Last night, before we were treated to another barnburner from two of the best in the NHL (I called Detroit in 6, by the way), I joined the Isles for another open house. This time it was the rolling out of the Business Club.
The description on their website nor emails did not quite touch how classy and a treat this would be. This food spread put the Gallof hosted Blog Box Cocktail Party
to shame. And filled my grumbling stomach as I rushed home from work exactly what I needed . . . Johnny Walker Black on the rocks. Oh yeah, and some grub too.
Fellow Isles Blog Boxers Dee Karl
and Tom Liodice
joined me as we, like everyone else there, were pressing hands and chatting up the Isles brass, former players like Clark Gillies, Eric Cairns, Bobby Nystrom, Mike Bossy
. There were also current players like Kyle Okposo
and "Iron" Mike Sillinger
The event was lavish and had a huge turnout. No matter the reported dramas and overwrought fandom of opinions, fears or criticism; the Isles still have been climbing in audience, interest, ratings, community activities and efforts. The Isles have been committing fully to something most fans, bloggers, pundits and press have been suggesting for years: rebuilding with a youth movement and keeping an open line with the community and fans. Bringing in a whole new culture, besides cultivating new relationships. Yes, even with some steps backward on the on-ice product.
Perhaps this was the biggest mistake in the last two years. The chimera of making a cup run with a heavily flawed team one year ago. And then after that chimera signed in Colorado, the Isles still were in dream land. Well that dream quickly faded as the flaws and cracks of this years team grew. Their subsequent tumble might be magnified by the bloated expectations we had. Even reserved expectations of them just fighting for an 8th spot or just narrowly missing it were shown as far cries.
But instead of closing shop at the seasons end, the Isles opened it, reaching out and keeping the communication lines open. And last night was another shining example of the different and open culture burgeoning in Isles Country. And last night the Isles were open to businesses, and those businesses came out in droves to a swanky and well-organized event that was good for the soul.
Some quick observations on last night:
: I now have met him twice. And in doing so, my opinion of him has completely been enlightened. He is extremely personable, very positive and very laid back and approachable. I had been told on and off the record that this was the case, despite some media inclinations to the opposite effect due to issues within (like the resignation of Chris Botta), but I've had to experience it myself to see it firsthand.
: Josh, former Emmy-winning producer of SportsCenter on ESPN, is VP of the NY Islanders, father of IslesTV, and now in charge of Media Relations, including those in the Blog Box. He is very down to earth and easy to speak to. Whether a blogger, messageboard poster, regular fan, or business man or woman, he is very open, sincere and giving everyone his time.
: I've worked with Corey over the course of the season, along with Chris Botta, his former boss (who is still missed). Corey recently worked and succeeded on getting two of my fellow Blog Boxers official NHL credentials to the draft in Ottawa. It's another example of the hard work and effort by the unsung guy who does most of the legwork in the Media Relations effort of the Isles along with Adam Baruch
Now on to some meaty issues . . .
I was told from some Isles brass that the Nolan/Snow schism is really overdone in the press. That, and yes this is of course an official line. And Katie Strang
, from Newsday, who also was on-hand, reported on that line which came from Nolan and Snow last night. That it was more a miscommunication between Snow and Nolan over the disparity in agreement on Snow's statement on Dubie not being up to coaching standards.
So, in digging deeper thus far, I got that same line even off the record with Isles brass. That as far as they knew, in working with the Isles, that Nolan and Snow seem to get along fine.
Of course, in hearing this, and knowing that there was an issue previously, I will continue to dig for better than just the company line. But it will likely not be until in season for the truth of the matter to be more apparent. Next season will really be the measuring stick for a lot of things. The summer Free Agents targeted, the draft, and the camps. Next season we will have a good idea of Snow, Nolan and this teams lot.
Speaking of off the record, lets talk about this upcoming draft. I've been asked by a few people here and elsewhere why I am not heading to Ottawa. I can't. Working a deadline then at my demanding day job. That day job is in the very busy world of publishing, where we are understaffed and underpaid. A trip to Ottawa simply was never in the cards.
So, anyone who needs a dynamic writer/blogger, designer, print production expert, project manager, with an expertise in new media content and message board management, well, I'm your guy!
Hey, it's my Isles Business blog, I can shill for a better paying job if I want!