What Ails the Isles And Who Is To Blame

Vinny twitterThe New York Islanders are my hockey team. I’ve lost my voice during games, had gray hairs, cried tears, and wondered why god has forsaken them (and by extension me) countless times.  They have a myriad of problems. Let’s look at them and see if they have a systematic root cause.

The goaltending situation:

Nabakov IslesAs of this writing, we actually have a guy with 9 years remaining on his contract and an .846% save percentage. That’s not good. That contract came at the behest of Charles B. Wang, in case you were wondering.  The starter is a 37 year old Evgeni Nabokov, who is CLEARLY rusty, but still the best we’ve got.  Nilsson and Poulin are seasoning at the Bridge, which is good. Then there’s Cody Rosen. Who wasn’t even supposed to be drafted by any team ever, and then because he’s the son of a business associate of our owner, was drafted. I’ll get to last week’s acquisition soon.

The Payroll:

MonopolyI hear you Wang apologists whine about his lost revenue. Oh, okay. Let’s see those books then. Do you know, dating back to the dynasty era, this team has one of the best TV contracts in the NHL? 30 million per season. Actual salary payout on average has been 44 million. That means before a fan walks in or buys any merch, he’s at most lost 14 million. So his ‘20 million dollar loss a year‘ figure is crappola. This team has spent the least of any team since 2008. That’s fact.

There may be a correlation between  that and not making the playoffs.  This season’s two big ‘acquisitions’ were Lubo Visnovsky (a real nhl player!) whose cap hit is roughly 2.5 million over his actual salary. Then there’s Tim Thomas, who is retired. He is currently giving us a 5.3 million dollar cap hit with a outlay of zero dollars for our owner.  That’s called cheating the cap floor.

Isles SnowCraig from @Puckbuddys brilliantly dubbed the fiasco ‘The Thomas Clown Affair’. The team operates as frugally as possible. Homegrown pieces are re-signed on the cheap or jettisoned for draft picks to get cheaper labor. Our GM is his master’s voice in that regard. Nobody knows the CBA like Garth Snow. Unfortunately, our owner has him backload contracts and circumvent the cap floor at every opportunity.  That’s where our GM’s talent is put to use. The good news here is Garth dominates the waiver wire like no GM I’ve ever seen. The bad news is we are always in position to have a high waiver claim.

Talent Evaluation and Development:

When going with a young unproven GM, the proper thing to do would be to surround him with experienced hockey ops people.  Charles Wang has slashed us down to the smallest Hockey Ops staff in the NHL, with the smallest scouting department. This dearth of resources is on call for an employee learning the ropes of being a GM in the NHL.   It’s all about eliminating expenditures.  How about a President? No? Cool. Can we hire an NHL Coach? No? okay. Cool. Get more AHL level coaches and more AHL level results.

League Perception:

Our radio telecast is run by interns at Hofstra across the street. We have a cupcake vendor and a tattoo floor on our leaky arena concourse. We ostracized Pat LaFontaine and his  regional champion world class junior hockey team that plays in our backyard. Pat LaFontaine is an NHL Hall of Famer, US Olympian and genuine Long Island folk hero. Any dissenter, be it former team PR man Chris Botta or former broadcaster Billy Jaffe is dismissed at any criticism.

Isles Wang 2See that for why Pat LaFontaine is persona non grata. Players routinely express dismay at our rink. Opposing broadcasters lampoon our fans. They claim our fans don’t exist, unaware of evidence to the contrary like 12,000 people at a draft party, or 2002 where we sold out 66% of our home games on a magical run to the playoffs. The fans are just frustrated by this ownership which has many priorities,  none of those being winning hockey games. Our owner sits, walled off from humanity, immune to criticism because he has it muzzled. His legacy, aside from relocating the team two counties west, is of arrogance and frugality.

