By Nick Colombo
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Ok, I admit it. I chuckled a little bit Wednesday night when Rick DiPietro got taken down with one punch by Penguins goalie Brent Johnson. That’s a lie, I chuckled more than a little bit.
Honestly, a Hollywood writer couldn’t have done a better job scripting that one. Here’s DP, his usual cocky self, not just yapping at the mouth this time, but actually having the guts to get physical and shove Matt Cooke at the end of a play. Then how does the Islanders fearless goaltender respond when it’s time to answer his actions with some real manhood? He folds quicker than a cheap suit, or in his case, a surgically repaired knee.
I know it’s bad to say, but I got more than a little satisfaction out of watching DP get what’s been coming to him. Memo to Rick for the 500th time: You’re not a great player anymore, shut your yap and work on trying to get better.
Speaking of great players, don’t plan on seeing any on the Islanders anytime soon. A NHLPA survey revealed last week that 27% of players surveyed list the Islanders as their least desired team to play for. That means almost 1/3 of the league has no desire to play on Long Island.
You could interpret this a number of ways, but to me it’s just another example of why we all need to give Garth Snow and Charles Wang some credit here. The players clearly realize, just like Wang, that it’s impossible for the Islanders to be good. Players don’t want to waste their time on a lost cause, and with the Islanders stuck in Nassau till 2015 they’re currently lost. You know why they don’t want to waste their time? It’s called common sense. The same reason why Wang doesn’t want to dump another unnecessary penny into a team that can’t make money in a decrepit arena, with few revenue sources, located in an inaccessible suburb. It’s called common sense.
People will criticize Wang for letting it get to this point. As I’ve said in the past, Wang has made mistakes, most notably letting Mike Milbury go on for as long as he did. However, the sorry state of the Islanders is just as much about local economics and regional politics as it is about hockey decisions. You know what would’ve made more players want to come here? A new arena surrounded by a huge retail center that was lining the owner’s pockets so he has tons to spend on the team. Alas, that is never to be.
We could debate Wang all day, but the man who deserves absolutely no criticism is Snow. Sure you can debate some of the moves he’s made, just like you could do with any GM. But this man literally has the hardest job in sports, and in my opinion he’s done a solid job of trying to build a competitive team. Don’t get me wrong, the Islanders have glaring holes and it shows. But with the young talent Snow has acquired, he has put the team in position to be a competitive club in the near future. With his resources combined with polls like the one from the NHLPA, that job has to be applauded and appreciated.
Questions or comments? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Islanders Blog: No Good Nabokov (newyork.cbslocal.com)