Thursday, January 8, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

It's not quite 7 am and my eye-sight is still fuzzy. I did manage to feed the dog, feed my daughter, make her lunch and get her off to the bus stop. I made breakfast and tea and sat down with the paper, the computer and the news on.

As I usually do in the early morning, I check this blog for stats and such. Well, this is the first time I've ever had someone take the time to ask ME questions. Very thoughtful, very detailed, VERY INTENSE questions. I figured the least I can do is have the courtesy of answering them. (As there are those I know who don't.)

Okay, well reader, I think much of what you ask is WAY over my head, but I will try.

7th Woman, I like your writing a lot and can tell that you have a gift for writing well; however, I'm wondering, as an Islander fan who believes that change needs to be fostered in the infrastructure of the Islanders, specifically the rapacious and devious Charles Wang, if you've considered taking braver stances on issues surrounding the team. These issues include the following:

1. Lighthouse/Real Estate grab that Wang is trying to get from the Islanders, using the Islanders as a vehicle and, therefore, putting welfare of the hockey team as an ancillary priority.

7th: First, I'd like to say Thank you so much for the compliment. I appreciate it. However, I sense the challenge at hand. In all honesty, I don't know if I'm up to taking braver stances, even though I am well aware that if I did my readership numbers would skyrocket. I'd love to be able to write articles that would cause a ruckus and get 10,000 hits in a day, but it's really not me.

But let's try. Lighthouse "Real Estate grab"? Whoa there. He owns the property already and from what I've seen, it's the local government agencies that are trying to do the "grabbing." Have you sat in some of those meetings? Everyone wants their piece. I was stunned. Every special interest group, every local agency seem to have their hand out. It's a game that I had no idea existed, but that I also don't think there can be a clear winner at.

As far as the Islanders being their "ancillary priority" in some ways, I may agree. There are bigger fish to fry from a corporate standpoint. The team is an entity on it's own and I know they are working hard at making it better.

2. Wang's past track record of cooking the books at CA and his current claims of losing money from the Islanders and NeuLion.

7th: Cooking the books? Oh baby, we call that "creative finance." Many companies, especially large, multi-million dollar ones, operate that way. It's not illegal, it's just 'different.' The Islanders are indeed losing money hand over fist, as well documented by the NHL and the league auditors. NeuLion is a relatively new company, and as most new companies go, they are probably not in the black yet. But I really don't know too much about their financial standings. But I'm sure it will be a profit center. It's too good not to be.

3. His total mismanagement of the hockey operations of the Islanders throughout his stewardship, which is largely due to his placing an ancillary importance on the welfare of the actual hockey club.

7th: Okay then. Mismanagement of hockey ops? Wait, do you remember who was in charge of hockey ops for the first years? Mike Milbury, who I really like as a person, may not have given Charles Wang (at the time, a self proclaimed hockey dummy) the best advice and direction.

Once Mike stepped down and moved into sales, it did seem a little lost. But I don't think the "welfare" of the club was actually ignored. Mishandled at times? Sure. And changing of the guard has caused considerable growing pains. But I think they are subsiding.

4. The habitual usage of Newsday and Islandermania by the NYI to disseminate propaganda, largely by framing issues surrounding the team very narrowly to the point of complete idiocy and contempt for the paying consumer.

7th: I'm sorry, I really had to giggle at this one. You call it "propaganda" and I call it "marketing." Okay, let me let you in on a little secret. I actually work for the advertising agency that is producing those Newsday ads. I'm close friends with the editors who write that "propaganda," and sometimes, they even run it by me before it's sent in for approval. It's not easy to find things to "sell" when you know your product is the lowest one on the food chain. But I actually applaud Chris Dey and his effort to continue to try to market the team and give the fans emotional ownership of it even if we are tanking the season.

As far as IslanderMania goes, I don't venture onto their site that often, but from what I've seen the members bash the team and the front office as much as they offer up information and sales pitches. From a marketing concept, getting involved with the message board was the right thing to do and exactly what many of the other 30 teams do.

5. The connection between "friends" Alphonse D'Amato (member of SMG board) and Charles Wang, whom D'Amato convinced to buy the team.

7th: I wish to God I did know ANYTHING about that! That sounds like a smoking gun of sorts! I only know Alphonse D'Amato from Sons of Italy dinner dances a long, long, LONG time ago. And I know my mother didn't like him much. County politics is so far beyond my scope of knowledge that you may as well ask me about quantum physics, I'll have the same answer: huh?

6. SMG current role with the planning of the new Lighthouse. If they're currently bleeding the Islanders dry, as is the fashionable rhetoric, then why would they be involved after the expiration of the current lease in 2015 at all?

7th: If SMG has ANY role in planning the new Lighthouse, I would indeed like to know because I would have something to say and it would be ... Bullshit! SMG does nothing for the patrons of the Coliseum and their food concessions are inadequate compared to other venues. They have been a thorn in the side of the fans for years. If they have any involvement in a new arena I will puke.

I remember one early morning STH event that SMG sent collectors to the parking booths and only had one open. Traffic on Hempstead Tpke was backed up and we waited and waited to get in and had to pay $6.75 to park. This was very unusual as the early morning events were usually free.

Well, Mike Milbury almost had a stroke when he found out what they were doing. He went downstairs to their offices to "discuss" the situation. He returned with xeroxed vouchers for parking for the game that night.

It was just one little instance of how SMG loved to poke the bear. Besides, SMG has brought in the world's worst wine to the Coliseum and I hate it, and they also raised the price of tea from $2 - $3. Bogus!

So there you have it. My opinions, 45 minutes later. Certainly not what you were expecting, but what my first thoughts are.

Calgary tonight; I hope I can stay awake for it! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go pull out my "colors" for the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a regular reader of this blog, I say "wow" to these comments. It's great that you answered the commenters questions and comments, but I just hope this person gets with it soon!