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Wang gives Snow, Capuano a vote of confidence

Nov 28, 2011, 9:31 PM EDT

Garth Snow, Charles Wang Getty Images

With two embattled head coaches out the door on the same Monday, it’s only natural to wonder who else might be on the hot seat. Considering raised expectations and their last place spot in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders are one of the most obvious teams worthy of a mention. Some look of the vote of confidence as a hex, but owner Charles Wang gave this response to New York Newsday regarding whether or not he believes in GM Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano.

“Yes,” Wang said. “It’s like anything in life — you embark on this journey and you have people around you that you put your faith in. It’s not just about Garth — it’s up to all of us. This is a team game, a team sport.”

That team hasn’t gotten the job done for a long time, though. To be honest, Snow hasn’t been all-bad in his tenure as Islanders GM, but the bottom line is that the team isn’t progressing as many hoped. One has to think that Snow and Capuano aren’t on the longest leashes, but Wang and the Islanders do things their own way.

Maybe one of these years that way will actually produce some results.

  1. bcisleman - Nov 28, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    This piece reminds me of another GM. He was in the fourth year of a rebuild–just like Garth Snow–and things didn’t go so well. How bad you ask? Well, his team finished with 40–count ’em– 40 points and was dead last in the NHL that year. Many wanted the GM fired, but the owners stuck by him.

    The owners were the Ilitches and the GM was Jimmy Devellano. He now has more rings than fingers I believe and was just inducted into the HHOF. And, as Casey Stengel said, you could look it up.

    One advantage Devellano had that Snow does not is that he had no cap limit to deal with and he had owners who let him spend with abandon. Garth has done an admirable job of bringing in talent like Mark Streit, Matt Moulson, and Al Montoya for next to nothing in relative terms, but sometimes you have to open up the wallet. It seems that Garth wanted to trade Blake Comeau, coming off a career-high 24 goal season, for a good #2 D, but Wang didn’t want to pay more. That’s very foolish and that sort of thinking will hurt the team in the future. Hopefully Gary Bettman will use his influence there.

    Garth has also done a great job of building up a vast talent pool from nothing after Milbury destroyed the franchise. If this season continues as it has, another great talent like Filip Forsberg may be added. Garth also has 4th, 5th, and 6th round picks showing themselves to be potential future stars in junior and college hockey. The future looks bright, but Wang has to change his ways.

    • James O'Brien - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      I especially like that Snow stockpiled drafts in a recent year. He’s made some solid moves, but yes, the budget (and lack of winning pedigree) is hurting him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he has an ace up his sleeve like the Red Wings had with international scouting, though. This could be a slow process, but Snow has made some good moves here and there.

      • bcisleman - Nov 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM

        It isn’t just that he’s stockpiled picks. It’s what he’s done with them. David Ullstrom was a 2008 4th rounder. Casey Cizikas was a 2009 4th rounder. Anders Lee was a 2009 6th rounder. Ullstrom and Cizikas are both looking like they will be good NHL centers. Lee shows every sign of being a star NHL PF. Poulin was a 2008 5th rounder. Of course, the steal of steals was Kirill Kabanov in the 2010 3rd round. He is developing very nicely in juniors. Couldn’t believe they were able to get Mayfield in the 2nd round this year.

        Now Persson, acquired in the 5th round this year, is looking like a major steal as well. Everyone thought his numbers were inflated by playing with Nugent-Hopkins, but he is proving them wrong by putting up even better numbers this year. Draft Forsberg this year, put him on third line with Ullstrom and Persson and watch those Swedes rack up the points behind the Tavares and Nielsen lines. Who knows where they’ll even put Lee, Nelson, Kabanov and Petrov in the next year or two. This team is going to be very very good.

    • jpwjr1199 - Dec 25, 2011 at 3:45 AM

      I have registered to this nonsense because your post has to be the single most asinine, ignorant threads of drivel I have ever read.

      First of all, the very fact that you can compare Garth Snow, who under legitimately impossible circumstances, has done a fair job, to Jim Devellano in any way, shape, or form, boggles the mind to the fringe of complete ridiculousness. (Please notice I have nothing against Snow, it is your ridiculous comparison, for which I have distaste. My eyes almost melted).

      Before Jim Devellano was hired by Ilitch to become GM of Detroit, he was the man, whom Roy Boe and, more directly, Bill Torrey put in charge of the draft selections (Torrey had to rubber stamp them, but Devellano chose). Devellano was personally responsible for drafting Billy Harris, Bob Nystrom, Dave Lewis, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier, Ken Morrow, Dave Langevin, Denis Potvin, Duane and Brent Sutter, Kelly Hrudey, John Tonelli, Anders Kallur, Bill Carroll and I’m sure I am leaving others out. He concurrently was the GM of the Islanders’ top farm team, the Indianapolis Checkers. In other words, Jimmy D. was a busy boy winning Cups and Championships for the minor league club, as well.

      Now, before Garth Snow became GM of the Islanders, he was their God-damned backup goaltender.

      The comparison could and should stop there.

      But, no, there’s much more.

      When Devellano took over the Red Wings, they were in almost total disarray. While Devellano could not fix it right away the Red Wings made the playoffs in year 2 and 3 before tanking it in year 4, which, mind you, did almost cost him his job. In year 5 Detroit went to the semifinals.

      Garth Snow is actually in year 6 of his GM tenure and took over for Neil Smith; a man who was a Jim Devellano protege!!! and the only man who has won a Stanley Cup as GM of the New York Rangers in the era of hockey after the slap shot was invented, was fired after 40 days. Smith actually set the table for that team to make the playoffs and Snow put on a couple of finishing touches (Ryan Smyth trade, which was really not such a great thing in the long run).

      Actually, the REAL reason Smith was fired without the Isles playing a game and Snow hired, is because Neil Smith basically refused to sign DiPietro to the 15 year contract. Snow did so on Day 1 of his GM tenure.

      However, if you want to even be REALLY kind and grant Garth a mulligan, I will be kind and say that Garth is in year 5!! of his, ahem, rebuild, and they are still dead last in the conference, AGAIN!! Which is where the Islanders have been for four years running, now.

      The future looks bright, as you said, if Wang sells to an owner that will figure out how to make LI work, Wang and Bettman make the team and its’ cable deal (which is actually legally incorporated as Nassau Sports, LLC.) public companies, or they will have a bright future in Quebec or Seattle.

  2. sharksfan754 - Nov 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    The vote of confidence is often the kiss of death

  3. bluesrawesome - Nov 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    All of a sudden their talent could get it together and they could start winning like the Oilers did out of no where. The problem is is that the Oilers spend a lot more than the Islanders do. IF Snow addresses his teams two big problems-Goaltending-defense they would be a great team. Its difficult for forweds to do well when they have no cofidence in their goaltending.

    • bcisleman - Nov 29, 2011 at 2:46 AM

      Montoya has been good and Nabby OK. Its RDP who has been dreadful. Assuming Nabby is traded, one important task this summer will be signing a #1A and hopefully buying out RDP who just isn’t an NHL quality goalie anymore sad to say. Garth can then give Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson the time they need to develop into excellent NHL goalies.

      As to defense, Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, and Travis Hamonic are sound enough. They will soon be joined by Calvin De Haan, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, and Mark Katic. Following them in the pipeline are Scott Mayfield, Andrei Pedan, Robbie Russo, and Brendan Kichton selected in the 2011 draft. As MacDonald and Hamonic mature and the others move up the pipeline, the NYI defense will be a great strength.

    • bcisleman - Nov 29, 2011 at 2:49 AM

      PS: It would be quite something to renew the old Islander-Oiler rivalry for the Cup.

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