By Nick Colombo
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After my last blog defending Islanders owner Charles Wang, I received quite a bit of mail from angry Islanders fans. Their gripes with Wang were all quite similar and were echoed by a column Larry Brooks wrote in the New York Post on Sunday. Brooks took the Islanders owner to task saying:
“It is impossible to determine what the endgame here is for Wang. It can’t be to simply run out the clock over the next four years while further gutting the franchise’s infrastructure. If that truly is the objective, if the owner simply intends to devalue the franchise to the extent no one else would even consider buying it to keep in this area, then it is time for the commissioner to step in, exert his authority and save the Islanders from the crypt-keeper… Wang’s profound neglect is intolerable.”
I can’t say I disagree with the frustration. It’s not fun for anybody as the franchise spins out of control like a carnival ride operated by a high school dropout. However, I still contend that demonizing Charles Wang is not the answer. In his time as owner of this franchise he has done nothing but invest his own money and attempt to make the Islanders into a winning franchise. His recent lack of devotion to making the Islanders better is not mismanagement, stupidity, or a lack of caring. IT’S ECONOMICS!
I don’t care whether you love or hate the Lighthouse Project, the fact is the politicians of Long Island have screwed over Wang and the Islanders. Some politicians led Wang along believing the Lighthouse would be built, detractors offered no plausible alternative, and until last year no one saw fit to alter the lease which was killing the Isles financially.
What logical person would continue to waste money on a hopeless business venture? The message to Wang from Long Island politicians is clear. We don’t care and we don’t want you here. Thus, Wang is making the logical economic decision to cut costs and lose as little as possible until he can get the hell out. That’s the reason why Commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t trying to force Wang out as Larry Brooks suggested he should. Because he too knows the political situation is hopeless.
So yes Larry, running out the clock for the next four years is the plan. You and everyone else can protest all you want because it’s not your money being flushed down the tubes, but I guarantee if it was your money being spent in a hopeless situation you’d think about it a little differently.
Until next time, send me your passionate questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Islanders Blog: Losing On And Off The Ice (newyork.cbslocal.com)