FanDuel - WFBC

July 18, 2006

Here today, gone tomorrow: Neil Smith out as Isle GM. Why? Nobody knows just yet. The bad news? Milbury is back as acting GM.

posted by HATER 187 to hockey at 12:46 PM - 41 comments

I just hope that this doesn't fuel the "Ted Nolan gets GMs fired" debate.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:55 PM on July 18

Uh oh. He just got there. Whatever just went down, this is not cool.

posted by chicobangs at 01:18 PM on July 18

Oh and this might interest you Chico.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:33 PM on July 18

Man, if Ted Nolan can get a GM fired before his first training camp, that guy's got talent. There has to be something weird going on here.

posted by fabulon7 at 02:02 PM on July 18

I was just going to say that. Nolan strikes again! I wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that the Isles offered Peca a three-year $7.5 million deal that he turned down for the equivalent one year offer with the Leafs. I mean, if you can't even attract some of your own old players back with overpaying contracts...

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:18 PM on July 18

I noticed that, Hater. Peca fills the "older Toronto guy coming home in a feeble attempt at late-career glory" role that Lindros vacated. I feel better with him in a Leaf uni than ol' crystal-cranium, at least. I've been looking for more info on ESPN/YES/SNY, and not much. Mike Francesa (I'm watching Mike & the friggin' Mad Dog for this. The heat must be getting to me) thinks it's because Charles Wang didn't let Neil Smith hire his own coach, and if that's true, then score one for Nolan, but then why would Smith have taken the job in the first place? I'll wait to see what boils down out of this.

posted by chicobangs at 02:42 PM on July 18

From Hater's linked article: "My willingness to play in Toronto goes beyond being from Toronto," said Peca at Tuesday's news conference. "It's recognizing an organization that prides itself on wanting to win." Wow -- pride in wanting to win. Guess he couldn't say pride in actually, you know, winning (I suppose based on recent results). And before you Leafs fans jump all over me, (I think) I know what he meant. Just a funny slip of the tongue.

posted by holden at 02:44 PM on July 18

The Islander's story keeps getting better.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:46 PM on July 18

"It's recognizing an organization that prides itself on wanting to win." Good thing he didn't end up with any of those several hockey clubs that want to lose.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:53 PM on July 18

Wait, Garth Snow? Man. I double-checked that site's masthead for an Onion logo.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:55 PM on July 18

It appears Wang is trying to give Wirtz a run as the worst owner in the NHL. This let's run this as a "business" charade is just another excuse for crappy ownership. I'm pulling for Nolan to make lemonade with the lemons called the Islanders. Perhaps Neil Smith made assumptions about his position that initially proved false and he had the common sense to get out before his career was left in shambles. I don't know what to make of the Peca acquisition by Toronto. I want to say Good Luck with that because I'm not sure he has enough patience to tolerate the methodical approach to hockey that they can't seem to shake in Toronto even when Ferguson says "We're going to be younger, quicker and play a more up-tempo style". If I was a Leafs fan I'd be wondering why that hasn't been their approach years ago. Sounds like a sound bite approach to the dreaded "rebuilding in Toronto" fiasco they put their fans threw every few years. This could be a strong team and surprise some people in 2007 if Peca can supply some leadership. The Leafs have an interesting poll on their website. What will be the biggest thing that Mike Peca brings to the Maple Leafs? *Leadership *Good Defensively *Strong Penalty Killer *Hitting Hard to answer huh?

posted by skydivedad at 03:09 PM on July 18

* Jersey sales

posted by DrJohnEvans at 03:21 PM on July 18

Wow. Snow. Um, okay. And Smith seems to have been pushed, as opposed to having jumped. Curiouser and curiouser. To be fair, Snow is a smart guy, and I've seen him do analysis and he seems to know his business. But he's never been a GM before, let alone one who's won a Stanley Cup in the New York market. I wish him all the best, but jeezus, talk about a stacked deck against him.

posted by chicobangs at 03:24 PM on July 18

When Smith was fired, I thought, "Wow, the Isles franchise just keeps on making questionable decisions. When will this all stop?" Not today, I guess. It keeps getting weirder and weirder over there. Do they just spin a decision wheel or something?

