The Islanders have become serial slumpers for the months of November and December, and that leads to a serious question – Who’s to blame? There are a lot of reasons, ranging from the top down.
1 – Charles Wang?
Charles Wang has been denied his new coliseum development for many years now, and doesn’t seem keen on spending much more than the salary cap minimum on his team. With the future location of the team in doubt, it appears Wang has hit a wall in regards to throwing money at the teams weaknesses.
2 – Garth Snow?
The man everyone mocked for jumping from backup goalie to GM has stuck to his guns during this rebuilding time for the Islanders and hasn’t traded away much from the team’s war chest. Time will tell on his draft picks, and I can buy into the theory of not making trades just for the sake of making a trade. The team’s been down that road before, and it isn’t fun watching players blossom somewhere else. There are still many holes in the lineup and the team’s youth hasn’t stepped up as expected so far this year.
Who knows if Garth’s hands are tied financially, but the bottom line is the team is showing some major problems and it is his job to get the coach everything in his power to win games.
3 – Jack Capuano?
Coach Jack is sitting in a similar predicament as his predecessor was last season about this time, although isn’t quite as bad this season. For everything Capuano showed us last season, the wins just aren’t coming as frequently as expected, and that can only spell disaster for Jack if they can’t right the ship. The team has come out flat many times this season already, and has been shut out an astonishing 5 times on home ice. You can’t make this stuff up.
4 – Marc Streit?
The team captain is coming back from being out all last season with multiple shoulder injuries and isn’t quite the same as he was in the past. He had such a deadly accurate shot his first year on the Island. Isles fans better hope that he finds his accuracy again before this season is too far gone. With many lackadaisical efforts to date the season, some of the burden falls on Streit for not motivating his comrades to show up for every game.
5 – The Coliseum?
People gripe about the coliseum deterring free agents from coming to LI. I’ve been going there since the 80′s and I know two things – winning will draw fans no matter what. Players also prefer to win.
6 – The players?
Going into the season fans were given the promise that the core of young Islanders (Moulson, JT, Grabner, Okposo) would be staying on Long Island for some time. They all signed contracts. They’re all staying. This had fans salivating at the potential of them all taking the next step together and becoming a decent offensive team, with 3 lines capable of putting up points. The problem is that, outside of several games, there doesn’t seem to be much luck or direction on offense. The team consistently gets slowed down in the neutral zone and stood up at the opposition’s blue line. They’ve been shutout in 6 of 21 games.
Conversely, other teams seem to waltz into the Isles defensive zone. The Islanders defense is showing it’s age, and with Streit still recovering from last season, Travis Hamonic and Andy McDonald have yet to improve on last season’s breakout years. After you look at these top 3, you can really see why the team is struggling. Their crew of aging veterans aren’t cutting it.
What would you do to make some changes? Fire the coach? Fire the GM? Put more players on waivers? Make some trades? There are no easy answers. It is time for this team to walk the walk and be accountable on the ice.