The lead today comes from…Today's Tweeted Question:
@SP19hockey asked, "12 years of Snow. Love Game of Thrones but that's TOO much winter for Isles. Any chance at change of season?"
If ownership was going to make a move, it would have been during last season's first-half pratfall, or immediately after the playoff-less season. Garth Snow appeared with Jon Ledecky at the "Blinders for Belmont" press luncheon last week. He's clearly Ledecky's guy.
Snow has sold ownership, as he did their predecessors, on the "future." Where once it was top-five picks Nino Niederreiter, Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Strome, and Michael Dal Colle, he'll point to his newest crop of hopefuls like Joshua Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, and Anthony Beauvillier, and to the draft picks he acquired from Calgary. It's doubtful that he's had to answer much for past failures.
Snow was hired in 2006. Of course, he should have been let go by now. Based on his time on the job and lack of success by virtually any measure, there really isn't an argument to be made otherwise.
But this is the Islanders. Charles Wang adored Snow and gave him every chance to succeed. And then when Snow didn't, Wang generously delayed the transition of majority ownership to Ledecky and Scott Malkin by two years to give Snow two more shots at forward progress. (There wasn't much precedence in the modern-day history of professional sports for that one). Apparently winning one more playoff round than his predecessor was considered a major accomplishment.
Last season, the team was mismanaged in the offseason and in-season. Snow's biggest sin was that he held on to his coach, Jack Capuano, way too long and only relieved him because a coaching change was a chance to save his own job. Snow survived. If there was any question about how golden Snow is with ownership, he even survived that bizarre search for a President of Hockey Operations that was never completed.
Even four, five years into the job, Snow never hesitated to defend himself by telling people that he was left with a bare cupboard -- even while other teams were retooling and winning. What he says to explain the lack of success after eleven years, I have no idea. Whatever it is, it's working.
And yes, I am aware of the speculation that Wang gave Snow a very long-term contract before the new majority owners were in power. Although it would not be a shock to find that's true, considering the lengths Wang had already gone to protect Snow, I have not been able to confirm the rumor.
Even if true -- no matter how big the contract is -- it wouldn't be a good enough reason to have someone running your team that you didn't want to. These men are trying to save a franchise and build a new arena. You wouldn't let a GM's contract affect your decision-making.
The bottom line is this: In 2017-18, the biggest season in Islanders history, Ledecky and Malkin have decided that Snow should run the team. If the Islanders re-sign Tavares, or if they trade him, Snow has been entrusted with the steering wheel.
At this moment, you couldn't have more job security than Garth Snow.
Thankfully, no one today has to hear the narrative of "This game means more to the Islanders than the Rangers." It has forever been a twisted, media-invented notion; like really, the Rangers' players care less about the game than the Islanders? Do they care more about, say, that game next week against someone else?
Both teams need this one tonight -- not just a point, but a win. The Islanders have won two of six, the Rangers just one of seven. Doug Weight's 0-for-20 power play has been so bad, he's dressing Ryan Pulock and just eleven true forwards. This is surprising because after the loss Sunday in LA, Weight pointed out how effective his team can be because they can roll four strong lines (which is true).
The Rangers are looking to overcome a loss in which Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh -- their two steadiest players -- had gaffes that cost them a win at home over Pittsburgh. Confidence must be low.
This game had better mean a lot to both teams.
I expect that Lundqvist, who often struggles against the Islanders, will rebound with a strong game. However, Tavares -- possibly distracted but due for a multi-point night -- will win the matchup against McDonagh. Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck will do their thing, and the Islanders will win the game.
Greiss. Halak. Greiss. Halak. And tonight Halak again, because of his historical mastery of the Rangers. Two goalies at practice every day. See how simple this is?
A reader tweeted that on Tuesday -- around the same time my last column on the situation was posted -- TSN insider Darren Dreger said on the radio he thinks John Tavares will eventually re-sign with the Islanders. Was happy to hear that, but wanted to confirm the context of it with Dregs via text. "That is my opinion and belief," he wrote. Darren is very connected, so even if it's just his opinion and belief, we got that going for us, which is nice.
While a colleague of Mike Bossy's @ me on Twitter to say the whole L'Affaire Tavares was a misunderstanding, No. 22 himself went on the radio in Montreal last week and said he probably won't opine much more about the Islanders and Tavares. Mike knows he is forever connected to the NYI.
I do miss Scott Gordon's postgame interviews on live television. More tension than "Narcos."