Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Reader Email

I got an email today from a good friend in Mr. Michael Elves. Michael runs a blog call Ear To The Sound, a fantastic music blog that features a lot of independent and lesser-known musical tidbits. Michael is the program director at UMFM 101.5, the University of Manitoba's student-run radio station. He is also a huge hockey fan, and regularly reads my blog... so he tells me. Mike is a new dad - congratulations, buddy! - so his time is limited, but he sent me a great hockey article today via email about the New York Islanders' plight on Long Island when it comes to getting Charles Wang's Lighthouse Project off the ground.

Scott Reeves, a writer at Minyanville.com, penned a sobering view as to why the Islanders might be doomed when it comes to even buying a box of black pens for their accountants. Reeves lists the Islanders as an "At Risk Team" in his article, and he may be right based on a number of factors.

First off, the $3.7 billion price tag hanging on the Lighthouse Project in this day of closing banks, foreclosures, and stimulus packages might be a little on the outrageous side. While Charles Wang has committed to paying half of the cost of this out of his own pocket, that leaves the three levels of government with a $1.85 billion bill. And I'm not too sure that anyone in the state of New York or in Washington, DC is too excited about that invoice.

Secondly, there aren't that many fans on or around Long Island that care about the Islanders. This is a team that last won a Stanley Cup in 1983 - 26 years ago. The last won an NHL Playoff series in 1993 - 16 years ago. They've traded away talent over and over again, and have little to nothing to show for it. If you're an Islanders fan - and there aren't many left - it's been a long time since you have something to be positive about. And this problem starts at the top of the management hierarchy.

However, there are some positives amongst all the dark clouds. John Tavares is your first highlight and the new cornerstone of the Islanders. Let me be clear, though: he's not going to right this ship in one season. Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, and Bruno Gervais are the foundation of this team. If GM Garth Snow is serious about rebuilding the Islanders, this is Year One of the Five-Year Rebuilding Plan. The youthful talent is starting to come around. Much like the building Los Angeles Kings and now-successful Pittsburgh Penguins, it will take time to mold these youngsters into a competitive, successful team.

Secondly, Chris Botta of the fantastic Islanders Point Blank blog reports that New York State Governor David A. Paterson is throwing his support behind the Lighthouse Project as the August 4 hearing with the Town of Hempstead nears. This is a huge boost for the Wang-Rechler team as they get the support from the state government in their project. While there is no guarantee that this will push the project through, his support does carry significant weight for the proceedings.

Islanders fans have had many reasons to hang their heads over the last 15 years. However, it appears there may be sunlight peeking over the horizon after seeing this franchise stuck in what seemed like eternal darkness. While I'm not suggesting that the Islanders are out of the woods yet in their fight to become profitable, there are breaks in the trees.

If there is still hope in Islanders fans, there is a chance that the Islanders can be moved off the endangered species list. But it will take time to right the ship.

How much longer are the fans of the Islanders willing to wait?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

I agree that Tavaras can't fix things on his own. Until the Caps surrounded Ovechkin with Semin, Green, Backstrom, etc...there wasn't much to watch other than him. That took a LOT of draft picks and a lot of luck. Do the Isles have the time to try to devlop that? Based on the Caps and Pens rebuild around their stars, we're looking at 3 years before they can start to compete. Can they survive that long?

Texas Youth for Political Awareness said...

Despite the bleak outlook Dan, the Isles do have several players already drafted that could eventually be Tavares' Semin, Green, and Backstrom. Travis Hamonic, Corey Trivino, Aaron Ness, and Josh Bailey (as he continues to develop) will eventually be a strong backing cast.

But I do agree with you, it'll be a couple of seasons before that cast is ready to be in the big leagues (most of us probably know Josh Bailey wasn't fully ready for the NHL last season), and the big question is whether they have enough time.

TheMetalChick said...

Brooklyn Hockey Boy: Not to mention Kyle Okposo... who is a great young kid and definitely worth a mention in a list like that! And he is still a really young kid- I mean, I even have a pic here of him holding a teddy bear ;)

It really is great to see some attention paid here to my boys on LI- and to our struggle to get them the arena they deserve. Our struggle is not for money or funding (they already have that) it is instead a struggle through the bureaucratic mess and political pinball that unfortunately exemplifies Long Island, NY.

Believe me, we could use all the support we can get. Go here to learn more about what we are doing:

And, if you really want to help us, please write a quick e-mail to the Town of Hempstead and tell them how important the Lighthouse project is. It does not matter where you live, any and all support will definitely help us. Here is their e-mail:

(Please include "Comments on Lighthouse" in your subject line)

Rock on :)

Texas Youth for Political Awareness said...

TheMetalChick: Good point, I forgot that Kyle was so young. Probably because aside from Mark Streit, who produced 40 assists out of seemingly nowhere, Okposo was the Isles leading scorer and best player.

Teebz said...

The Islanders have gone through tough times, kids, but I'm thinking that Garth Snow might actually believe in nurturing and developing talent unlike Mad Mike Milbury.

I like the look of this team, and I think they will improve this season. However, you're all right in that they are still a couple of years away at least.

Great comments, everyone!

Texas Youth for Political Awareness said...

And thank you Teebz, for posting the blogs that inspire such comments. Yet another good post.