Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Survivor Long Island

Somewhere in the afterlife, an old friend of mine is laughing his ass off.

Somewhere former University of Maine head coach Shawn Walsh is playing golf, smoking a cigar and telling stories about his former goaltender Garth Snow.

I can hear him now, "Unfreakin' believable. Just wild, kid, just wild."

Yesterday, Snow woke up, retired and was hired as the General Manager of the New York Islanders. Just 40 days after owner Charles Wang hired Neil Smith to do the job, he was gone and replaced by a player.

It's happened twice before, Bobby Clarke with the Flyers and Serge Savard with the Canadiens. Savard did well and Clarke has and is still struggling. Time will tell on Snow, but it may not be fair to judge him from this situation.

After all, it is Wang who has destroyed a once proud franchise. It starts with Mike Milbury and how in the heck he kept his job as long as he did. He went through coaches like Steinbrenner went through managers.

If you look back on the last decade of Islander drafts, they could have had a team to beat all-teams. Some of the names that could be Islanders right now are Heatley, Luongo, Chara, Berard and Jokinen. Not a bad start right? Well, instead of that, they have the mess that Wang has created now.

CNN/SI's Michael Farber has a great column on the Islanders with an opening paragraph to end all paragraphs on the subject:

"From the franchise that brought you scam artist/owner John Spano, those fishsticks uniforms and enough egregious hockey and bumbling management to all but destroy the legacy of one of the National Hockey League's dynastic powers of the 1980s, we now have the curious one-month reign of general manager Neil Smith."

Somewhere, Shawn Walsh is turning to his golfing partner and saying, "With two former Black Bears as GM's (Dave Nonis - Vancouver), I would have been coaching in the show by now. I wonder if Mike Dunham is going to back up Snow as his assistant GM. Just wild, kid."

Not wild, Shawn, predictable on the Island. The only question is how do Islander faithful vote off Mr. Wang?

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