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Larry Brooks tears the Islanders a new one

Mar 18, 2012, 11:20 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders Getty Images

The Islanders are in the midst of another frustrating and failing season and after missing the playoffs again this season, the fifth straight time they’ve done that, the franchise is hurting all over again.

New York Post hockey guru Larry Brooks takes aim on the Islanders for being irrelevant to the hockey landscape, not just in New York but across the league.

Brooks hammers the team on how they’ve handled recent drafts (taking Josh Bailey over the likes of Tyler Myers and Erik Karlsson among others in 2008 as well as picking Nino Niederreiter over Jeff Skinner in 2010), coaching moves, and seeing players like Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo regressing badly. Brooks saved his biggest shots for owner Charles Wang and GM Garth Snow.

The team has no identity beyond Wang and Snow’s shtick. There may have been a fair amount of chaos under Ted Nolan, but at least his teams always were in their opponents’ face, and the same for Scott Gordon’s teams until he lost the room.

Now there’s nothing.

They have taken the treadmill to obscurity. They are the team that doesn’t matter.

Ouch. Some Isles fans may want to get angry about how Brooks hammers on the team, but there’s too much truth to get upset with the messenger here. The Islanders are poised to have yet another top-five draft pick this summer and after so many similar picks in the past only John Tavares is showing he was worth it. That’s a dire way to look at things and doesn’t leave Isles fans feeling good about the future.

  1. mrpickled - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM


  2. islandersfan - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    It’s not Thhaaat bad …. Bailey is a favorite of ours and the two D-men only recently came into their own. Who knows maybe next year Bailey wins the Ross while they regress? And the 2010 draft is way too recent to give grades on yet … but early indications on Nino are not bad by any stretch.

    Grabner was jettisoned by two teams last year before finding a home on the island … banking on him to do a repeat performance was hopeful at best.

    That said Okposo has been a major disappointment this year. I don’t know what happened there. While critics of Snow and Wang certainly have their ammo to use most of it is older stuff. Recently they’ve been better … certainly not great but give them credit for not handing out any extremely stupid contracts recently anyways. ( Hello Dipietro)

    • crazemastercraze - Mar 18, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      yeah, its that bad. they can’t and haven’t been able to hang with anyone in the atlantic division for sometime now. wang’s is the the islanders and jones is to the cowboys: losers with money

  3. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    By saying they’re not “that bad” your admitting that they’re bad. You alao know that your desperately reaching for hope whwn you make comments like “they’ve been better lately, at least they haven’t given out stupi contracts lately”. I give you propa for being a real, passionate hockey fan – you must be if your still loyal to a team as bad as your Islanders

  4. alexb64 - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I think Charles Wang is too loyal & trusting with his GM’s, he let Milbury do damage for too long & has yet to even tighten Garth Snow’s leash while he continues using his “The Secret” approach to being a GM because it seems like he believes if he acts like he’s the GM is a Stanley Cup team the universe will make them a Stanley Cup team. I think the perfect owner is one who finds the happy medium between micro managing “hands on” & nothing but delegating. You want an owner who is hands on enough that prolonged failure is surely to get you fired but not sticking their nose in things just because they feel the need to prove they’re in control.

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Don’t confuse ignorance and reluctance to eat a contract as loyalty and trust

    • bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      Actually an well advised to pick a good GM and support him. You are right in supposing Wang made a mistake in keeping Milbury but wrong about Snow. There is no secret here. Snow is following the time-honored strategy of rebuilding through the draft and is doing a much better job at it than Brooks’ ill-informed hatchet job suggests.

    • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      How do you know what Charles Wang does besides sign his players who very much to want to be here.

      Go find me former players who do anything but praise Charles Wang?

      Peca always praises Wang, and Peca ripped Edmonton. Jonsson, Osgood, Yashin. Hunter traded to NJ and the day before the referendum about to be bought out said he was the only one there longer than Wang and he really deserved the referendum be approved.

      Wang did the LH tournament again and got no media for it, he paid for hundreds of kids to be here for a week flying them in from all over the world proving room and board.

      The first time Milbury’s team fell out of contention under Wang’s ownership he resigned.

      Snow has a record past the injures. He made a bad call on Staios in a market where Wisniewski got more money than Tavares.

      Streit-excellent signing.
      Grabner-not same player since groin injury but 35 goals.
      Nielsen more goals, less short-handed one excellent contract, one good.
      Moulson-excellent signing.
      MacDonald contract-excellent
      Roloson-excellent signing.
      Poulin-Nilsson-excellent signings.
      Parenteau-excellent signing.
      Martin-jury out but his scoring has to improve.

