When the Islanders announced Josh Bailey's new six-year contract on Friday, Garth Snow was letting you know it was okay to hit the snooze alarm on trade deadline day. His trade for depth defenseman Brandon Davidson on Saturday, and flip of Jason Chimera for fourth-liner Chris Wagner today were "Moves So Snow," he should get the concept trademarked.
Snow has known for three months that his team, talented at the very top, but with significant holes everywhere else, needed improvements. We now know, because Snow told us in a recent interview so loony you'd think it was conducted at BK Sweeney's, that he regarded the season-ending injury suffered by defenseman Calvin de Haan in December as a devastating blow to his club.
Yet Snow did what he's always done best since 2006 - little, while offering excuses.
His message today will be that he's a strategic, practical, and patient hero for the franchise, that he wasn't going to sacrifice prospects. Fact-check: the Islanders do not have many. He'll say he wasn't going to give up first-round picks, as if this was his only option. He'll point to all the other moves made around the NHL the last 24 hours, and say look at those exorbitant prices!
You can't blame Snow for viewing first-round selections like gold. His drafts recently described by ESPN as great - the GM must be a hypnotist on the side - Snow could always use another top-five pick to work the magic that yielded Ryan Strome, Griffin Reinhart, and Michael Dal Colle.
The re-signing of Bailey was Snow's latest shiny object to distract the faithful from his malpractice. Instantly hailed as "great value" and "larceny," the Bailey contract is neither.
Bailey's six-year, $30 million deal is merely fair compensation for a good player, and solid and loyal citizen coming off two excellent seasons after struggling for eight years to find his way. If you think other NHL teams were going to be lining up to offer a Tavares-less Bailey $6 million or more on a deal to take him into his mid-30s, well…let's just disagree. Whether Tavares returns or not, it is highly unlikely that anyone will regard Bailey's contract as a steal in three years. In the best-case scenario, it will be viewed as fair value.
As for Davidson, he is an adequate NHL defenseman, worth the low price of a third-round pick since he will be one of the Islanders' third-pair defensemen next season. Davidson was also available in December, when Montreal placed him on waivers.
The addition of Wagner, picked up on waivers by Anaheim a year ago yesterday, is cause for celebration for the die-hards because Chimera had a horrific year - while the Islanders played him for the first 58 games of the season. Wagner is an honest fourth-line forward, an upgrade, free to sign with anyone on July 1. Perhaps he gives the Islanders a spark for their final push for a playoff spot.
But during a season that desperately needed intervention, Snow's only moves were too little, and way too late.
We're at the point where this is not an unfair question: If you were given twelve years as Islanders general manager, do you think you would have accomplished more by now? Do you believe that at some point along the way in your personal development as GM, you would have the confidence to surround yourself with the best people, learn to be a stand-up executive with the press and public during the bad times, and managed your team to more than one playoff series victory?
Because after almost 12 years, this seems to be the premise that Jon Ledecky is going on - that someday soon, maybe in his 13th year, Snow will eventually become a successful general manager.
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment "See-Me" EO Brett Yormark, the cheerleader behind the Nets' franchise-crippling acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, temporarily took some heat off Snow on Sunday by taking a few shots at the Islanders in an interview on "Sports Extra" on Fox-5.
This is what Yormark does. Presented with opportunities to promote himself, he has no filter for truth. Watch the "Sports Extra" interview; before he even got to the subject of the Islanders, the BS barometer had already blown up.
Yormark is the kind of executive who shows up on panels at industry conferences, and throws around buzzwords like "authentic." This elicits muffled chuckles in the crowd. They know Yormark is many things, but he is anything but authentic.