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Gilligans Islanders Shipwrecked Again

Looks like the New York Islanders are stranded, with shipwrecked ineptitude, between an abyss of common sense and a deserting crew. Just as the characters in the infamous sitcom Gilligans Island never quite found their way home before being cancelled, those seemingly in charge of the good ship Islander are at a loss for leadership. It has been learned that the hired Skipper and the Professor do not see eye to eye. Trouble is, Gilligan is in charge on this island.
In early June, when Islanders owner Charles Wang, picked the pieces of his new management staff, many had doubts. With reason! Wang's kitchen cabinet team resembled a rumage sale of hockey who's who, hired separately and in reverse order and guaranteed to implode. It took a mere 40 days!
Former Ranger GM Neil Smith as new GM. Ted Nolan, once Sabres coach of the year and percieved blacklisted in league circles as a GM backstabber, as new head coach. Islanders Hall Of Famer Bryan Trottier, and past Rangers coaching disaster, as executive director of player development. Rounding out the crew, former Islander great, the well respected Pat Lafontaine, as senior advisor to the owner.
When Smith admitted to philosophical cockeyedness with the group, the ship sprang a leak. Wang, rather than defer leadership to Smith preferrably, uses a "business model" of a group think tank. Unfortunately, he hired a mess of opposite thinkers. It's common practice to let a GM fill out his own staff, but the Mike Milbury years had a tsunami effect on the Islanders. The tycoon Wang didn't envision the typhoon on the horizon when putting this crew together. He has now swabbed the deck of Smith.
It's interesting to note that when Wang purchased the team, he admitted he was not hockey smart. Quoted in the Asian News, he fessed, "I've been reading my Hockey For Dummies book. A lot of this is new to me, but it will be run like any good business".
Wang was president and CEO of Computer Associates, a Long Island firm. In 1999, Forbes magazine ranked Wang as the highest paid executive in the U.S. His compensation package alone totalled 650 million. He purchased the Isles for 190M. Evidently, he is a proven financial whiz. Assembling a crack hockey staff, to the contrary, is hardly his strong point. The ill-advised and surprising hire of former Cornwall Aces goalie Garth Snow, has raised eyebrows, sparked guffaws, and sent panic throught the remaining Islander faithful. He was apparently impressed that Snow had read the new CBA.
In the press melee announcing him as the new GM, Wang spoke of a man with an astute hockey mind. To ressure the assembled horde, the owner parlayed what he saw as smiles throughout the teams front offices as positive confirmation when the news of Snow's hire hit. Smiles can also be interpreted as the first sign of laughter. No word yet as to the ticket vendors inflating rubber dingies.
It is almost as if former Islander ship sinker Milbury were still in charge. These latest moves are not unlike past Milbury chaos. It's almost as if he were still manning the sails.
Minutes after announcing Snow's hiring, Wang's so called new right hand man Lafontaine curiously tended his resignation. That speaks alot. The ship is taking in water! As senior advisor to Wang, it is obvious Lafontaine had little say in this decision and his action speaks for itself.
Trottier, for his part, was eaten alive by the Rangers job in 2002-03. Ill suited from the get-go, he was unable to corral the Rangers overpriced stars into a team concept. Instinct and drive make great players in the Trottier mold. These characteristics do not always transfer when the player trades in the jock strap and helmet for a suit and tie. He is likely clutching a paddle now. Since retiring as a player, Trottier has battled alcoholism and dealt with bankruptcy issues in his personal life. How he will float with Snow and Nolan remains to be seen.
In his six weeks before he was shipped out, GM Smith made credible moves signing free agents Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt, Tom Poti and Chris Simon. It had appeared that the uncozy entanglement was producing some positive results. Senior advisor Lafontaine urged Wang to judge Smith's moves once the product hit the ice. When the owner refused to listen to his advisor, Lafontaine, instead of saying "Aye Aye, Captain", jumped ship.
Never has a manglement by committee worked in a sports front office. Like guiding a ship, one man must be in charge. With this cast of castaways, it's only a matter of time before another crew member rocks the boat.