About RoseTintedVisor

RoseTintedVisor ( thats @RoseTintedVisor on Twitter for the newbs) is the nom de plume of moi, Vinny Piccolo. Park Ranger/ Grad Student (History) by day, token gay hockey player & blogger (devotee of the NYI) by night. In my spare time, I hit the ice on LI as a grinder and general irritant with a penchant for crosschecks and trashtalk. I also fancy comic books, wrestling, history, political discussion, particularly LGBT & Environmental Issues . Addtl interests include Miami Dolphins Football, Atlanta Braves Baseball, & The Florida Panthers.
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18 Responses to What Ails the Isles And Who Is To Blame

  1. There is far too much here that you are complete wrong about. Either you don’t care to do your homework have no interest in facts or only wish to rant based on rumor and gossip. Funny how Mangano, Murray, Mondello, Suozzi, Gulotta and others did not make the rant while other places like Edmonton-Phoenix are willing to give owners 19m a year just to run new arena’s which Wang was never offered with Mangano’s ridiculous referendum.
    1-Cody Rosen was invited to Flyers camp the year before the Isles drafted him.
    2-Wang is the only owner in New York/New Jersey not to get a taxpayer funded stadium or arena or the 11-15m a year Msg receives since 1982 which means he cannot front-load and only make straight offers he did to Ehrhoff, Martin and others who did resign. Toronto-Montreal-San Jose have the same problem because they do not front-load.
    3-Wang opened the books to Newsday in 2010 through Esnst and Young.
    3a-Back to Milstein this team could sell out every game and lose money.
    3b-From Hamrlik to Reinhart this owner has spent money and plenty of it.
    3c-As soon as he spent money and raised prices to pay for it fans stopped going.
    4-The Cable contracts pays them to hide them and at this time it’s around 11-14m a year with 2030-31 at 36m.
    4a-Wang’s payroll was over 40m before any cap floor, when other teams in new buildings were spending less than 30m.
    5-Snow dominates the waiver wire? So he brings up kids he’s circumventing and he does waivers he’s circumventing in a league practically devoid of major trades. Funny how other the teams really seemed to want to keep those players or how he stole Grabner, made some excellent decisions in Streit, Nabokov, Roloson, Moulson, Parenteau, Hamonic, along with being right about not drafting Filatov combined with the great negotiations he did with Nielsen I-II, Hunter, Witt, MacDonald.
    6-Botta says the Isles scouting staff is the smallest? Funny how other teams also do not have a president and the same week Jankowski’s deal ended Cablevision ended their deal with 22 year scout Chris Rockstrom who landed in Montreal with Jankowski but Botta did not touch it.
    7-Pat Lafontaine’s goal and his highlights are all over the Isles website and were before WSJ Botta-Mike Sielski hitjob article. In fact Lafontaine’s goal was posted 2/22/12 a month before, he was also honored by Isles Wang 11/8/2003 and was at Arbour 1500 night and introduced.
    8-Give us a break on Jaffe/Botta that was all Msg and if you don’t believe they wanted to stop paying Goring and Jaffe full time it was clear that was coming in 2008 according to Botta himself when Msg cut the Isles pregame: http://www.newyorkislanderfancentral.com/2013/01/mr-jaffe-still-defending-msg-wasnt.html
    9-Isles did the same thing Buffalo did with the radio simulcast before going to Hofstra.
    Charles Wang has done everything humanely possible to keep this franchise going short of going bankrupt. Florida outdrew this team missing the playoffs ten years in a row when the Isles made four playoff in five years. The fan support has been gone since 1989 so stop blaming Wang or the owners and look in the mirror. Dolan’s joke Rags missed the playoffs eight years in a row and got better support, his joke Knicks one playoff win since Wang bought the Isles.

  2. We know you’re on the payroll. There’s a reason you’ve been blacklisted from every place real fans discuss the team. You sold out a long time ago. Hope it was worth it for another 30th place season. PS: I’m done wasting my time on you.