  5. mojosmagic - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    How many new assholes must be ripped before changes emerge? Snow and Chang must go.

  6. firstandonlywarning - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    All of the sudden (thats for Family Guy fans) I like Larry Brooks

  7. phillyphever - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Could be worse: they could be the Knicks, Jets or Mets.

  8. bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Larry Brooks wouldn’t know the truth about the Islanders if it jumped up and bit him. He is hardly a guru of anything. He is a NY Ranger beat writer who once or twice a year takes a superficial look at the Islanders and passes it off as truth. To be fair, Joe Yerdon’s “analysis” of the Brooks piece isn’t much better.

    So many “similar picks”, Joe? Garth Snow has had 4 of them. Ryan Strome has done plenty in juniors this year to show he’s worth it. No one would have expected him to be making a difference at the NHL level now. The problem with Nino Niederreiter isn’t that he is a failed pick. It is that he seems to have been rushed into the NHL. Given how difficult power forwards are to develop, the Isles probably would have been better served by giving him another year in Portland and starting him in Bridgeport next season. Questionable development decision? Yes. Proof of poor drafting? No.

    The centerpiece of Brooks’ draft critique is the selection of Josh Bailey. Joe conveniently leaves out Brooks’ focus on Luke Schenn and Cody Hodgson as better alternatives. Schenn is struggling to play 3rd line minutes on a team scarcely better than the Islanders in the standings. In fact, Travis Hamonic, Isles’ late 2nd round pick from that same draft is a MUCH better defenseman. Hodgson’s travails with the Canucks and now the Sabres are hardly suggestive of a superior pick.

    The proof that the Islanders have drafted poorly is that Jeff Skinner is doing better than Niederreiter and Tyler Myers and Erik Karlsson are working out better than Bailey. The late lamented actual draft guru EJ McGuire is rolling over in his premature grave. He would be the first to tell you that drafting 18 year olds is a VERY tricky business. Everyone’s a genius AFTER the fact. The Isles were far from the ONLY team to pass over Skinner, Myers, and Karlsson. Myers was coming off an injury-shortened season and Bailey had an unbelievable season prior to the draft getting 96 points.

    Since then, Bailey’s had his ups and downs and it can be argued that he was rushed into the NHL prematurely. But to assume that the Isles picked poorly because other prospects worked out better than Bailey and Niederreiter is simply shabby journalism that betrays a complete misunderstanding of the NHL draft. I expect that kind of superficial “analysis” from Blowhard Brooks, but I’d hope for better from you, Joe.

    If anyone wants objective proof that the Islanders have, in fact, done a superior job of drafting, look at the Hockey’s Future website. When Snow started this rebuild in the summer of 2008, the Islanders–after the almost total destruction of their prospect pool by Mike Milbury–ranked at or near the bottom. They are now third. Of course, Brooks’ superficial “passing glance” would never extend to the HF website or to the Islander prospect list–much less actually look at any of them play. A brief google search would reveal that they are virtually all tearing it up in juniors and college. But lets not bother Brooks with the facts.

    Brooks’ look at the Isles’ coaching situation is hardly more penetrating than his glance at their draft history. To be fair, apart from Al Arbour, the Isles have not done well with their coaches. He is the only one to be in the position for more than two full years in their 40 year history. If the Isles had a good GM in lieu of Mike Milbury, that might not be the case. He purposely undermined and fired Peter Laviolette after Lavvy had led the team to two straight playoff appearances.

    Ted Nolan had done a good job of getting the most out of the veterans who were on the roster before the rebuild, but he had alienated most of them by the end of his tenure and was tempermentally unsuited to the full rebuild Snow had decided to pursue. Moreover, he was at loggerheads with Snow most of the time. What GM would keep a coach who did not respect him?

    Scott Gordon had done well enough the first few years, but–as Brooks admits–had lost the room and the team was sinking to the bottom of the standings. A move had to be made so Snow went to Jack Capuano, a guy many of the players already knew from his tenure as coach of the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Cappy did an admirable job of turning things around last year and deserved a shot at coaching the team this year. It hasn’t worked out and a coaching change is probably in order this summer, but that doesn’t mean that Snow was wrong in his choices.

