EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — If you were expecting (or hoping) for some sort of clarity on the Islanders’ front office situation or whether or not John Tavares would re-sign with the team, then Monday was a major disappointment.
On a day that was expected bring at least some answers, there were none. Just more confusion and frustration as Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky read from a prepared statement and then left general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight to answers questions.
The situation made more awkward by the fact that Ledecky’s statement appeared to contradict comments made by Snow and Weight to Newsday and The Athletic moments earlier that they expected to be back next season.
A peculiar moment to end a peculiar season.
So Snow and Weight remain in place, at least for the moment. A move that is as headscratching as Ledecky’s decision not to answer any questions on Monday.
Snow has taken the brunt of the fan base’s frustration over the catastrophic campaign, and rightfuly so. And there was an expectation that change would come if the team didn’t live up to expectations this.
But after the last exit interview was done, nothing had really changed and the management that put together 2017-18 Islanders remained. There had been ample reason to fire Snow from his duties even before this season, the eighth time during his 12 years as GM that the Islanders failed to qualify for the postseason.
This season’s failures, however, felt even more catastrophic considering the career years several players had and the offensive firepower the Islanders possessed. The Islanders flaws were obvious — their defense struggled immensely, especially after several injuries on the blue line, as did their goaltending — but the Islanders general manager did nothing to try to fix things.
“You always look at opportunities that may present themselves,” Snow said about not making a move before the trade deadline. “For us, similar to every other team in the league, you have to deal with adversity and deal with injuries… We came up short and injuries happen every year to every team. We have to overcome it and be better, and we will.”
Asked what guarantee Snow could make to the fans that the team will, in fact, be better next season, his response was less than reassuring. “We’re going to do our 100 percent effort to make sure we’re not in this situation moving forward,” he said.
Ledecky characterized this season as a failure from an ownership perspective, but almost as big a misstep was his decision to not stay and answer it. Instead there was more abiguity surrounding the direction of the team.
The co-owner said ther would be an evaluation of the team’s hockey operations, leaving the door open to a change down the road, but considering the crucialness of this offseason what is the benifiting of waiting.
Monday was the perfect chance to either endorse your front office and coaching staff as is or decide to make a change. Ownership did neither of that.
“I am not here today to talk about any specific individuals, including players, coaches and the general manager,” Ledecky said. “We believe it is essential to our success to have a thoughtful evaluation process to look at the past and more importantly assess the future of our team on and off the ice. As for the past season, as owners we have failed. We sincerely apologize to our fans.”
And if Ledecky and co-owner Scott Malkin are waiting to see what Tavares does, well that could be some time.
The Islanders captain said that he would be taking his time in making a final decision about remaining with the organization or not. None of the conversation managment had with Tavares on Monday even dealt with his contract situation, the star forward said.
“I think I’ve earned the right to take my time and go from there,” Tavares said. “I don’t know if it will be a week, two weeks a month, two months. I mean, I don’t really know.”
So here we are… Tavares appears no closer to a decision on a new contract and will taking his time (something he has every right to do). Snow and Weight still remaining employed, but maybe, possibly that could change?
Welcome to the offseason everyone.