Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tavares: Committed to the Organization & the Community

*told ya I hide in the back!

Yep, it was important enough for a LOT of the NY media to be ... on Twitpic  7:35 am:  Oh look!  Josh Bailey DID sign over night.  Two years is better than a year in the Ukraine, right?

Most of the details had already been posted. The information was published in multiple places, so there was little we didn't know by 1 pm. But the room was filled any way. Yes, signing the NHL 1st over all draft pick was big news in the hockey world. So much so that it was covered by every Canadian sports radio station all morning long and even NBC's veteran sportscaster Bruce Beck (it took me 25 minutes to find his name)made the trek to Uniondale.

After all the speculation, John Tavares made sure it was clear what his intentions for his future are. With a year remaining on his entry-level agreement, John and his agent forged a six year extension that should put all the questions to rest.

Canada's favorite son would continue to skate in an Islanders sweater -- whether Canada liked it or not.

When there is a room full of MSM like this, I tend to stay quiet and let those being paid to do their jobs actually do them. I always come armed with what I believe will be a question or two that no one else will ask. Because it takes me so long to develop something out of the ordinary, should someone else come close to it, I'm screwed. However, today I came armed with a doozy.

While I was waiting for soon-to-be-retired editor of IslandersPointBlank to be interviewed on Fan 590 Toronto, I listened as Jeff Blair and his co-host ungraciously condemned the New York Islanders.

In all honesty, my fan heart couldn't take it. I jotted down notes on a paper towel because I couldn't find a note pad. I didn't want to make a mistake as I wanted to repeat the phrases verbatim to John Tavares. They were amazed that JT, a good Canadian boy, would want to sign for such an extended period of time with such an "insignificant" franchise where "no one will ever see" him play and no one will care.

I waited for a good portion of the reporters to walk away from JT, the reporters I didn't know. Then I stood waiting to ask my question as Katie Strang, now representing ESPN, stood next to Art Staple asking a question that was an excellent lead in to mine. "Did it bother you at all that people speculated that you wouldn't stay here?" He answered that he didn't understand it.

I was interrupted once and after JT gave his typically well-thought and thorough answer to the gentleman next to me, I pounced.

"John, this is in line with Katie's last question..." I spoke loud enough so that no one else would step over me. I explained what Jeff Blair and his co-host said and asked what he would answer had he been on the phone.

It was the first time I've ever seen Katie Strang's eyes pop when I spoke and JT's reaction was one of bracing himself to answer as he thought about what a fellow countryman had just said about the place he chose to develop his career.

"That's just very disappointing. I think it's a wrong judgment about our organization. Charles is a great owner, he's great to all of us. Garth has been great to all of us. We are treated with a lot of respect and dignity. They give us an opportunity to play and compete and they want us to win. We're building this the right way. We're taking our time and now it's starting to show. This is a big year for us, obviously. So, I'm sure once we start winning and we're more successful on the ice people will start to notice us a little more and know what we're all about."

What they are all about is commitment. Whether Nassau County is committed to the Islanders doesn't matter right now. As of today, everyone knows that John Tavares is committed to the team that drafted him.

Garth Snow entertained the media in his usual quiet style leaving all reporters struggling to get their recorders and microphones as close to him as possible. Everyone was very respectful of the general manager, but when the camera lights were off, Art Staple and Katie Strang pressured about Josh Bailey's contract status. There were no real answers coming, but they had to ask. It's their job. I didn't dare even look the GM in the eye after that and scurried off so as not to get caught in the cross-fire should the conversation continue.

As of 11 pm, there is no word of Josh Bailey's contract even though all reports were that Bailey's agent and Garth Snow were holding discussions this evening.

Back to my fan heart: Tick-freakin'-tock Josh. You know the deal.

Considering how well this team is shaping up with Okposo, Moulson, Grabner, and Tavares all signed and happy, your window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

And as a side note; I check Ms. Strang's entry and saw that she called me a "reporter." Considering how well she knows me -- I'm honored (and a little shocked.)

1 comment:

The Queen of the Court said...

The MSM has nothing on you, Dee! Great job!