Welcome to the recurring "Random Thoughts" column on the voice where we will discuss 5 points surrounding the New York Islanders professional Ice Hockey franchise. Let us dive right in!
1 - The field is shrinking. As was previously reported our beloved GM Garth Snow has the choice of the next coach down to a field of three. The next Islanders coach will be one of three gentlemen, Scott Gordon, Bob Hartley or Paul Maurice. I would be willing to bet that it will be Paul Maurice and here is why short and sweet.
Scott Gordon has had success coaching pro hockey. The only problem with that it his success has been in the AHL. Its a different game people and we need someone that has experience dealing with the overall grind that the NHL season is especially for the young players who will be going through it for the first or second times.
Bob Hartley got fired after 6 games for apparently "losing his team". By all rights Hartley should have been fired the previous season because the Thrashers absolutely shut down at the end of the season and got blown away and embarrased in the playoffs. Im not sure I would trust him with our young players.
Paul Maurice has had a lot of experience at the NHL level and a some of it was bringing teams along from mediocrity into prominence featuring some budding players. No one is trying to compare Maurice to Bill Parcells here but his fingerprints were all over the Canes Stanley Cup victory, AND he got them to the Stanley Cup Finals. Maurice seems to be what Snow is looking for but the problem is does anyone truly know what Snow is looking for? Does anyone truly know what GM savant Garth Snow has up his sleeve? Anyone?
2 - Doug Weight speaks - Doug Weight is anxious to show us all he can still play at a high level. Good. I am glad that Weight feels he has something to prove and I think he can be a great mentor to Josh Bailey. They seem to be very similar type players (save thier 19 year age difference) and Bailey can do a lot worse than to learn from Weight first hand. Hopefully Weight can stay healthy.
3 - Joey McDonald, Backup - DP has been around long enough now to know that he will be injured at some point this season and now Yoda is playing in Russia. Can McDonald handle the job? He was serviceable in the action he saw last year, but we had a backup that had seen real pressure and delivered and he is cashing KHL paychecks now. Its just one more question mark. The good thing is the only way it will matter in the slightest is if two things happen - The team is competitive and Dipietro gets hurt for an extended period.
Now which one of those two is more likely to happen?
4 - Lighthouse project news - Right now no news is good news. Assuming nothing changes the coliseum renovation is still tentatively scheduled to begin following according to Charles Wang - "The Islanders Stanley Cup win this coming June"
I'm not going to touch that one.
5 - Prospects of this coming season - There are apologists around the Islanders as always and this may be the first year I am not one of them. For this team to have any shot at a playoff berth so many things have to break right. Let us open that topic up for discussion. What do you think has to break right for this team to be successful?
Bye for now.