    • Joe Lazar says:

      Lol. Way to respond to someone you disagree with. Real classy

      • He actually went on twitter to claim I was Wang’s son? Sorry, I was watching New York Islander hockey since Tim Ryan was calling games on ch 9 and before that with John Sterling on radio. I have the 1981 sweep at Msg off WMCA radio and own the Chemistry was just right celebrating the 1980 team. Beyond Wang over playing the Long Island card for a New York franchise he’s done everything possible including give them a first rate AHL facility when the Boe family defaulted in Bridgeport like they did here. Bigger mismatch than Gillies-Hospidar for Rose Tinted so he should duck and cover from facts.

  3. Who would be ” we “? My friend I have been writing about the Isles since before Wang was owner and would never accept one penny from anyone. I only write the truth which is something you absolutely want no part of and unlike you I support what I write with documentation and not worthless rants. I get your plan, Wang should be the only owner anywhere to pay for an arena he can only rent, he should give you a 60m payroll, front-loaded deals and 1975 ticket prices but that’s not realistic or fair. If you can’t accept that do not ask for people to respond. Wang’s done his job from Hamrlik to Reinhart to renovating a building he did not own many times plus spending with Rechler on the Lighthouse and running around for Mangano’s folly referendum. The former players do nothing but praise him, the current players seem to want to be here very much and take his money, his gm has had bad luck with injuries but also displayed an ability to identify talent. I get your on team Mangano-Murray-Mondello where Wang should build them a free arena and then pay Nassau rent/revenue for the privilege but that’s not reality based on every other sports franchise in New York or in North America. If you put all your effort into blaming the people responsible for this problem long before Wang bought the team and spent hundreds of millions maybe something would have gotten done.

  4. Isles Fanatic says:

    Fact, this organization has been an abject failure in the win loss column for many years, whether Wang`s heart is in the right place is irrelevant. The facts are that Wang has not equiped this team to be successful, blame who you all wish to blame, it changes not that the Isles will again miss the playoffs, the team will once again miss the playoffs… I really could not give a rats behind on the political follies on Long Island, I could not care less that the owner is losing his shirt. As a fan, as someone that pays to suport this team, I want to see wins, I want to see progress on the ice.

    As a fanbase, we are so accustomed to failure that we write, speak and debate excuses, we try rationalize and justify why our team`s futilities continue.

    You can all continue to trashtalk each other, but the fact is, there are two people responsible for the on-ice product… Find all the reasons to justify your opinions all you want, the fact is, this team is not in a playoff position nor shall it be this season. That fact alone is unaceptable.

    • This team went to four playoffs in five years before they became the poster child for man games lost to injury leading the NHL in that department by a mile or signing UFA who could not play defense after getting hurt. Snow and the Isles have had some bad luck which includes Okposo-Streit injuries. Wang did not make Sillinger, Weight, Comrie or Witt, Hunter injured who he paid early and generously.

      I’m sorry to say you better give a rats ass and a lot more about the political follies that forced Wang into this position because everyone else got a taxpayer check, a tax payer bounded facility or tax exemptions or will be getting one from Quebec to Phoenix to Seattle to Edmonton to Detroit.

      Wang’s been in the position Pittsburgh was, unlike them he spent while Mario sold off Jagr and Kovalev. He never threatened to take the team anywhere or made it the circus Pittsburgh and Phoenix became.

      Wang’s entitled to the same money the Yankees, Mets, Msg, NJ football teams got along with soccer stadium and the Devils/Nets. And unlike those teams that picked up the phone and got paid Wang had to spend money, do community meetings, run around for a referendum no one else had forced on them as Mangano’s will of the people permanent out card.

      And you better give a rats ass about Charles Wang losing his shirt because there are teams all over this league in modern buildings losing tons of money which means he’s losing more than anyone because he has the least revenue streams between his personal renovations as tenant for slumlord’s Nassau and. (SMG/Flyers Ed Snider)

      The price to operate a franchise here is higher than anywhere which is why the Rangers 80m payrolls combined with 85 revenue meant 25-40m operating loss for Cablevision in the 2004-05 lockout.

