Lord knows all of the Islander fans that remain—the dozen or so that have been up the last several nights—are upset, angry, frustrated. Not a single tier one or tier two free agent has signed, and the Islanders have little hope of starting little more then a n AHL level team come October.
So maybe this is the Real Plan A?
I have posted on many blogs that if this is, in fact, the Real Plan A, then it might not be so bad.
At the risk of being hunted down and shot to death by my fellow fans, let me say that I would rather rebuild from the ground up, then suffer this kind of mediocre play we have experienced, year after year.
So why do this? because like it or not, this is still a Mike Milbury hockey team. And a Mike Milbury hockey team is barely going to qualify as mediocre, much less for the playoffs or compete at a higher level.
In my many posts, I have been a steadfast supporter that the right approach for the Islander is to create a new attitude and a new future and to do so through the draft. It is, without a doubt, the only hope left. I wanted the big talent to be signed as much as anyone else, but once they were gone, it became clear.
We have a franchise netminder--sort of. DiPietro went a long way last year in showing me how good he is, and how valuable he really is.
But he can't do it alone.
Looking at this years crop of Free Agents; can someone please name for me the franchise defenseman we would need to build for the next 5-7 years? Souray is still available, but he is no Dennis Potvin, and his numbers are suspect. Rafalski? The guy is solid, but he is no Scott Stevens. Andy Sutton, David Tanabe--All available, none are franchise guys.
How about the forwards. We all wanted to hold onto Smyth. But as a winger, he is not Mike Bossy. He's a lot like Clark Gillies without the desire to drop the gloves. Not a bad choice. But would he have been overpaid at $7 million? Also, please note that Clarkie was not the franchise guy for the Isles of old. Drury? Briere? they were the two guys Buffalo built around. They are good. But neither are Bryan Trottier or Joe Sakic.
My point fans, is that we need a franchise player other then the goalie. We need a guy who can bang in the goals by the dozens and flatten guys along the boards. Every championship team has 3-4 of those guys. The Ducks had Giggy in the net, Getzlaf and Temmu up front and Neids and Prongs on the blueline. The Bolts had the big three up front and their goalie got hot at the right time. The Islander dynasty was a virtual an all star team headlined by Potvin, Bossy, Trottier Gillies and Smith. The Oilers of old were build much in the same way as the Islanders.
It is time to eliminate Mike Milbury from the equation. Drafting Kyle Okposo was the first step, and the right step. Now it is time to bring some of our youth up. Give Bergie and Tambellini regualr shifts. Let some of the other kids like Neilsen, Comeau and Colliton play every night. Lord knows we wont be very good. Probably finish with the worst record in the league. But, the Pittsburgh Penguins were just as bad 3 years ago. So were the Washington Capitals. And how about the dreadful Sabres, who were in as poor a shape as the Islanders in the late 1990. They rebuilt with excellent drafting by Darcy Regier--who was taugh to be a GM by--Bill Torrey--so the Sabres success is not a surprise
The last 15 years can be erased in 3 season of smart drafting and patience.
The reason fans are so upset is because they want to win. And they want to know what is going on. Well, hopefully the team now sees that they have only one option left. Maybe they wont fight it. It is time to rebuild folks. It will be a long year, but the seeds will be planted. The trick is to give them time to grow.