Money for Nothing . . . and your chicks for free
It seems that the Isles are much like beachcombers these days. They have become that old frizzled sun-gnarled guy, complete with one of those metal detectors that used to be a minute fad in the late 80s. You know the sort; the ones who shuffle around, muttering to them self, digging out coins, bottles and maybe a few beer cans.
The organization seems to be determined to find the minutia of gold from some sandy odds and ends from the outer fringes. It began with Jack Hillen, who was a pursued by other teams. But not exactly had teams clamoring for him. We saw the same with Joel Rechlicz, who is another players much like last year’s Darryl Bootland. Rob Hennigar is another recent signing, who played in the Canadian college system.
The thing is, none of these pickups really have surefire shot to make a competitive NHL level team. They are all rolls of a dice at a craps table hoping for a lucky bounce. Perhaps looking for a competitive depth at best. Or are they hoping that they can mold these pieces into something? Or does this team have a plan of rooting out the dredges and starting anew, using this scouted pieces to provide a better shade of depth?
Last year, the team brought much of the same. Bootland, Brennan, Johnson. Most will not be retained. Nobody really made a strong impression. But yet, here we are with announcements about "The Wrecker" and other ilk, creating a fan buzz and expectation that really us just a toothless grin of a guy holding up a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a silver dollar. It isn't enough nor is it really exciting this fan.
The fundamental changes have not been done nor addressed. And until that time, this blogger remains unconvinced on the vision to step out of the disappointment of last season. The cultural change of bringing in offense and improving a defense in a clear sweeping and visionary way that steps away from last years picking up of league refuse and just hoping for the best. That remains the large elephant in the room, on the ice or even on the beach. And that will not be answered until later at the draft, during negotiation time, and mostly during the UFA period.
The biggest change should not be a silly panic to try to tender offers to those who really did not fulfill expectations. This was done at trade deadline to keep players like Satan, Fedotenko and Vasicek. I think those were misguided and shortsighted aims that do not address the Isles base to change from accepting mediocrity. The Isles were trying to have things then both ways. Recognizing that they were only mediocre, but not accepting the responsibility of making them that way.
So, as I see new announcements, I am not impressed. I am not even mildly intrigued. I am waiting for there to be a true integral change in attitudes and platitudes to stride forward into the sea. Not comb the outskirts, hoping that something will be of value.
“Quite frankly, I’m sick of being average.”
- Garth Snow
So are we, Garthy. And to dig oneself out of those doldrums, it requires above average general managing, above average scouting, above average free agent choices, above average coaching and more. This begins now, this summer, with a 5th draft pick and an opportunity to shed those below average pieces that are weighing down the organization. To stop be satisfied with mediocrity. To stop trying to think that those below average players are anything but. What needs to stop is the deluded expectations and hyped hopes. For the Isles need some brass tacks and hefty dose of realism to really move forward.
Then things will get very clear, and only then we can look at a few coins and see hidden value. We need blue collar earners. Guys who can do the job, but also have real potential, not ones that MIGHT have it. The guys who can roll up their sleeves and play the type of game the coaching staff want, but also have the defensive and offensive upside that they aren't a detriment on the ice.