New York Islanders: 10 Ways to Fix a Failing Franchise
The Islanders have not had any success of any real kind since 1993. A little fourth grade math will tell you that is 18 years ago.
What does Charles Wang have to do to get the Islanders to respectability? Are all the problems around the Islanders just arena issues, or are the problems so bad they require radical changes?
Here are some Ideas.
Fire Garth Snow Immediately
Do I think Garth Snow has done a horrible job at GM? No, he has not been horrible despite the things that have been said about him. In all fairness, the Islanders should have been on a three-year plan back to respectability. Well, guess what, this is Garth's sixth season as the Islanders GM—and the Islanders are still at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Thank Garth for finding you Michael Grabner, Matt Moulsen and PA Parenteau—then fire him for six seasons of being below mediocrity.
Possible replacements for Garth, you ask? How about someone who has been behind the bench and knows the game? How about someone with an Islanders pedigree? How about Bryan Trottier? Just a thought.
I have no idea why the Islanders do not utilize more dynasty-era players for their front office positions other than to parade them out every five years for another ceremony.
And the next victim is...
Fire Jack Capuano and All of His Assistant Coaches
Jack Capuano has tried. He failed. It's time to fire everyone in a suit associated with the Islanders' on-ice performance, and Capuano should be first in line to the unemployment office.
Sure, the Islanders had a great run last season after they were already eliminated from any playoff contention and could play loose with nothing to lose. That's exactly what he told them. You have nothing to lose, just go out and play hard. Oh, and yeah, the Islanders lost over 600 games to injury. Sounds like a good excuse, right? OK.
Whats the excuse this season? Jack Capuano has failed. It is time for Wang to spend money on his coach instead of bringing up the latest coach from the AHL. Find a guy with NHL experience. Find a guy who works well with young players.
Ideas on who that could be, anyone?
Get Rid of Forwards Marty Reasoner, Jay Pandolfo and Brian Rolston
That is if Rolston and Pandolfo ever come back from the IR.
These guys were meant to infuse the young Islanders with a little experience and veteran respectability.
They have failed miserably.
Reasoner has no goals and five assists and is a miserable minus-16—and this from a defensive forward.
Rolston, the overachiever of the trio, has three goals and four assists and is a minus-six.
Pandolfo, no goal scorer granted has one goal in 21 games. He got his 100th, now it's time to go.
The Islanders have kids who can fill in any of those positions who cannot possibly do any worse. And by all rights, the Islanders should have held onto Zenon Konopka, who became like the conscience of the Islanders last season.
Get Rid of Defensemen Mike Mottau and Milan Jurcina
I like Milan Jurcina, and in the right organization, he could be an excellent addition. To say he has been a liability this season would be an understatement. He's minus-15 and has five points. Can Calvin de Haan or Aaron Ness be any worse?
Mottau is what he is, an average NHL defender. Let one of the kids take his spot—they really can't be any worse.
We have prospects, now let's see if they can deliver.
Settle the Arena Issue
Nassau Coliseum needs to be replaced. Everyone knows it and no one wants to do anything about it. Nothing plausible, anyway.
Far be it for me to tell anyone how to spend their money, but maybe it's time for Charles Wang to build his own arena. If he does, he will control it all. Granted, he will have to purchase a parcel of land from the county that the arena will sit on, but it's a worthwhile endeavor in a county starved for jobs.
If Wang foots the lion's share of the cost on an arena, he will own it and control it. If the Islanders are indeed losing as much money as he says—somewhere in between $20-30 million a season—the arena will pay for itself over a period of about 15 years and then become a cash cow.
I'm sure the state and county would kick in some money to limit Mr. Wang's exposure on the project, maybe even throwing in tax breaks and other incentives just to get the damn arena done already.
Enough with this Brooklyn Queens Kansas City crap. Get the deal done. Call it the Wang Coliseum. I do not care, I am just sick of the waiting.
Overpay for a Stud Defenseman
It's obvious. The Islanders are never going to just lure a marquee free agent to their franchise by offering a little more money than the next guy. They have to overpay—and overpay big.
If Shea Weber becomes available, then offer him a deal that he cannot refuse. If it's 20-30 percent above what his market value is, then get it done, and you'll have your cornerstone defender for years to come.
Once one guy comes in, maybe a second and third will follow.
Buy out Rick Dipietro...If Not Now, Then When the CBA Makes It Viable
I like Rick DiPietro. But it's time for him to go.
He is obviously made of glass, and there is a lot of mileage on his 30-year-old body.
There is no questioning Rick's determination, dedication and talent. His body quite obviously cannot take the rigors of NHL play.
Injuries are one thing, but the fan base has totally turned on him—and so has the upper management. He has been the equivalent of a place holder this season for the much better numbers of Nabokov and Montoya.
Wait if you want, but there is a new collective bargaining agreement coming at the end of next season and there will likely be amnesty on buyouts, making a buy out of Rick much more economically feasible.
That's when Rick will go.
For the Rest of the Season, Drastically Cut Ticket Prices
This is pretty simple. In the second half of last season, the Islanders offered cheap tickets and people came and saw the Islanders play well at the end of the year.
The same needs to happen this year if the trend continues. The Islanders are not eliminated from playoff contention yet, but they are last in the East and have some talented teams to vault over.
Attendance is a major problem, and a seat sold at half price is better than an empty seat any day of the week.
Get Rid of Evgeni Nabokov
Nabokov has been OK, but if the Islanders do not make a serious run, there should be some interest in the veteran net minder. Get all you can and let this episode become the past.
Nabokov embarrassed the Islanders and himself last season.
However, he has managed to somehow turn it around and has played fairly well even though his win-loss record does not show it. He does have a .910 save percentage, and that will garner some interest.
Sign PA Parenteau to a Long-Term Contract
PA Parenteau was an afterthought signing two years ago and is now the Islanders' leading scorer. The Islanders need to reward him with a multi-year contract or risk losing him on the open market.
He currently leads the Islanders with six goals and 22 assists in 34 games and has formed a very nice top line unit with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Get him signed and keep him here.