      The Devils got a taxpayer funded building and were heading for bankruptcy even with Newark funding half the cost and giving the Devils all event revenue. Dolan was losing 25-40m a year even with his yearly taxpayer gift since 1982 when Gulf and Western threatened to move the Rags to New Jersey and the Knicks to the Coliseum which is why Dolan is renovating to keep his taxpayer cash grab.

      Also a little reality check but the UFA market the last two summers were horrible unless you wanted Snow to sign trade for Jovanowski-Campbell or somehow Wang pays 100+ million for Parise.

  5. Isles Fanatic says:

    Yes, as a fan I want my team to pay for the best players…. and no I do not need to care about the past political follies, the team is moving to Brooklin in 2 yrs… I am a fan, I want a winning product on the ice, don`t cry about so called back luck, those contrats you mention were bad contracts and should never have been signed.

    Wang tries, but again, there is a saying that I believe came from Einstein…. INSANITY is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. You talk good smack but you also need to stick your head up. We can either say….for the next X number of years thank you Charles and bow down to him for persevering or we can stand up and say, it is just not enough, we are sick and tired of being bottom feeders and we want a winner. Six years of no playoffs would cost any and every GM their jobs, except on Long Island….

    As fans, we deserve better, you can continue to justify status quo….or you can demand better….I choose to demand better.

    • You want Wang to pay for the best players that means 100m dollar contracts, that means front-loading, that means Islander fans have to pay Cablevision, Comcast, Little Ceasar’s/Amway Red Wings ticket prices to offset the cost of those contracts and it means the local government has to subsidize the team with taxpayer money. Wang after 2001-02 raised ticket prices to pay for his 130m in contracts fans stayed home like he committed a crime. He raises ticket prices to the league avg fans stay home and were doing that starting in 1989.

      What was Mario doing with the same Smg? Selling Kovalev to the Rangers in an eight player deal where Cablevision paid all eight players for the rest of the season. Wang spent on trades for Hamrlik, Aucoin, Niinimaa to go with keeping Jonsson.

      I don’t talk smack. Hunter, Witt were excellent contracts the fans demanded and beyond the owner when both got hurt. Nielsen both contracts were excellent, same as MacDonald and Streit was a flat out steal. Wang did not front-load Smyth, Gomez, Drury, along with the countless long-term busts contracts handed out to Wisniewski or Ehrhoff, Paul Martin in some brutal UFA markets.

      Funny all I read is Isles are cap circumventing despite being 12m above the floor who got nothing but abuse for not trading vets like Satan at the deadline.

      And please stop telling us about six years, Florida, St Louis, Cablevision, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Edmonton have had periods of losing for as long or longer. You really going to tell me George McFly in Washington who signed Jagr and dumped him is a better gm than Snow or Ed Snider’s latest puppet who signed Bruno Gervais and a generation of goalies who cannot stop a beach ball are and better beyond dumping their front-loaded Comcast mistakes on other teams?

  6. Isles Fanatic says:

    Dude, you are one sad puppy dog….

    Firstly, the role of any GM is to provide players to a coaching staff that have a chance to win a championship….period. Failure to do so over an extented period of time should and does result in the GM getting fired, failure to make the playoffs always result in changing the culture and direction of a team….Columbus and Toronto are but recent examples… Chicago struggled due to poor ownership decisions, when the onwer died, the team made appropriate changes in the way they were structured and improved and won a cup.

    Secondly, Yes I want Ownership to pay whatever they need to pay to get a winning product on the ice…. WHY you ask….well cause it ain`t my money….plain and simple. So what if the ticket prices get raised, A true fan will pay extra to see a winning product that has the depth to compete on a nightly basis and WIN. It is not for me as a fan to figure out how, that is why teams (that are succesful) have presidents, marketing experts, GMs…to figure that stuff out. Not us as fans.

    Thirdly, you talk alot about the past… knowing the past should help you avoid the same errors n the future, but you seem to love to dwell in it, and cover yourself in it, to justify mediocrity, which hey, its a free country, so go ahead and fill your boots…. BUT I strive for the future and want the NOW to be succesful.

