Tuesday, July 18, 2006
TSN is reporting new Isles GM Neil Smith is now old Isles GM Neil Smith.
Neil Smith is no longer general manager of the New York Islanders.
Sources tell TSN the Islanders are expected to make a formal announcement to that effect shortly.
It is not clear whether Smith quit or was fired, but sources have confirmed he is no longer the GM of the hockey club.
There were rumblings that Smith wasn’t happy with Islanders owner Charles Wang’s announcement that he, not Smith, chose the coach of the team, and he was concerned over control.
We’ll see what comes next.
The Yankees had the Bronx Zoo, is this the beginning of the Long Island Game Farm?
Update 145pm: Just more feedback coming my way about Smith’s lack of control. Coach Ted Nolan supposedly has more influence over the team than Smith did. The roster the Islanders are putting together could indicate that, or they could also indicate a GM putting together a team that’s suitable for his coach. Nolan’s previous gig in Buffalo and his relationship with then Buffalo GM John Muckler (and a power struggle) will no doubt be brought up by many.
Is Mike Milbury back? Did he ever leave?
Update 215pm: Lots of similar emails. All focus on Smith’s lack of control and how this was a quicker leave than expected. The former Islanders brought in (LaFontaine, Trottier) do have influence on the team and Trottier’s never made his front office aspirations a secret. Could he take over?
What might be relieving to some Islanders fans is the word that former GM and Wang buddy Mike Milbury has not been involved and most likely won’t be.
Update 235pm: TSN now says Smith was fired.
Sources tell TSN the Islanders fired Smith, but it’s unclear at this point why.
The team announced that they have fired Smith and have hired former Islanders goaltender Garth Snow as the new general manager.
“I spoke with Garth at length throughout the spring about the general manager’s position and he really impressed me with his passion and his knowledge,” said Islanders owner Charles Wang.
“When the job opened up, the choice was an easy one. Garth knows the league as well as anyone, has an eye for talent and understands how our staff works as a team. Most importantly, Garth is a man of integrity, someone I trust will work hard, be creative and represent the Islanders with dignity.”
A fresh GM will take a lot of advice from his staff, including Nolan, who likes to have a lot of input. I wasn’t expecting Nolan to actually grab the GM post, if for no other reason than to avoid nasty PR.
Snow joins a hockey operations staff that also includes head coach Ted Nolan, senior advisor Pat LaFontaine, player development director Bryan Trottier, chief amateur scout Tony Feltrin and pro scouting director Ken Morrow.
Will Snow be able to grab some control of the team? Can this turn into a “too many cooks” scenario? Or is this simply Ted Nolan’s team with a supporting cast?
Update 355pm: Charles Wang will be on WFAN at 605pm et. You can listen live through their website. Correction: Wang will be on at 605, not 645.
Update 445pm: Just a reminder: Snow didn’t retire until today. One of the things he must do now is replace himself and find a backup goaltender. Snow was to make $750,000 US as part of the Islanders roster. Wade Dubielewicz, who was called up if Snow or starter Rick DiPietro would get hurt, could get a call. Dubielewicz is currently an unrestricted free agent. Dubielewicz was 2-3 in 7 games for the Islanders during the 2005-06 season and had a 2.90 goals against average.
Update 605pm: Wang, on WFAN, states that he wants to run the team like a business, like having a board of directors.
Wang stated he was clear about the fact that this is how he wanted to run things, and because of this philosophical difference Smith was let go (and better now than later).
Wang added that the signings were from a mix of opinions.
Chris Russo insists that sports teams aren’t successful with Wang’s business model way of thinking and Wang answers that he thinks this method can work.
Russo says that he doesn’t understand how Snow has been put in the position of decision making and Wang’s counter argument is that he’s surrounded by many good hockey minds.
The conversation keeps going back to Wang’s team management concept.
Wang named Bill Torrey as someone he sometimes consults with, but did not say whether or not he agrees with this method of management.
More back and forth about Wang’s management concept and trying to do something differently.
Wang said Gary Bettman didn’t really push him one way or another.
Wang said he trusts Snow and that they [his management team] will work with him to help him in his new GM spot.
Wang admits risk in trying this, but says he just wants to be upfront and honest about it all.
Update 710pm: A picture floating around the web purportedly of the Islanders new GM. Face is partially covered, you be the judge. mini-update Jul 19 210am: From the comments on VCOE we have another pic with Snow smiling. Is that Snow’s place? It looks like those are his jerseys in the background.
Update 1025pm: It’s not over yet. Pat Lafontaine, a “senior adviser”, informed owner Charles Wang he’s resigning. There’s no word if anyone else has jumped ship yet, but it would certainly be ironic if anyone else left and Snow is left to fend for himself - which is exactly what Smith wanted in the first place.
Lafontaine was someone who supposedly had a good amount of influence in the organization. Apparently he did not approve of today’s changes.
Update 1135pm: Newsday has more on the Lafontaine situation:
LaFontaine does not want to abandon Nolan and told Wang last night that he will be willing to help the club in whatever way Nolan might need. LaFontaine made it clear that he will help Wang’s many charitable endeavors.