    Do the Islanders do everything perfectly? No. They are clueless with regard to public and media relations. They have made a few mistakes in developing players by rushing them into the NHL. But they have done a tremendous job in drafting, much better than the team Brooks is supposed to be covering, the NY Rangers. The apparent decision to cut spending to the bone in the wake of the arena vote defeat last year is penny-wise and pound foolish–but understandable given the arena dilemma.

    In short, the Isles do have their issues, but misguided and superficial analysis such as that offered by Brooks is not helpful. Of course, I’d expect no better from him. I’d hope for better from you, Joe. If anyone is interested in intelligent and honest analysis of the Islanders, I’d refer them to the Lighthouse Hockey blog. A good place to start would be head blogger Dominik’s rebuttal to Brooks’ ill-considered hatchet job.

    • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      John Tavares-Signed
      Kyle Okposo-Signed
      Michael Grabner-Signed
      Josh Bailey-Signed
      Nino Niederreiter-Signed
      Ryan Strome-Signed
      Kirill Kabanov-Signed
      Calvin deHaan-Signed
      Aaron Ness-Signed
      Matt Donovan-Signed
      Frans Nielsen-Signed

      Rolston’s second half and Reasoner’s thirteen goals were good gambles any team would make in UFA. Hated Staios signing and Snow trapped himself bringing back Mottau, Jurcina and Eaton.

      No Islander ELC contract is different than any other clubs ELC. Some players needed callups.

      Looking back, Charles Wang did his job and more, every player key to Snow’s plan was signed, many long term.

    • Joe Yerdon - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      I’d say Brooks’ criticisms of how they’ve handled their draft picks is pretty good. Bailey was rushed and now he’s playing poorly. Nino is rushed into things this season because they need his salary to stay above the floor and he’s either scratched or playing on the fourth line. Those are pretty miserable ways to develop a young player.

      Okposo and Grabner might just be having bad years. Then again, maybe Grabner was a flash in the pan last season. Who knows?

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        By your logic they should have taken Filatov, not traded down for Bailey, Hamonic.

        Why don’t you prove Niederreiter was rushed only because of money when they could have kept Hunter and accomplished the same thing.

        This franchise was spending 45m before there even was a floor and was so far below the cap they traded 4.5m last December with Wisniewski/Roloson for no NHL player contract last year.

        Josh Bailey had sixteen goals two years ago, this year he got stuck with Rolston which did not work.

        Funny how you or Dolan’s boys don’t criticize Jessiman, and the endless line of failed former first round Rag picks.

      • bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

        Brooks’ criticism is superficial and lousy as a result. First, he was wrong in his selection analysis which I note you do not try to continue defending.

        Could Bailey have benefitted from another year in juniors? Maybe. But Brooks focused on him not being allowed to play in the WJCs, something MANY teams are reluctant for their players to do. Bailey was coming off a 96 point campaign & had 5 points in his 9 game look-see. The Isles were depleted of talent and thought he might be ready to make the jump.

        I don’t know that he is a complete bust. His 07-08 numbers were likely inflated by being Taylor Hall’s linemate. His numbers since then have likely been deflated by inferior linemates as NYIFC suggests. He has looked like a worldbeater at times but has been inconsistent. Would more time in juniors have helped? It hasnt for Hodgson.

        I don’t buy the cap floor argument as to Nino. My recollection is that the Isles were more than his $2.795 above the floor at the start of the season. In any event, I have followed his career more closely than most, having begun to attend to him in October, 2009. He has an enormous ego, which is a good thing for an elite athlete, but it can get the better of him. He was VERY disappointed at being sent back last year and Garth undoubtedly felt that it would be best to give him the shot. After his struggles this year, he will likely accept a demotion to Bridgeport more readily in the fall.

        Moreover, if you look at other roster players who have come up through the system, a different picture entirely emerges. Nielsen spent 4 years in the SEL & a year after being drafted before his first full NHL season. Okposo spent two years at UM after being drafted and would have been there longer if the Isles hadn’t been dissatisfied with his development there. BTW, he still has a shot at a 40 point season and Grabs might still get 20 goals, so if that’s what an “bad” season looks like for them, I’ll take it.

        Continuing, Ullstrom, like Nielsen, spent 4 years in the SEL and a year in Bridgeport before being called up. Martin, Cizikas, Hamonic, MacDonald, and Poulin all put a full two years in juniors and played in Bridgeport before getting the call. Nilsson spent two fulll years in the SEL before being brought over. Even if Josh and Nino WERE rushed, they are the exception that proves the rule.

