Garth Snow and Ted Nolan got together and managed to agree on one thing this off season. The problem is that the one thing they agree on is that Nolan should not coach the Islanders any more. It seems amicable and this blogger wishes the coach the best and I hope to see him do the same thing so many former Islander players and coaches have done after leaving the team. Win. Here are 3 points for and against Nolan leaving the Islanders.
THE BAD -
1 - Nolan brought the respectability, and he was the only one - Make no mistake Ted Nolan brought an air of respectability to the New York Islanders franchise. A team that has an owner who a lot of people think is in this for the real estate, a GM who almost no one takes seriously, an arena that most college franchises would laugh at, a player roster that impresses no one, a legacy for the last 25 years of bad moves, embarrassing fiascoes and failure after failure on the ice. People will argue that Charles Wang is a rock as the Islanders owner but he is not in this for hockey, he is in it for the Lighthouse Project.
2 - More on Snow's head - As if the draft wasn't enough to let us know who is running the Islanders. Garth Snow all but pushed Nolan out the door at the very least saving Nolan the indignity of being fired after a season who's result was the fault of one thing. That one thing is injuries. Now from top to bottom the teams fate will fall in the lap of its 2nd year GM. I hope he can handle the pressure of not only this year's draft but all but showing the popular coach the door. One more question to consider is who in his right mind would want to coach this team? I hope Snow doesn't hear laughter on the phone if he is smart enough to call John Tortorella.
3 - Bad, Meet Worse - Nolan was commended for getting the Islanders to the playoffs in his first year on the team, then Smyth runs to Colorado and the roster is remade. Amazingly enough the Islander are still competitive. Not only competitive but a mere 3 points behind the Devils for FIRST PLACE in their division. This was roughly 50 games into the season. Ask anyone and they will tell you the Ted Nolan was the reason for the success doing what he does best and that is squeezing every bit of talent out of the players he was given. Eventually the bottom fell out as the team lost over 400 man games to injury last season. It would seem the coach is not at fault but he is left paying the price.
THE GOOD -
1 - Unhappy coach? No Thank You.- Ted Nolan was not happy and did not want to do 2 things. One was enter the final year of his contract without an extension, and he wanted a steady veteran presence on his team. Unfortunately both of those were going to happen no matter what. Instead of staying and trying to earn more time with the team Nolan chose to push the issue and the result is him leaving the team. The players on this team do not need an unhappy coach, they need a coach who is on board 100% with the plan.
2 - Coach the Kids, Not Bury Them. - Its also no secret that some of the Islanders most promising prospects did not flourish under Nolan, always favoring the veteran over the kid. Jeff Tambelini in one that springs to mind. Everyone wanted the kid to get top 6 minutes. That is everyone except Ted Nolan. You will come to realize that Nolan had every intention of playing the veteran over the kid possibly at the expense of letting said kid get the time he needs to flourish in this league. The new coach will certainly be on board on this policy and hopefully the kids will get the chance they never got under Nolan unless injuries required it.
3 - Everyone on the same page. Make no mistake people. The Islanders are in a rebuild mode. Ted Nolan is a great coach and no one can deny this. That being said he just wasn't right for this team. The Islanders need a coach who will grow with the team and the young players it is committed to for the long haul. 2 years ago Nolan was the perfect guy for the job but our outlook has changed over the last 2 years. Instead of piece mealing a team together the Islanders are trying to grow one and Nolan clearly did not want to be a part of it.
Let me know what you think on this subject as I am sure it will generate a lot of discussion.