But LaFontaine had advised Wang to take 48 hours before making any final decision about Smith. He then suggested that the owner let the dust settle and not name a replacement today, the source said. After Wang ignored both bits of advice, LaFontaine “decided this was not the right time and place for him,” the person said.
I also want to point everyone to an article by John Kreiser, Isles look at their future, about the two most recent first round draft picks by the Islanders. It’s good to have at least something positive out there for Islanders fans.
I’m also looking into whether or not Snow’s contract will count against the cap due to his age.
Update 1155pm: For those thinking Milbury had anything to do with Smith’s firing, Newsday’s Alan Hahn has this tidbit:
One person who surprisingly came to Smith’s defense, Wang said, was former general manager Mike Milbury, who has remained with the Islanders as senior vice president but is no longer involved in hockey operations. Wang said Milbury tried to convince him to give Smith more time. Wang said he couldn’t wait.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Chris Pronger just had a conference call. He backhandly denied the affair rumor, but his explanation for leaving Edmonton was non-existent. He did nothing to quash almost any of the rumors about why he requested a trade.
They’re going to open the phonelines on 630 CHED, and I’m sure it’s going to be amusing. You can listen online:
Update: After an odd call or two, then some polite ones saying fans shouldn’t boo him, a couple of fans finally point out that the conference call settled nothing. One called it a “waste of time”.
I do have to agree that if it’s just his family wanting out, it’s hard to tell a city that you don’t want to be there, and I can respect family before your job; but few are going to accept “presonal reasons” as an answer, and it never really got past that. I’m sure it’s not a fun situation to be in and it’s going to be quite a circus his first game back in Edmonton.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Expanding on this Islanders-related post, here’s the info about the Islanders’ season ticket holder renewal packet:
Big picture of Rick DiPietro on the front.
A page with 4 pictures of Jason Blake, Alexei Zhitnik, Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter.
Another page with 4 pictures of Sean Bergenheim, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais, and Robert Nilsson.
There is also a picture, a “collage”-type thing with pictures of fans, an Ice Girl, Satan, Snow and Godard with a kid, and DiPietro in action.
Also included is a letter: “from the crease” of Rick Dipietro and a *censored* head shot of DP that the letter says to bring to get signed at a season ticket holder event.
No Yashin anywhere to be found. I also spoke to my season ticket representative who said they had another promotional packet of some kind that also had no mention of Yashin.
Interesting indeed. I did censor my friend’s Ozzie Guillen-like adjective, but you get the idea.
I haven’t seen either of the packets personally and I should point out Yashin’s absence doesn’t necessarily mean a buyout is coming. It could simply mean the Islanders organization doesn’t consider him a player that’s going to help sell season tickets.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The Islanders have the seventh pick at today’s draft. Once touted as a #1 overall, North Dakota’s Phil Kessel is now ranked #5. Needing two surprise picks for the Islanders to be able to pick him up isn’t completely unheard of, something Alan Hahn notes in today’s Newsday. Some other possible Islanders picks:
The Islanders love 6-2, 205-pound center Peter Mueller, an American who played for Everett (WHL), but it is believed the Columbus Blue Jackets, who pick sixth, plan to take him. It leaves the Islanders with options such as 5-10 center Bryan Little of Barrie (OHL), 6-4 Swedish center Patrik Berglund or defensemen such as 6-4, 226-pound Nigel Williams, who is from the U.S. development team, or Bob Sanguinetti of Owen Sound (OHL).
Hahn also notes that there’s little expectation of any big deals, a definite change from the Milbury era.
However, and this is a big however - but not something the Islanders have to move on today - a friend called to let me know the Islanders season ticket holders renewal package has gushing pictures of Rick Dipietro, Trent Hunter, Miroslav Satan and even Shawn Bates. A noticable absentee is Alexei Yashin. Whether or not a buyout is coming, it’s obvious it’s being mulled over. Word is owner Charles Wang is being pressured to write that enormous check, but is hesitant for many reasons. Perhaps he can ask tennis partner Carol Alt what she thinks of it.
Another random Islanders-related thought: if you’re looking for a player to step it up under the new Ted Nolan regime, keep your eye on Sean Bergenheim. Nevermind the European stereotypes, the kid plays with a ton of heart and he’s exactly the kind of player who earns ice time and seems to rack up points under Nolan’s system. Well, that’s as long as Nolan doesn’t change his style much to fit into the “new” NHL.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
The Tie Domi buyout rumors are everywhere. The Gazette is alreadying giving him a potential spot to play if the Leafs do buyout his contract:
And was that Tie Domi breaking bread with Sheldon Souray at a popular spot on the Main, which hasn’t lost its liquor licence?
There are hints the Toronto Maple Leafs are prepared to buy out the remaining two years on Domi’s contract and suggestions that he might be the kind of character guy Gainey and Carbonneau prize.
Of course, the Canadiens have already signed Arron Downey for a year. His lockerroom presence is supposedly a large reason for why they brought him back.
Domi is widely popular in Toronto and a master of media manipulation there. Montreal is another hockey-crazy city that he could test his off-ice skills in. Downey, like Domi, is not one to shy away from a microphone, and having both an I-can-still-do-it Domi and I-want-to-play-more Downey at a camp together could be entertaining, if nothing else.