  9. newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    What a shock crap flows downhill. Larry Botta/Chris Brooks and usually picked up by Joe Yerdon who knows nothing about the Isles besides stirring the pot.

    Botta likely wrote half this article for his pal Brooks after he was ripping Wang/Snow a few days earlier on twitter. The same Botta who claims Wang wants media blackout but hired Botta after he resigned and was out of hockey entirely.

    I forgot the Rags played Saturday but knew immediately they lost seeing Brooks clown show.

    Brooks I guess had no interest using his extremely limited Rag space on pointing out Dolan called for a cup in January and this week his own gm said the Pens were the best team in the league.

    Joe Yerdon would never go there either, bad for business.

    It’s the Knicks network and the NYC media ignores the Rags almost as much as the Isles if not for it’s business relationship with the Knick ad dollars who have won less playoff games in the last decade than the Isles.

    This is the same Niederreiter, Brooks noted was second on the Isles in hits less than a month ago playing 4th line minutes.

    So Garth Snow should have drafted Schenn? Funny the call was for Filatov and Snow turned that into Hamonic plus Bailey plus another prospect.

    Parenteau did not need a 20m front-loaded check from James Dolan’s 14m NYC taxpayer exemption from NYC to finance Brad Richards contract who Brooks was against overpaying before he flip-flopped:

    Pareuteau has more points than Richards, who’s had to be signed to play with Gabork but almost never plays there and is looking like the next Drury, Redden, Gomez in the trapping defense.

    Brooks hypocrisy knows no limits.
    Richards may be too rich for Rangers’ blood

    It represents a blow, no doubt. But the truth is, if No. 91 were going to need to be bribed to play Broadway, if it’s about the money rather than the opportunity, the Blueshirts are better off going in a different direction.

    And it is the relationship between Richards and Tortorella that allowed the head coach to sell the owner on front-loading to the count of $20 million over the next 12 months, that allowed the coach to vouch for this player as he never could for anyone else.

    Here is my definition of a good owner in New York: 1) He spends money as recommended by the general manager; 2) He does not meddle.

    Dolan is a good owner of a New York hockey team.
    And he didn’t just stop and wave to the press — he called the Rangers “pretty close” to winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1994.

    Coach John Tortorella’s reaction to that observation?

    “We just have to go about our business. I had my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup, and that’s a bunch of bull[crap],” said Torts after Dolan had vacated the room, to the laughing media.

    Larry Brooks-hypocrisy 101

    Cablevision Rangers one more playoff appearance than NY Islanders since 1997 getting that backing in last April watching Tampa beat Carolina.

    Cablevison Knicks-no playoff wins, one playoff appearance in a decade.

    • Joe Yerdon - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      It’s funny to me that you think I’m in the pocket for the Rangers.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        So why aren’t you critical of a team that since 1997 has been exactly the same as the Islanders? After all if it comes down to record and poor decisions Sather could stock a league with bad contract and poor decisions.

        What’s next you going to do a feature on how great a leader Drury was at Cablevision.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        Mr Yerdon, I write it again.

        Impress us, go spend some money, pick up the telephone and speak to Garth Snow directly, he does many interviews. Not the first time I asked you pick up the phone and go get some direct quotes.

        This stinks of Brooks, Botta shell game/vendetta and you throwing out anything to fill space.

        You got the space here, do some work. Not hard at all.

    • flem12 - Mar 18, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      At least you’re not overly sensitive about it or anything. Your cool, calm, collected & rational approach to being a fan inspires us.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        All I ask is every team is covered the same and the people with agenda’s are singled out.

        Botta has a huge grudge with Snow an agenda against Wang and was ripping both a few days ago, Now Brooks parrots many of Botta’s former knocks on the teams prospects.

        Everytime anything negative comes out on the Isles Joe Yerdon’s front and center to agree while contributing nothing like Botta passed this to him.

        Seems this site has no contacts or no resources to cover teams.

        Botta was the guy doing the sthick on Bailey and the WJC. Brooks is his guy who had has back a year ago with the PHWAOA and is never shy about ripping the Isles, but doing backflips to sell Cablevision’s team for the Post.

  10. flem12 - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I always wondered where delusional Mets fans spent their winters, watching The Isles apparently.

  11. uscthom78 - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I love it when torts tears brooks a million holes.

