Hockey from the Blind Side, Blind Observations on Our Evening Chatting With Garth

I finally have the chance to write some thoughts about the last show Gary and I did for on Sunday in which Garth Snow kindly spent 45 or so minutes chatting with us and answering a variety of questions. Once again, I was flattered and humbled that Mr. Snow chose to take time out of his schedule to allow us to ask him questions and give us his thoughts on a number of topics. I thought it was amazing enough that he came on once with us, so I was really impressed and thrilled for him to agree to join us again. And, on top of that, as Gary pointed out, there was no hesitation at all in his acceptance to Gary’s request either.

Remember, folks. Garth didn’t have to do the show. That is the first thing to consider. Regardless of the questions we asked him, he didn’t have to take the time to join us when he knew we were taking questions from fans. With the current climate among many Islander fans, he could have politely declined Gary’s request.

Yet, he did not do so. Instead, he came on the show and spent most of the hour talking to us. He answered a good twenty different questions and provided us with updates on the status, for example, of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner and Lubomir Visnovsky. Personally, I thought it was a great interview, and I am proud of Gary and I for how we handled it as well as being grateful to Garth Snow for his time and responses.If you were expecting Gary and I to rake Garth over the coals or be the mouth pieces for the angry part of Islander Country, then you were sadly mistaken. Yes, Gary and I are fans. Yes, we both had many questions in our heads we would have liked to ask him. Yes, we have emotions and feelings about this previous season and the situation. Keep in mind that we are, indeed, New York Islander Fans.

However, we also are professionals and we take our roles seriously. When you have a relationship with a team or a member of that team, be it a player or the General Manager, you handle that relationship with dignity and the respect it deserves. Maybe, in current society, we have become accustom of name calling and insulting as being “acceptable” if it makes us feel better or if we are “victims” in the eyes of the media, but that is neither Gary or my own manners of conducting ourselves. We are fortunate to be in the position to be able to have access to people like Garth Snow or Scott Mayfield or anyone else in the organization, and we are appreciative of that access. So, yes, you approach interviews and, in the case of this blog, comments with that in mind.

Gary and I have expressed our emotions and thoughts about this team many times here. For example, I am on record several times expressing my thoughts that Jack Capuano’s time as coach should have been ended back a few months ago. Obviously, the Isles have extended him another season, and I both respect that decision and am firmly behind Cappy for next season. Why? Not necessarily because of the interview with Garth Snow, but also because and Mainly what I saw out of the team over the last month of the season in which 10 or more guys were in the lineup who had no NHL experience and they came down the stretch winning games.

Did we ask Garth the “tough questions”? Maybe not the hard ones some fans asked and maybe in not the way some fans might have. We still questioned him about a lot of areas and subjects. Were we too “soft” on him as I have been teased about by family and friends? Maybe, so, but I have no regrets for that in the least. If he should want to personally show up to the studio for a future interview, I’ll bring the tea and cookies ….

Did we call him out for his choices or moves? Maybe not directly, but we still addressed those topics and he even spoke about the Vanek trade in the context of the time it was made.

The bottom line is it is clear Garth Snow wants this team to succeed and he wants to put a winner on the ice. At the same time, he’s also very conscious of the make up of the team and clearly wants value for the money he spends. A lot of people are quick to point out the players that he didn’t sign, but not the ones he has signed nor the fact that many of those players not signed had no interest in playing here in the first place. That makes a big difference.

In any event, here are a couple of additional thoughts from the interview that struck me or I found interesting:

• When asked about players who particularly impressed or surprised him this season, he mentioned John Persson. This, personally, was not a name I had considered nor had I expected.

• John Tavares would be able to return to action at this point if the Islanders had been in the playoffs. Originally, I had read that he wasn’t even supposed to resume serious skating until possibly early June.

• When asked about his favorite Colosseum moment as both a player and GM, Snow brought up the way the old barn rocked last season in the playoff games against Pittsburgh and how it was like old times. Listen to his recollection of that. Do you really think he doesn’t want to experience that again? Come on now …

• When asked about his thoughts about Brent Thompson coaching in Bridgeport, Garth mentioned how well Brent works with the defense. Clearly, with the crop of defensive prospects coming up, there was a lot of intelligent thought placed in that move.

• With the Islanders moving to the Barclays Center, Garth acknowledged how this would help entice perspective free agents to sign here with the Isles playing in a state-of-the-art facility. Let us hope this turns out to be true.

• Although he didn’t say in any definitive terms if the Islanders will keep their draft pick this season, as Garth pointed out that they have until June 1 to make that final decision, I think it’s pretty obvious they will, indeed, hold on to the pick in the end and not send it to Buffalo.

• People sometimes wonder why players end up wanting to stay here and are willing to extend contracts, even after expressing reluctance to first come to the island. Listen to what Garth says about how the coaches and management handle players when Gary asked him about the comments Michel Terrien made about Thomas Vanek to the media.

If you have not listened to the interview, please do so. If you want to get a really good idea about where Gary and I stand about our passions and desires for this team, particularly listen to our comments after the interview with Garth Snow concludes. That will give you an idea of who we are and what you will find written on this blog.

A while back, I wrote a post here about Garth Snow according to the “Book of Blind Side”. I had expressed my confidence in Garth and my general opinion that he was doing a great job. Despite this season and the Moulson trade, those observations have not altered. I stand behind Mr. Snow and look forward to what will come this summer and next season for the New York Islanders. Perhaps, I have more patience than others. It comes from now being a teacher/trainer, but so be it. You surely don’t have to agree with me, as is your right.


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