Scott Gordon Brings Less "Flash" and More "Faith" to the New York Islanders

Dee KarlSenior Analyst IAugust 14, 2008

Tonight is just more proof that I'm far from being a real "journalist."
I can't work on deadline to save my life. It's now 7:52 pm, and I'm just sitting down to write this.
Some times I wonder why I—or any of us—write what was said, because ITV always has the entire interview posted online within hours. So you can hear and see exactly what Scott Gordon had to say at this press conference, even though you can't hear what is being asked of him by the reporters.

He seemed genuinely grateful for this opportunity—but as I said earlier, a little overwhelmed. He definitely doesn't strike me as "flashy," by any stretch of the imagination.
I will say it was a nice little touch to have that orange and blue tie. Probably a suggestion of his wife, Jennifer.
Gordon seems to be more the type who is going to do (or try to do) exactly what Garth was looking for a coach to do—inspire and motivate. He already understands how difficult it is to deal with adversity, and keeping the desire and belief in players to be able to win.

He said there's a light at the end of the tunnel and he's happy to be a part of the team. Like last year, I'm just hoping that light isn't attached to a freight train heading in his direction. Because he will get crushed. I am worried that his inexperience with the media and a rabid— and larger than he's used to—fan base.
The item I found the funniest of the presser was when Garth Snow shut Newsday's Mark Herrmann down in his questioning. The question at hand from Mr. Herrmann was "What is the 'multi-year' deal?  Is it three?  Is it fifteen?"
Garth gave his standard company answer—they keep those types of details in house. Then he gave the look I know all too well and have come to respect. Mr. Herrmann is a journalist, which I am not. He did not take to the "I'm not telling you, so move on." look.
Garth continued, "Does that answer your question, Mark?" Oh! There's was that glare. Don't poke the Dragon, Mark! Don't poke the Dragon!

"No." Mark answered. Duck and cover, everyone!

Snow composed himself, "Mark, I have great respect for you, so how can I put this... It's none of your damn business."  The room immediately burst into laughter. 
And there you have it! Garth accomplished what he set out to do.  I found it funny as hell. I am not a journalist. I'm a blogger with a book in her head who likes to tell stories of what goes on that no one else is watching—like the fact that Garth is so tall and so uncomfortable at these things that I could see him kicking the curtain under the table while he was answering questions. Oh details, details, details.
According to Gordon, getting acclimated to NY, the travel schedule and the NHL may be be his hardest task at hand. "Coaching is coaching—it's the other stuff that is the hard part, and I feel that I've worked at that just as much as I've worked at anything else." Mr. Gordon, I hope you're right. But we're here for you if you need any help learning about Long Island and dealing with Islanders Country.
Okay, now for my more personal impressions of the afternoon.
This was one big work room, with one table marked "Reserved" for Gordon's family, Mr. Wang, Guerin, DiPietro, and the new kid, Bailey. His two boys were fascinated by the Islander glasses that have flashing LEDs in them. They collected and played with them on the floor.
Brad Kurtzberg and I were asked very politely to move from the seats we were in, and I immediately headed toward the back of the room. I was told. "No, right up front. Sit here." I didn't have time to protest, as Chris King had stepped up to the podium to begin. At least I was close enough to hear Garth even without the microphones.
I had actually come prepared with one question. I didn't think I'd be able to ask because I knew there were so many reporters in the room, but I figured at least I was coming prepared.
Within the first 45 seconds of Garth being up at the podium, he basically asked and answered the question I had typed out for myself. I folded the paper back up and put it back in my purse. So much for that.
I listened quietly and intently, as the cameraman sitting next to me darted up and down close to the floor trying to get a good angle for photos. More than a few times, his camera lens that could see to Mars was stretched across my lap. I wish he had introduced himself—it would have made the situation a little more comfortable.
Once the Q&A portion was over, I watched as this hoard of media literally rushed the front area. They had removed the podium and tables so that Garth and Gordon were standing against the logo backdrop. I thought they were going to get crushed.
I had never seen anything like it. There were reporters standing on chairs pointing cameras over their heads.
I watched Stan Fischler interview Snow close enough to tango with him. But he had nowhere else to go. (BTW, it's the best interview out there!) There were arms and cameras and microphones and lights everywhere. Was this a hockey press conference or a Britney Spears sighting? I couldn't tell.
I stayed back and watched CJ Papa film an interview for Channel10/TV55, probably his fifth interview on the subject in less than 12 hours. CJ has to easily be the hardest-working TV sports guy in the business. Catch him on ITV and the 11pm News.
I stopped to talk to the man in charge of merchandising. Once again, I badgered him about Bergenheim t-shirts and jerseys being available at the store or the coliseum concourse. Once again, I got the answer that the t-shirts didn't have enough sale potential at this time, but that his jersey IS available at the Team Store. He also said that since any jersey could be made in two days, he didn't see the problem.
Well, Mr. Goldstein, as I told you, I have been promoting this boy since he came here at 18, and I'm trying to watch out for him. When I mentioned that Okposo's jersey was available on the concourse the day he hit the coliseum ice, he smiled at me and said "But yes, he was our first-round pick."
I smiled back, "So was Sean, in 2002!"
"Oh, I wasn't here then." I thanked him for the information and walked away before he realized he was dealing with a mother bear trying to protect her cub. But no, I'm not done with this. Part of me thinks that Sean is still paying for the sins of Gandler.
I watched as everyone worked and ate. Lunch looked lovely, but the dental work is still making it hard to eat. I stopped to talk to Stan Fischler before I left. He told me to tell my husband to relax about this hiring move. "I had a tip on this guy long before anyone mentioned him. Everyone raves about him." Now that's a glowing review. And after everything I've read, I think I have to agree with him.

One more detail that you may not hear from anyone else is a second-hand quote from Bobby Nystrom last night to an Islanders employee, when he heard it was Scott Gordon that was chosen as head coach: "Good! Not another NHL re-tread!"
Well, if he's good enough for Bobby, he's good enough for me!

Also: Looks like once again Botta was "bang on," as they say in Canada, as he picked the day the announcement would be made. Always entertaining reading from a truly unique perspective.