In ten years as Yankees manager, Joe Girardi led one team to a World Series championship, and another one -- with some incredible young players, but thought to be a little while from contending -- to Game 7 of the ALCS. In that time, he faced the music for his decision-making with a large press corps twice a day for nearly 200 days a year.
In just the latest illustration of the enormous advantage the general manager has of schmoozing the owner in the suite, on the road and over the phone, Garth Snow has out-lasted Joe Girardi in New York.
Josh Ho-Sang is no different than any of the talented and dedicated hockey players before him that have been sent to the minors. His focus should be on putting the work in, being a good teammate, and returning to the Islanders.
Doug Weight said Ho-Sang handled the demotion appropriately, which only means the young man kept his cool long enough to not show his frustration to the head coach. That's good. Then the drive down I-95 N begins, and the news gets tougher to digest.
Based on seeing many determined but broken men pack up their bags for a car ride to Springfield, Troy, Worcester, and Bridgeport or flight to Utah, here's some advice to players yearning to return to NHL action, chartered aircrafts and a fabulous per diem:
• If presented with the opportunity, tell the coach and GM that you hope and expect to be back with the NHL club soon.
• Don't post on social media. Don't even post some faux-positive tweet with a hazy message about how this will make you stronger. Let the next social media post be a clip from @TheSoundTigers of you making a strong hockey play.
• Do the obligatory interview with the Connecticut Post's Mike Fornabaio, who lucky for you happens to be one of the most dignified hockey writers in the East. The talk with Fornabaio is a quickie therapy session and audition. Take 24 hours to cool off before giving Scoop Fornabaio the speech he's heard countless times: "I'm here to do my best for the Sound Tigers' coaches and my teammates, and I hope to give the Islanders no choice but to bring me back." That's it. No theorizing why you were sent down (very bad idea). Don't beat yourself up (the NHL brass will see it as weakness, shattered confidence). No complaints (share those only with your life partner). In the eyes of the GM and coach, the Fornabaio interview is Pass/Fail. They will read it on their phones. Don't fail.
• Be confident with the coaches and keep your body language positive, even if your heart isn't completely in it at the first workout. The AHL coaches not only talk to the NHL coaches, but they also talk to the NHL GM. That's how AHL coaches become NHL coaches.
• When you go out with a few of your AHL teammates for chicken parm, take a little from those NHL checks you banked the last few weeks and pick up the darn check.
• Once you put that AHL uniform on, play for your teammates. Make them better.
Ho-Sang and the Sound Tigers play Friday night in Hartford and Saturday at home against Wilkes Barre/Scranton. He'll likely line up with Alan Quine and Michael Del Colle, so he will get the puck and has good players to distribute it to.
A roster spot remains open for him with the Islanders, who are in Minnesota Thursday and Nashville on Saturday before returning home. If Ho-Sang plays well this weekend, he should expect Snow and Weight to recall him soon, because his next AHL game is not for another six days. If they don't, it would be apparent that this wasn't a simple, short-stay demotion to keep him playing.
Today's Twitter Question
@johhb_ny, @Ry_From_LI, @Mark_Lugo and others asked a variation of the question, "At what point will Weight name a No. 1 starter in net? Playing every other game does not allow either goalie to get into a rhythm."
Not only do I have no problem with Weight's goalie rotation so far, I love it. It's October. Halak and Greiss have each had one subpar game, but otherwise have been good. Halak is 32, Greiss will be 32 in January. Combined, they have played more than 50 regular season games in an NHL season just three times in their careers.
As long as the goaltending four out of every five nights is a B+ or better, there is no rush for Weight to lean on one much more than the other. There is certainly no reason to publicly proclaim a No. 1. Nothing good comes from that.
Let the trade deadline be your guide. The Islanders should be in position to make the postseason at that point. Snow will add a player or two. If Weight doesn't have to ride a goalie until March, that's means both have been playing well. That would be a blessing. Cherish it.
Fair to say these two road games are pretty big for late-October, right? As they've learned in recent years, the Islanders don't want to be straddling NHL. 500 for too long. It's time to start separating from the pack.
You know who has turned out to be a better NHL player than I expected (not that I'm a scout…and okay, not that you care)? Scott Mayfield.
Weight has been keeping the icetime of John Tavares around a manageable 21 minutes a game, which makes sense for October. But if this season ever gets to a point where a playoff berth is slipping away, expect Weight to utilize Tavares like Joe Maddon used Aroldis Chapman.
Just three weeks into this, I've already had a few columns prepared and then real news changed those plans. Today, for example, I was going to lead with a view on the legacy of Charles Wang, since it has been five years since he announced the move to Brooklyn. But say this for our beloved hockey club that doesn't generate a ton of mainstream coverage: they always give you something to talk and write about.