Picture ARod going on Fox in the middle of this Yankees playoff series, and saying he hears that Joe Girardi will be fired no matter what. Or Ron Duguay going on MSG Network early in this Rangers season, and declaring that Rick Nash will be traded before Christmas.
This just doesn't happen. Usually, former athletes straddle the line in their broadcast jobs when talking about their old teams.
But this is Islanders Country, where…oh, for once, can everybody just leave this franchise alone?
What all-time great Mike Bossy is doing, sharing contract and trade rumors about John Tavares on Montreal radio, is not simply torching his own relationship with the Islanders and many of his and their wounded and bewildered fans. It's just flat-out wrong. Please, Michael, consider stopping the madness.
What's going on here? Hard to say for sure. Bossy had a job with the team in corporate sales over the last decade. I worked with Bossy for a few years and was blown away by his commitment. Instead of just serving as the legend-in-residence and shaking hands and posing for selfies, Bossy took so much pride in his sales work. He pitched business, set up meetings, and closed deals. Bossy sold well, but Boss being the 50-in-50 perfectionist, he always thought he should be doing better. The Hall of Fame player was a wonderful employee and colleague.
Speculation is that when the Islanders' off-ice business was turned over a few years ago to the people who run the Barc, they didn't want Bossy in his sales role. They just wanted him to be Mike Bossy, No. 22. Apparently the arrangement ended and Bossy isn't selling anymore. From time to time, he still attended community and alumni events.
Whether there are lingering hard feelings with the team is unknown. I wrote Bossy recently, looking to talk and try to understand, but haven't heard from him yet. It's much more important that he have an honest conversation with the only NHL franchise he played for in a remarkable career.
Knowing his commitment to everything he does, Bossy's decision to drop Tavares rumors on the radio may be nothing more than giving an audience what he thinks it wants, or saying something riveting so dopes like me give it attention.
Whatever his motive, it's ridiculous and possibly harmful. Tavares has got to be wondering, WTF. Garth Snow would have every right to be livid. If Jon Ledecky hasn't already reached out to Bossy to ask what's up, he should soon.
A former fringe player or, say, an ex-PR guy lighting a match to his relationship with the GM because he attempts to speak the truth in the media is not a big deal. It happens, everyone lives with the fallout and you move on.
But this is Mike Bossy. Local legend. The best goal scorer we've ever seen. A really unique, smart, good and caring person.
Bossy and the Islanders need to talk and figure this out - not just to settle the Tavares issue, but because this is Mike Bossy and the New York Islanders.
Today's Tweeted Question
@IslanderJunkie asked: How does Ryan Pulock gain confidence and improve if he just sits on the bench? His upside has to be way higher than Mayfield, Pelech or Seidenburg.
Despite his first round pedigree, there has always been some concern about Pulock's pace at the NHL level, his ability to make smart decisions and, oh, play better defense. These concerns remain in the NHL, no matter how many goals he has scored in the AHL or how many times he's let one rip in the show. Yes, his booming shot would be useful on the struggling power play. But unlike Brian Compton, a dear friend and President of the Pulock Fan Club, I do not share in the overheated passion for this subject.
Doug Weight's job is to win games. He and his assistants decided that Pulock was not good enough to crack his top-six in these first three games. He's probably 8th on the depth chart in their minds.
These questions about confidence often come up about prospects. The franchise has a responsibility to develop the player, and I trust they're doing their best for Pulock. But often when I'm asked about some poor kid perceived to be getting scratched unfairly, my reaction is, How 'bout the kid embrace the challenge, work harder and do his part to become a better hockey player?
If he's any good, it will work out.
Snapshots of…Richard Pilon
(whereby in some columns I share the first few personal memories that pop into my head of figures in Islanders history)
- Legendary Ch. 5 "Sports Extra" sportscaster Bill Mazur just assumed he was French and would refer to him on air as "ReeSHARD Pee-Law." Rich is from St. Louis, Saskatchewan.
- Although all of his talents were on the defensive end, Pilon incredibly racked up seven assists in his first seven NHL games, including a fivegame assist streak (thanks to Eric Hornick, the expert on all things Islanders and stats, for confirming). It was the oddest thing. He had seven assists the rest of that season, and never had more than seven in any other season as an Islander.
- But boy, was he ferocious. Richie threw himself into every opponent and in front of every puck. The other guys hated playing against him. I can't think of anyone to compare him to today, in terms of sheer guts.
- When he came back to the Coliseum as a Ranger, he couldn't wait to tell me how generous Garden ownership was compared to the various Islanders owners back then. He genuinely seemed shocked that when he asked the travel guy at the Rangers for Broadway tickets, they comped him, whereas I needed to get his credit card.
- Rich Pilon was a monster on the ice, an exceptionally kind guy off it, and I'll always appreciate everything he did for the Islanders.
Josh Ho-Sang getting scratched on opening night was baffling, but as mentioned here last week, this story merits watching until/if he becomes a fixture somewhere on the top three lines. The Islanders' top three lines.
Unrelated, has Nikolay Kulemin really done enough as an Islander to be guaranteed a lineup spot every game? He's as inconsistent as any of the kids. Kulemin is 31.
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