Apparently Jose Theodore’s girlfriend wasn’t fond of him gettin’ all up on Paris Hilton. TQS is reporting Stephanie Cloutier has ended their long-term relationship and other French language news sites are soaking it up (here, here and well, just Google News the thing); not that the English are ignoring it. Theodore and Cloutier have a 3-month old daughter.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Over on hockeyfights.com forums the Player Movement and Rumors forum is obviously very active today. The moderators are doing a great job keeping it clean and easy to read.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Mark Parrish has been traded from the New York Islanders. I bet you’d like to know which team he’s on now. Me too, but that information isn’t available yet.
See, RDS is reporting just that: Parrish has been traded, but they don’t know which team the Islanders traded with.
To roughly translate:
The trade occurred early Tuesday night and it’s not known which team he will continue his career with.
For reference: Google’s translation of the entire page (from French to English).
Update 930am: TSN is reporting Parrish hasn’t been traded… yet.
Update 300pm: I’d like to point out that there is no mention of the trade anymore on RDS. Apparently, one can post a rumor as news, let another branch of the news organization make a retraction (without any source being specifically named), and then just ignore it like it never happened.
Update Mar 8 800pm: Mark Parrish was traded to the LA Kings. The full deal was Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel for Denis Grebeshkov, Jeff Tambellini and a conditional third-round pick in the 2006 draft.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
News reports are linking Rick Tocchet to a gambling ring. Along with Tocchet, Janet Jones (Wayne Gretzky’s wife) and Mark Recchi are also being named as people possibly involved. Supposedly a dozen players have placed bets within this ring.
TSN - Investigation could be NHL’s worst nightmare
not even on the front page or the main NHL story
- update: shortly after writing this espn.com made this story a blurb on the front page; an Olympic story is still the main story on the NHL front page
Sportsline - not only a blurb on the front page, but they’re currently listing the exact minute the story was last updated
Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated are both carrying the AP story
Vancouver Canucks Op Ed
Kukla’s Korner has multiple entries about it already
The Battle of Alberta (with separate post about Janet Jones)
The Puck Stops Here
Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic
Abel to Yzerman (more from A2Y)
Kukla quotes the NHL’s Bill Daly:
“While we know little more than has been released publicly, we understand that Mr. Tocchet’s conduct in no way involved betting on hockey. And, while betting on football or other sports may be the pervasive issue, it in no way justifies poor judgment or otherwise alleged inappropriate conduct.
“With respect to the alleged conduct of the unnamed players, it is difficult to have any comment at this point, although everything we have heard, again, indicates it is not hockey-related.”
The non-hockey betting is important. Very important, as no one can go on a “fixing” tear.
From the Post article:
Unlike the NFL, the NHL does not ban players from betting on team sports—other than hockey—or associating with gamblers. Six of the firm’s handicappers told the newspaper that Roenick paid for tips on football and basketball.
I’m sure there’s more embarassment to come, but I’m not sure it’s as apocalyptic as some are thinking it will be. The main story here will be the alleged mob ties. Roenick used offshore firms that had ties to internet casinos, this is where the story is a whole different ballgame.
Update 530pm: A couple of more links were added.
Tonight’s Coyotes game is on OLN and Tocchet is supposedly going to be behind the bench. OLN has a chance to dig into this story. If no attempt is made to talk to Tocchet or anyone else in the Coyotes organization about this story OLN will be seen as soft and just producing fluff. Tonight’s game is an opportunity to enhance the network’s reputation - let’s see if they take it.
Related-thought: this has obviously brought the NHL to the front of the sports pages. Is any publicity good publicity?
Update 950pm: More links added. Also, Tocchet is not behind the bench for the Coyotes tonight.
Update 1030pm: CNN.com has this as a main headline (not “the” main headline) on the front of the site. The title? “Gretzky’s wife named in gambling ring”. Of course, you can see by the url name that it’s the standard Rick Tocchet AP article, but that’s not as fun a headline for the general public, is it?
Kukla also writes how OLN didn’t dive into the story at all. A missed opportunity. It’s rare a story is delivered on a platter like this, and it’s a shame it was handled with kid gloves. The next time something huge happens with a member of an organization that’s going to be on OLN that night (if it ever happens again) - how many will be tempted to tune in after last night’s coverage?
Major Stories • Operation Slapshot • NHL • Rumors
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Thursday, January 19, 2006
Eric Cairns was traded to the Penguins yesterday. A good move in my opinion. They need some big defensemen, and they certainly need someone to protect Sid the Kid more.
But can he play?
From TSN’s Cairns page:
18-Jan-06: Broken ankle, late February.
I watched him practice today and I talked to him in the locker room afterward and he was walking around. I never got any indication he had any sort of injury
This wouldn’t be the first time TSN had a phantom transaction listed this season. Within a few hours we should know. I’ll either hear back from the team, or Cairns will (should?) be in the Pens lineup tonight.
Update: Cairns is playing in the Rangers-Pens game tonight.
Update Fri 215pm: The Penguins have confirmed Cairns is not injured.