(Long Island, NY) Does Garth Snow know what he is getting himself into? Going from the back-up goalie to General Manager is not the usual move. Especially in one day. What magnifies it is that the guy he is replacing was just hired one month ago, and another front office person walked away right after all this transpired.
The Islanders have been doing things a bit differently for years. Since the dynasty ended in the early 1980’s, this team has made more bad decisions than good. Fans have been shaking their heads on a constant basis ever since the Mike Milbury era began. And are we even sure if it has officially ended? Mad Mike is still in the front office and it’s hard to be convinced that he doesn’t have a say in personnel decisions anymore, regardless of what owner Charles Wang has said.
A short few weeks ago, all was well in Uniondale with the press conference announcing the hiring of Ted Nolan as head coach, Neil Smith as GM, and Pat LaFontaine in the front office. Behind the scenes, Smith, who won a Stanley Cup in 1994 during his Ranger tenure, was uncomfortable with the multi-position team, and had expressed such to Wang. When it became apparent that it was not going to improve, Wang decided to correct the mistake sooner than later and dismissed Smith. He was replaced by Garth Snow, who immediately retired from active player duty. LaFontaine followed out the door, resigning a short time later.
The entire situation is confusing. The usual order is a GM is hired and chooses the coach. Smith and Nolan were brought in together, and with Milbury still in the picture, things were quite muddled. Factor in that LaFontaine and Brian Trottier were also in the mix, creating an atmosphere of ‘who’s in charge?’ Well, after the recent events, it looks like its ‘Charles in charge,’ meaning Wang.
With a front office as crowded as the Isles’, it should come as no surprise that a first-time GM is now employed. Someone with a resume would have to question the set-up and wonder if he would have final say in personnel decisions.
How will all the uncertainty affect the team’s performance on the ice? A potential free-agent signing may be lost if the player and his agent feel the organization is rocky. The current roster may have players that will hold off on signing long term deals for the same reason. Nothing good can come out of this much transition.
The Islanders have had issues that have persisted. From the John Spanos disaster to the Milbury mess. Those four consecutive Stanley Cup championships seem even longer ago after this fiasco.