Lou Lamoriello was in charge of the Islanders for less than a week, and he was already beginning to instill the culture that has made him a legendary figure in the NHL.
According to multiple sources, change is afoot in the Islanders' offices at Northwell Health Ice Center at Eisenhower Park. Lamoriello and whomever ends up in the hockey department, along with a few others, will have the place to themselves. Several of the team's departments -- think along the lines of accounting, marketing, the folks who shoot off the t-shirt guns -- will be relocating elsewhere in Nassau County.
In other words, Garth Snow didn't stand a chance, and Doug Weight -- coming off a brutal and at times embarrassing season -- was a victim of Snow's malpractice. Lamoriello is performing a complete makeover of the Islanders, and he's going to do it his way.
You'd like to think Snow was relieved of his duties on Tuesday because 1) he was an incompetent general manager with an abysmal record and 2) as a result of his failure to lead and his massive insecurities, his Islanders were a constant clown show. (Exhibit 137-A: Snow and ex-head coach Doug Weight always talking about how great everything was, while their fans and the rest of the hockey world laughed).
In truth, Snow's career as an NHL GM only ended because every domino finally started to fall and eventually crush him, leaving him without a title or responsibility. Snow's dreadful performance led to the Islanders sinking so badly and the faithful protesting so loudly that co-owner Scott Malkin could not ignore the situation any longer. (Make no mistake: Snow's fall was a result of intense and widespread customer disgust). Malkin needed a fixer, and when the Maple Leafs transitioned Lamoriello from GM to consultant, the ultimate franchise builder fell right into the owner's lap.
Malkin could have hired just about anyone else as President of Hockey Operations, and there's a good possibility Snow would have kept the con going effectively enough to retain his title as general manager. Instead, Malkin hired Lamoriello, who brings his own people and uniquely high set of standards.
Funny how that worked out.
What isn't funny is that these last 12 years were a waste of a major league franchise that so many people care about. These last nine years were a waste of the world-class talents of John Tavares. With Tavares in place, a merely competent general manager could have made the Islanders a contender in half that time.
Without experience, Snow was given his dream job, a chance of a lifetime, and he blew it. Understand this: it had nothing to do with tight budgets. Charles Wang and later Malkin and Jon Ledecky gave Snow everything a manager would need to build a strong front office and team. They also got out of his way.
Snow failed because he never surrounded himself with the best available people. Not even close. I won't delve deeply into it position by position because it's painful, and I don't want to rain on the joy in Islanderville. Lamoriello is continuing his evaluation, and as you can see he's moving swiftly. There will be more changes - just not major headline-makers after he names his head coach for the NHL.
But let's point to one area as an example -- the minors. Look who Snow has in Bridgeport to coach his prospects. For now, they're still there - starting with head coach Brent Thompson. Look at the qualifications. Look at the results. Evaluate how players have developed under their tutelage.
It would be an utter shock if the Islanders' AHL affiliate doesn't have new leadership by the end of July, if not a lot sooner.
Lamoriello said the right things on Tuesday about Snow and Weight, how they are his friends whose opinions he will seek. There's no questioning Lamoriello's sincerity.
But what really matters are the choices Lamoriello makes this offseason. By the time the puck drops in October, the majority of coaches, buddies, executives, lapdogs, scouts and sycophants that Snow assembled over 12 disastrous years will be gone.