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December 11, 2018

Garth Snow has got to be kidding with Stanley Cup remark as Islanders GM is lucky to still have a job

September 29, 2018

Jerry Reese won two Super Bowl titles with the Giants, as did Tom Coughlin.

Joe Girardi helmed one World Series championship and guided the Yankees within one game of going to another just last October.




Terry Collins reached the Fall Classic as manager of the Mets, while Alain Vigneault made it to the Stanley Cup Finals once with the Rangers.

Phil Jackson’s “Everything Zen” tenure with the Knicks turned out to be an outright disaster, but he does own 13 NBA championship rings.

All of these men essentially were fired by their respective local teams, almost all of them within the last calendar year, despite a vastly superior track record of success to that of Garth Snow.

Yet here we are — again, unfathomably — with the Islanders continuing to operate within their laugh-track vacuum of unaccountability and delusion following their eighth playoff whiff in 11 years, all with Snow still in the GM chair, making him second only to accomplished Yankees GM Brian Cashman incredibly in tenure in that position in all of New York professional sports.

And with the most crucial personnel decision the Isles have faced in decades looming over the woebegone Brooklyn/Long Island franchise this summer — namely, captain and franchise cornerstone John Tavares’ still-unresolved free agency.

Second-year owner Jon Ledecky offered a lame apology to the team’s fan base for the Isles’ second consecutive season out of the playoffs in a shameful statement he read in person on Monday without fielding questions from the media. It certainly was a far cry from the pat-myself-on-the-back tour Ledecky gladly embarked upon when the long-awaited Belmont arena commitment deal was announced back in December.

Garth Snow’s remarkably long tenure as Isles GM has brought the franchise nothing but disappointment and misdirection. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sure, Ledecky left the door slightly ajar that changes still might be forthcoming within the front office by citing that hockey ops will be “evaluated” in the coming weeks, but Snow and head coach Doug Weight — notably seated alongside their boss during the press conference — both indicated to reporters that they fully have been led to believe they will be returning for 2018-19.

Snow’s delusional answer when asked directly by a reporter on Monday why he believes he deserves to stay on the job was astonishing even by his and the Islanders’ lofty standards. His response underscores the typical arrogance, misinformation and misdirection his regime has perpetrated — and has been allowed to spew, mostly unchecked — throughout his dozen years at the helm of the least critically covered team in the New York market.

“For me, 2006, when I took over this position, it was a situation where it was an all-out rebuild where we had to bring in talent through the draft,” Snow said. “Now we’re in a situation where we feel we can compete for a Stanley Cup.”

Yes, yes, yes, he really said that, and largely was allowed to get away with it. (I was assigned to the Knicks against the LeBrons on Monday, for the record.)

Of course, when he took over the job — making the unprecedented ascension under then-owner Charles Wang from being the team’s backup goalie directly to the GM’s seat following the equally unsuccessful tenure of Mike Milbury and then the short-lived “committee” headed by former Rangers president Neil Smith — let’s not forget that Snow inherited a team that made the playoffs three times in the previous four NHL seasons, and quickly made that four of five in his first season with a squad his maligned predecessors mostly constructed.

It is true that the organization mostly was bereft of prospects at that time, and Snow’s staff deserves full marks for uncovering a few legitimate keepers beyond the gift of winning the draft lottery to take Tavares first overall in 2009.

Anders Lee netted 40 goals this year and wondrous teenager Mathew Barzal should run away with the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. But blind squirrels do actually come across acorns once in a while, too, and even broken clocks are right twice a day.

John Tavares.
John Tavares. (Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

As for Snow’s line about Stanley Cup readiness, are you freaking kidding? The Isles just finished 17 points out of the playoffs in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division, with easily the most goals allowed in the league, in Year 12 of a proposed five-year rebuilding plan.




Sure, they are only a few players away from serious contention, as long as those three players are Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty.

By contrast, the expansionist Vegas Golden Knights — led by former Snow advisor George McPhee as their GM — remarkably just notched 107 points and won the Pacific Division title in their first year of existence. The Islanders last copped a division crown in 1988, by the way.

Remember, any talk of the rebuild was supposed to be eradicated when the Isles, led by Tavares, finally advanced a playoff round for the first time in 23 years with a defeat of Florida in 2016. But Snow’s blatant roster mismanagement thereafter — no other way to view it — now has resulted in back-to-back playoff misses, largely negating any momentum, excitement and goodwill that April run two years ago had built.

And now, the cap-maxed Isles must attempt to re-sign their best player in decades or figure out how to move on without him, and Snow somehow remains entrusted to make those decisions?

Just look at those names at the top of the column one more time, and think about how much each of them accomplished in this town. They all deservedly were fired. It’s long past time for Snow to go, too.




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