    Fourthly, The Islanders are not 12 M over the cap floor this season, nor last, nor the one before that, etc… Spew whatever number ou wish, informed fans know betteré

    Everyone has a right to their opinions, even those such as yours, BUT that does not mean you speak with an informed and educated voice.

    Again, I love my Islanders, but that does not mean I accept their path of mediocrity… I deserve better Now, today and tomorrow, regardless of the past.

    • I’m sad for writing the truth based on education? That you want the owner to pay for everything and go bankrupt or he’s a bad owner after a decade plus of getting his head handed to him financially?

      And your true fans don’t fill the seats here. Not from 1989 on not in the early rounds of 92-93 playoffs and not in first half of 2001-02. Florida outdrew this franchise ten years in a row, Atlanta outdrew them every year but two including the year they moved.

      What happened in 2006-07 when Snow traded for Smyth in 6th place? 12,500 against the Blues.

      Education 101: Chicago won the Stanley Cup and lost money, feel free to read it from the owner himself in the days after http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-30/business/ct-biz-0730-confidential-hawks-20100730_1_rocky-wirtz-wirtz-corp-bill-wirtz

      The Isles payroll is around 53 million with Bailey, the cap 44m. Joensuu will be activated at some point. Wang’s payroll was 45m before any cap with teams like Nashville under 30m.

      It takes time to get better now in a division packed with corporate teams in taxpayer funded buildings with fans willing to pay hundreds for tickets vs fans who will not spent $25.00 for tickets in a buidling where they cannot make a profit.

  7. Isles Fanatic says:

    So if I understand your point of view correctly, the fact that the team has been languishing at the bottom of the conference for that past 6 yrs or so, is the fault of politicians, publicly funded buildings in other cities, AND also blame should be placed at the feet of the fans for not willing to come to games through all these bottom of the league finishes. Wang and Snow are without reproach, they can do no wrong?

    You seem to want to say that Wang and Snow are but poor simple guys trying their best and nothing is their fault or we should not ask them to take responsibility for anything Islanders related, especially with regards to the on-ice product. Its just not their fault huh… Are you sure you would not like to also blame Santa, the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy while your at it???….hehehe….

    Oh, and your salary numbers are also B.S. No matter what you say or how you try to spin it, it does not change the fact the Islanders are a salary cap floor team, and have been for quite a few years now.

  8. Obviously you are not interested in understanding my point correctly. You wanted free agents but refuse to acknowledge for ownership or management to acquire those kids of players in terms of revenue streams from ticket sales or a modern facility. Pittsburgh got their slots license building, Corey Booker gave the Devils the keys to the bank and still lost money. Cablevision and Comcast NBC/Smg/ Flyers (Ed Snider got his taxpayer funded Lighthouse) will write off all the red ink they can for advantages and have corporate Knick support.

    If Wang came in and did what Milstein did he would be at fault, he spent from Hamrlik to Reinhart and from the free agents themselves (Ehrhoff, Martin, Smyth) at least Wang offered them some very high contracts but not front-loaded.

    Isles current payroll 53m not counting Joensuu.
    Cap floor 44m.

  9. Education 101: Feel free to read what other teams receive from taxpayers in modern buildings while Wang get’s privilege of renovating a building he’s a tenant in.

    Look at what Nashville has given the Predators:http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120429/NEWS01/304290057/Profit-eludes-Nashville-Predators-despite-ice-success-public-money

    Go ahead read it and see why the playing field has not been level for Wang since day one.

    Edmonton, Phoenix, Quebec, Seattle plus many other NHL teams giving teams money including NYR at 11-15m a year with money Devils receive while Ed Snider got his Lighthouse from the taxpayers and a brand new AHL arena.

    Charles Wang? He got Kate Murray, Ed Mangano and Jay Jacobs with his PSL. The previous generation got Judy Jacobs and Tom Gulotta.

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