  12. powerpop18 - Mar 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Larry Brooks is 100% right! The Islanders are beyond pitiful. I’m tired of the excuse each year that this is a young team and mistakes are going to be made. There will be growing pains is the corporate line. Well it’s another year with NO progress and plenty of excuses. I understand that the Islanders are losing money each season, but cutting corners by dismissing their #1 scout (Geordie Clark) and having most of their draft picks under achieve must account for something. Shades of 1972 it’s the hapless Islanders all over again.

    • bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      You seem to have forgotten what followed 1972. You have to go through these pains to build a winner. There is just no easy way or shortcut to it. And Larry Brooks isn’t within ten miles of being right about the Islanders.

  13. taytay099 - Mar 18, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    I never knew Islanders fans were so easily offended and delusional. They sure can talk up a storm about their under performing prospects, GM and healthy scratch Nino.

    • bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      If you knew anything about Islander prospects–which you clearly do not–you would know that they are NOT underperforming. They are uniformly performing VERY well.

      • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        This is all Botta, he was the one going off about Bailey and the WJC a few years ago when no other team sent their first round picks.

    • newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      Niederreiter was a healthy scratch for about three games all season. Delusional would be people who accept lies as truth.

      They could have saved money and a contract year on Niederreiter simply by keeping Comeau.

  14. islesmetsgiantsceltsfan - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I have never been a Larry Brooks fan. Until recently he was basically a Ranger beat writer that occasionally wrote about the league in general. He likes to compare every team to the almighty Rangers and MSG and yet what have the Knicks and Rangers done lately? Yes the Rangers are #1 in the East although Pittsburgh is coming hard and fast and they did it without the leagues best player for most of the season but you will never hear him write that.

    Back to the Isles. Wang has been too loyal to some players and GM’s but not coaches. I always felt his biggest mistake was letting Laviolette go. Since then it has been a revolving door behind the bench yet in the more than 10 years of ownership he basically has had 2 GM’s. Both have made some solid moves but both have made some really poor decisions as well. The reality is they do not have any money. I would like a new owner that says F it, we are going for it even if I lose money to generate interest in getting a new building or moving to Brooklyn. I think Wang honestly has had it fighting Nassau and the TOH and when you include losing tens of millions a year I think he is ready to bail out.

    Brooks seems to think all teams have access to large corporate crowds. The reality is there are maybe 10 teams and probably less that have that access. The Devils are bankrupt. Yes they are more competitive but they don’t have money either. They do that through great drafting, having a great system and the best goalie over the last 20 years. I think when Marty goes, like Rivera of the Yanks you will see a decline in production.

    The isles have been disappointing. I am tired of the losing. I am a former season ticket holder that saw too many losses and felt I could spend money on better things. But the Isles have a passionate fan base. If they can generate life with a new building and 1 or 2 top free agents that would be awesome but they can’t afford it and like others said, drafting 18 year olds is a crap shoot.

    • bcisleman - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      Generally agree except: what good moves did Milbury make? and any new owner is almost sure to move the team out of the NY area. Whatever his faults, Wang is committed to keeping the team here. I think he is waiting for a new or renovated arena before investing more in the team. I think that’s a mistake, but it seems to be his plan.

  15. quebec20152016 - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:21 PM


    Why must we go through this act that the two above posters (yes, you, bcisle and, well, the actual website was the avatar for the other doofus) are run-of-the-mill Islanders fans? These two(?) people above are either paid directly by the Islanders or through another source that depends on the Islanders for business in a peripheral manner.

    Islanders’ employees are the only people defending this organization and this ownership at this point.

    They have the comic chutzpah to try to defame your credibility – why not just tell them ya ain’t buying any seasons – no one is. Just cut right to the heart of it.

    Beware of “fans” whom go on seaman’s yarns a mile long defending a team that has basically been bad for a quarter century.

  16. newyorkislanderfancentral - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    You must go through this from the more knowledgeable Islander fans because Mr Yerdon and this site are too cheap to spend money and provide professional quotes from people associated with the New York Islanders of which I am not one and never will be.

    So instead this site links to a shock jock spouting false gossip in Brooks who’s record of this on all NHL teams speaks for itself and the teams failed former media relations coordinator in Botta, who is so bitter this week is calling for more critical New York Islander coverage but does not cover the team anywhere?

    Botta even took a shot when Nabokov signed and anthing Brooks does on the Isles comes from Botta, who’s job is lob Ranger softballs.

    Josh Bailey was all Botta, who as former failed media relations coordinator decided that he’s a hockey expert and that Bailey was ruined by now going to a WJC in a year no other team send their top picks in the NHL.

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