July 20 - Snow Job
If I walked up to 100 people on the street right now, and asked them who
Garth Snow was, I doubt half, maybe not even a third, would even be able
to name him as a hockey player. Some hockey fans in this area would
remember him for his less than stellar years as a Vancouver Canuck.
Even most diehard hockey fans probably couldn't tell you what team he
played for last season.
This is a guy who has been a barely competent goalie through this
career, and pretty much a career backup who is now the GM of the New
York Islanders. Has everyone in the Islanders organization gone nuts?
This may just be the craziest move in the history of the Islanders, which is
saying something, considering they allowed Mike Milbury to run the franchise into the ground for
years. What fan can forget the embarrassing John Spano ownership incident back in 96-97? This
franchise hasn't exactly been the model for NHL franchises as of late.
A lot of the funnier lines of this whole farce come directly out of the mouth of Islanders owner Charles
"I spoke with Garth at length throughout the spring about the general manager's position and he
really impressed me with his passion and his knowledge," Wang said. "When the job opened up, the
choice was an easy one."
Maybe he's a hell of a lot smarter than I am, and he sees something that I don't. Who knows, maybe
Garth Snow will be the next great hockey mind and lead the Islanders to their first Stanley Cup since
Sorry, I have to pause for a second.
Now honestly though, I don't pretend to know everything about hockey, but this hire screams of idiocy
and ignorance. The move makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Lately it seems like more of an in
thing to do these kind of bizarre hires, and history has shown for the most part that these kinds of
hires do more harm than good. Is it something in the water in New York? Look how long Isiah
Thomas has gotten away with screwing up the Knicks. Maybe James Dolan is friends with Wang, and
is sharing tips with him on how to run a sports franchise. Neil Smith may not have been the greatest
choice as a GM, but why not at least give the guy a damn season before throwing him out the door
like that? It makes no sense to have hired the guy in the first place, only to fire him a month later.
Clearly something else was at work here.
Back to Snow, it's not like you didn't have other guys on your staff you could have given this position to.
For example, I'm sure the coach of the team, Ted Nolan, would have made a fine GM. Hell, you have
Bryan Trottier and Pat Lafontaine (or maybe had, with reports surfacing that Lafontaine has decided to
resign) there too. Not that either of those two would have made a suitable GM, but it would have been
a hell of a lot more easy to stomach that than Garth Snow.
To me, this puts another black eye on the game, at a time when it really doesn't need one. The NHL
has been trying to regain credibility, but it's got a long way to go. This is just something to add to the
list in a long line of embarrassments for the game. The NHL's player association is a joke, as they
can't even get along for ten seconds and agree on leadership. The TV deal is even worse, as most
people can't even see the games, on of all places, the Outdoor Life Network. Another genius decision
by Gary Bettman and the NHL. The bottom line is that it has a long way to go before it can be
considered one of the "Big Four" sports. I guess the only consolation is that it can't get any worse
right? Wait, forget I said that, this is the NHL we're talking about. Who knows what might happen next?