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End of the Islanders?

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Do the Isles deserve better?

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1 End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:18 am

davetherave

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It's fashionable to make fun of the New York Islanders.

And that's a pity, because the Islanders have been a great story, winning the Stanley Cup four times in succession from 1980 to 1983--a feat only a few NHL teams have ever accomplished.

Their championship teams included Ottawa area hockey stars Denis Potvin and Jean Potvin, as well as Billy Smith; and a significant number of NHL greats like Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Brian Trottier, Bob Nystrom, 'Chico' Resch and Butch Goring among others. Coached by Al Arbour and managed by Bill Torrey, the Isles were considered as a model franchise for NHL expansion teams.

The Islanders were the team that New Yorkers who loved to hate the Rangers, loved to love.

Unfortunately for hockey fans, the Islanders went into a decline related directly to difficulties with their ownership in the mid-nineties, and since that time, have become the black sheep of the league.

Attendance declined so badly by the end of the '90s it was feared the franchise was finished.

Charles Wang, megasuccessful IT entrepreneur, bought the Islanders in 2000, but the mess was compounded by the questionable moves of GM Mike Milbury among a host of stumbles.

When Wang hired Garth Snow as GM in 2006, the rebuilding in earnest of the Islanders began. Snow has stockpiled draft picks and moved out old contracts to create over $20MM in cap space for 2009-10. While the signing of Rick DiPietro long term was laughed at, his 4.5MM a year deal is well below the going rate, and once DiPietro has recovered from his surgeries, the Isles will be solid in net again. And with what will probably be the #1 or #2 pick in the 2009 entry draft, John Tavares or Victor Hedman could be building blocks for their resurgence under the excellent coaching of Scott Gordon.

Wang also understood the Islanders needed a new facility to replace the Nassau Coliseum.

Despite Wang's plans to invest heavily and create ten of thousands of new jobs, Nassau County refuses to support the plan.

Now Wang has had enough. If he doesn't get a green light from the County, the Islanders may be gone by the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

Kansas City is ready to welcome them with a brand new arena.

Controversial he may be, but clearly, Wang puts his money where his mouth is.

For those who talk about bringing an NHL franchise back to Canada, it once again raises the question: where are the Canadian investors?

David Pagnotta's article from The Fourth Period here:

Islanders Threatening Possible Move

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/nyi090308.html

If the New York Islanders aren't able to put the final development plans together on their Lighthouse project, owner Charles Wang might have no other choice but to move the franchise.

Wang desperately wants to build a new arena and community to house his hockey team, but he's had a difficult time getting the local government on his side.
During last night's Hotstove segment of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada with Ron MacLean, Al Strachan, Mike Milbury and Pierre Lebrun, Milbury indicated that the project might be in jeopardy if plans to move forward aren't put to action quickly.

"[Wang's] had just about enough," Milbury said during the broadcast. "If this doesn't get done by the start of the hockey season, his words, I think you'll see some drastic changes on Long Island, maybe a team that's on the move."

The Lighthouse project, which has been in the works for seven years, will be built on the current 150-acre Coliseum site and will include a residential area, office
buildings, a retail area, a concert hall, a sports complex, a minor league baseball stadium, a five-star hotel, and a renovated arena for the Islanders.

Milbury mentioned the proposed community will create upwards of 70,000 part-time jobs and 20,000 full-time jobs.

According to lighthouseli.com, the estimated $3.74 billion project can generate $71 million in annual tax revenues. Milbury suggested Nassau County continues to "play politics" with Wang.

"We have limited time," Wang told the MSG Network on Thursday. "We have to have certainty. We must have certainty on this project, whether we go or no go, by the beginning of the next hockey season."

If Nassau County does not approve the plans and the project continues to be put on the backburner, Wang hinted he'd consider moving the hockey club.

"I think we will, at that point, explore all the options," he said. "My focus, my love, my passion, is to [stay in] Long Island. This is where I've spent most of my life."

The Islanders' lease with Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum runs through 2015.

Wang indicated that if plans do not move forward on the Lighthouse project, "we will not be renewing the lease, we will not be continuing it," but he continues to hold out hope.

"I am optimistic that we will work through this process," he said.


From the Editor: I've seen the Lighthouse project and is certainly looks great and very promising. It's a beautifully contructed proposal Wang and Co. have put forward and I truly hope it works out. That being said, Wang's being very realistic and open here. If this project doesn't get the green light (and by the way, this has taken way too long), he'll really have no other choice but to explore other possibilities. And even though the team's lease is up in 2015, they're also looking for ways out of it early (which is possible). Wang wants the Islanders to stay where they are, and they really aren't asking for much of a public handout. Why this has taken so long beats me. -- David Pagnotta.

