Monday, May 17, 2010
The Best & Worst of the Isles Season
I’ve had this last portion of my sit-down with Garth Snow in my digital recorder now for more than a month. Perhaps I resisted working on it because it truly would mean “The End” of the season. Or perhaps I was just caught up in the day-to-day hell that is my life. Either way, I closed our interview with asking what he felt the worst memory he had of this past season. I thought perhaps he would take a second and think of the injuries, or the stretch of losses or even having me electronically tugging on his sleeve every day, but he didn’t hesitate.
“The worst memories that I have are obviously falling short and not making the playoffs. That’s always a disappointment.” It’s a disappointment for a lot of people. But he didn’t miss a beat and continued.
“That being said, I think there are a lot of positives that we can take out of the season. When you look at the development of John, Kyle and Josh; us picking up Robbie Schremp off waivers; Dwayne Roloson’s performance, Mark Streit still playing at an all-star level -- You know, there’s a lot of positives. And you can’t lose sight of the fact that we not only had a 19, 20 and 21-year-old in our line-up, we had a 19, 20 and 21-year-old playing significant minutes. And those guys are just going to keep getting better. For me, that’s exciting and as I said before, it’s an exciting time to be an Islander fan because we do have a bright future and these young guys are just going to keep getting better.”
Yes, the future looks bright. If you don’t buy into the rumors swirling this off-season.
While the Islanders certainly have improved this season, I asked Garth if perhaps there was anything he wished he would have done differently. This time, he did take a moment. "Well, hindsight is always 20-20 when you have the opportunity to reflect back. But in this business, as in life, you never stop learning."
I'm sure fans that coach from their couches may have a list of moves they would have made if they were in his shoes. But no one can be certain if any change would have actually resulted in a more positive impact on the Islanders record. Moreover, the continued success of prospect development in the Bridgeport system is a testament to positive strides the Islanders organization is making.
I was bold enough to mention how some (obviously disgruntled) fans believe the Islanders won’t spend more than they have to in order to ice a team. I was even so bold as to use the word “cheap.” I poked the bear a little.
“For people that say that we don’t make decisions for the right reasons… We wouldn’t make a decision to put $3 million in the AHL... A team doesn’t sign Mark Streit for $20million. A team doesn’t spend $2 or $3 more million on a goalie…” Okay, I think I struck a nerve.
“I know that we are pretty close to the (cap) floor, but when you have young players in the lineup, that’s a by-product. I didn’t want to bring in a high priced free agent last summer because I wanted Kyle Okposo to play 20 minutes a game. I wanted Josh Bailey to play 16-17 minutes a game. We felt Matt Moulson was a better alternative than other bigger name free agents that were out there July 1st.” And I thank him for that. I’m sure JT does too.
According to an article in the Long Island Press by Michael McEnaney, the 5 moves the fans want the GM to make to improve the Islanders are:
1) draft wisely
2) add size up front
3) fix the goalie go-round
4) add nastiness at “D”
and 5) find an experienced sniper.
I’m sad to tell Mr. McEnaney that Mr. Snow had not read his article.
“I can’t disagree. We’re obviously going to try to add size to our line-up. There’s going to be an open spot in our roster for a player like Matt Martin. I think the performance of Trevor Gillies and what he brought on a day-to-day basis was a positive for our club and I have re-signed him.”
Trevor was given a one year extension and it is a two way contract. “Hey, in a perfect world I would love to have all our "D" be 6’4”, 230 lbs, can skate like the wind and be all-stars, but the free agent class might not be as conducive to have those types of players. But we will try to get bigger. Fully, I agree on that point.”
As someone who is just about breaking that 5’ mark, I guess I should invest in a microphone on a stick for next season to do interviews with if I’m going to be in a room full of giants. The range on this recorder won’t cut it.