about anything to write about regarding the New York Islanders for a couple weeks—other than another article on John Tavares—I finally found something last night to write about.
I was reading some articles on SI.com, and I came across an article that ranks the five best and worst owners in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. When I looked at the NHL's list, Charles Wang came up as the third-worst owner in the NHL.
I think this is absolutely ludicrious. I'm not saying this because I am a diehard Islander fan, because at the same time I would not rank Wang as a top-five owner in the league.
I know Wang has his faults. There have been times when he should have stayed out of the hockey operations because of his lack of knowledge on the game. He fired Neil Smith after just 45 days on the job, and he signed goalie Rick DiPietro to a record 15-year deal.
Despite some of Wang's faults, though, let me make this clear: The New York Islanders would NO LONGER be on Long Island if Wang did not buy this team back in 2000.
Wang has lost the shirt off his back, losing $25 million a year trying to keep this team afloat while he fights the Town of Hempstead to get his Lighthouse Project approved.
There was no one else who would have came in and bought the team, and be able to absorb such a loss every year, while keeping the team on Long Island.
Wang also has made the Islanders a very fan-friendly team. They've had open houses where fans can come to listen to G.M. Garth Snow and other people in the front office talk about the state of the team and what they plan to do as far as getting the Isles back to being a contending team.
They've also offered a variety of affordable ticket packages, and they've had a handful of afternoon games the last few years that have become a hit with families with young children.
The article also gives reasons for ranking Wang the third-worst owner in the NHL that are not true. The article says that The Isles have been in in a perpetual rebuilding mode since Wang took over. The Isles have not been in a rebuilding mode since Wang took over in 2000 because of Wang.
They have seemed to be in a rebuilding mode for so long because former GM Mike Milbury severely damaged the franchise by trading away prospects before allowing them to fully develop. Then poor drafting by Milbury in his final few years as GM left the team with no big name prospects in the system.
The only blame Wang gets here is for not firing Milbury sooner.
The article also says that Wang is threatening to move the team to Kansas City if the Lighthouse Project is not approved. This is news to me. All Wang has been trying to do is get his Lighthouse Project approved.
Now, when Wang has been asked what happens if there is still no agreement on the Lighthouse by Wang's deadline of October 2009, all he has said is that he will explore other options. This would include selling the team, or moving the team to Queens, Brooklyn, or Kansas City. He has never actually said he would move the team to Kansas City.
I think it was very unfair to put Wang among the five-worst owners in the NHL when he has done a lot of good for the team.
Like I said earlier, I would not put Wang in the top-five owners in the league, but he is definitely better than being placed in the bottom five owners in the league.
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