2 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:22 am

SensFan71


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I voted move them to Canada, because well, you shouldn't have this issue in Winnipeg, Quebec, or even Hamilton. I am more for bringing back the Jets and Nordiques first before adding another Ontario franchise, the Habs need a rival to keep them on their toes and leave the Ontario teams to battle for futility (at least until Ottawa solves their issues)

3 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:38 am

beerandsens

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While I don't think the Islanders are going anywhere, I would also welcome back the Jets or Nordiques before a brand new team in Ontario.

4 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:44 am

SensFan71


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beerandsens wrote:While I don't think the Islanders are going anywhere, I would also welcome back the Jets or Nordiques before a brand new team in Ontario.

imagine a lot more people will agree with us on this one too, or am hoping, the fans of those two cities got seriously ripped, for the nordiques fans, it would be the same (and this is just an analogy), if the Sens were moved and all that was left in Ontario again were the Leafs, would Sens fans cheer for them? hell no, so I feel the same for Nordique fans, they will not cheer for the Canadians.

5 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:58 am

beerandsens

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Yes, and to take your analogy further the Sens are moved to Kansas, trade for Luongo and win the Cup. I feel for Nordique fans... it's enough to make me cry Sad

6 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:21 am

SensFan71


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beerandsens wrote:Yes, and to take your analogy further the Sens are moved to Kansas, trade for Luongo and win the Cup. I feel for Nordique fans... it's enough to make me cry Sad

that would be a huge stake to the heart, but I still see a lot of nordique t-shirts out there, am a bigger fan of them emblem rather than the habs, but the habs have a nice one to make fun of, I always say the CH stands for Charmin (meaning their jersey's are toilet paper, but I am sure I didn't have to say that) lol.

7 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:03 pm

Nasty Nas

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This league needs to contract by at least a few teams so this would be a good start. Fold em.

8 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:39 pm

SensFan71


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Nasty Nas wrote:This league needs to contract by at least a few teams so this would be a good start. Fold em.

starting with Nashville, Carolina, Atlanta, any team without a solid fan base.

9 Re: End of the Islanders? on Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:31 pm

SeawaySensFan

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My preference is Canada, obviously, but I think the wheels are already in motion to move the Islanders to KC.

10 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:50 am

PTFlea

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I only voted give them a chance because I think their owner is a lot more shrewd than people think. If he can convince the new building to get done and in that time create a young, vibrant team - the Isles should definitely stay.

But if he feels the market has flatlined, they're gone.

11 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:33 am

SensFan71


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SeawaySensFan wrote:My preference is Canada, obviously, but I think the wheels are already in motion to move the Islanders to KC.

you could be right on that one, and with Commissioner "Let's do everything to please the Americans and Diddle Canada" Bettman, this is most likely the move to be made.

12 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:39 am

shabbs

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Nasty Nas wrote:This league needs to contract by at least a few teams so this would be a good start. Fold em.
Has any pro league contracted before in the modern era? I agree that the league is too big, but barring the entire NHL on the brink of collapse, I don't see contraction ever happening. If anything, re-location would happen.

If we did contract by 4 teams, how would it work? Contracts, players etc...



Last edited by shabbs on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total

13 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:40 am

beedub

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Given the fact that there is a state of the art facility ready and waiting in KC, it is almost certain that there will be A team there soon, and NYI is the prime candidate

14 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:49 am

SensFan71


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beedub wrote:Given the fact that there is a state of the art facility ready and waiting in KC, it is almost certain that there will be A team there soon, and NYI is the prime candidate

However, and yes, the source is Ek, he figures the league is going to expand two more teams soon, if that is the case, could it be that they will leave the Isles where they are and just put one of the two new teams in KC? I don't think they should be expanding, if anything, contracting, then moving a couple teams to Canada, Winnipeg and Quebec City as I stated before.

15 Re: End of the Islanders? on Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:07 pm

beedub

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SensFan71 wrote:
beedub wrote:Given the fact that there is a state of the art facility ready and waiting in KC, it is almost certain that there will be A team there soon, and NYI is the prime candidate

However, and yes, the source is Ek, he figures the league is going to expand two more teams soon, if that is the case, could it be that they will leave the Isles where they are and just put one of the two new teams in KC? I don't think they should be expanding, if anything, contracting, then moving a couple teams to Canada, Winnipeg and Quebec City as I stated before.

If Bettman looks at expansion right now,he truly is a fool. not with the economic climate the way it is.

Contraction makes way more sense. We could see the cap descend below 50 million two years from now.

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