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:06 PM on July 18

skydivedad, give Maurice a chance. I think he'll craft a much different looking Leafs' team for 06-07. You know, a team that can score 5-on-5. He might even get them to .500 in the shoot-out. Most will also be surprised by how much faster the team will seem, even with many returning players. No more country-club practices...I hope.

posted by garfield at 04:37 PM on July 18

"Despite Neil's commitment to me that he could work in this environment, he later expressed to me on a number of occasions his philosophical opposition to our business model." Sounds like Neil didn't appreciate the group-oriented environment.

posted by garfield at 04:38 PM on July 18

Snow GM wow that one hit us in the ass who would of thought lets hope hes a better GM then Goalie

posted by sirtt22 at 07:17 PM on July 18

To be fair the Isle have shored up some of thier weak spots (toughness, defense) and I don't think they are going to make any huge moves this offseason, so Snowy can rest up for the rest of the summer. This also leaves the door open for a backup with one of the most awesome names.

posted by HATER 187 at 07:18 PM on July 18

I don't know a thing about hockey, but this looks like a lot of fun. You take a smart player you're close to, fit him for a suit, and surround him with experienced staff. It worked with Avery Johnson in Dallas (as coach, not GM), and I'm sure there are more and better examples. I wish stuff like this happened more often. I'd love it if a few major sports team brought back the player/coach.

posted by dusted at 10:49 PM on July 18

Now LaFontaine has resigned. What a mess.

posted by garfield at 11:10 PM on July 18

ESPN had a follow up on this clusterfuck. Nolan is still viewed by some as a "GM-killer." I know he go this reputation in Buffalo, but what exactly happened there?

posted by HATER 187 at 07:33 AM on July 19

Doesn't sound like Nolan had much do with it - other than not being hired directly by Smith. Sounds to me like Charles Wang and he didn't see eye to eye. For the record - hiring Garth Snow out of retirement is one of the funniest things I've read. Talk about a puppet GM seat warmer. Re. Tard. Ed.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:01 AM on July 19

I double-checked that site's masthead for an Onion logo. My reaction exactly.

posted by qbert72 at 09:55 AM on July 19

Gotta agree Weedy. Can someone remind me where Snow got his MBA? He must have one, right? I mean, his playing experience isn't going to help him much in the boardroom. Even if having played the game helps in the executive offices, a goalie isn't likely to be the best choice. What I mean is that all the other positional players have a lot of overlap in their roles, and a wider understanding of the game in general. A goalie is a one trick pony by comparison. So, was Snow picked because of his exceptional leadership abilities? I admit that I haven't followed his career more than any of the fairly well known net minders, but was he ever even a captain?

posted by ctal1999 at 10:21 AM on July 19

From the "clusterfuck" article linked above: (Ironically, despite his retirement, Snow's $750,000 annual salary will count against the club's cap in each of the next two seasons.) There's your first job as GM...trade this deadweight backup goalie! Oh, wait...shit, nevermind.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:41 AM on July 19

positional players have a lot of overlap in their roles, and a wider understanding of the game in general. Generally, the opposite is true. Goalies observe the game more so than skaters, by virtue of being on the ice for the entire game. This is why ex-goalies make for good broadcasters.

posted by garfield at 11:31 AM on July 19

I am not a huge hockey fan but I am a pretty big fan of the business side of sports. This is the most extreme example that I have ever seen of hiring the guy that is perhaps least qualified for the job because as a weaker candidate he will be more pliable to the will of the owner. Totalitarian owners like to surround themselves with yes-men in management positions. Wang has really named himself GM today.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 06:18 PM on July 19

Then if I watch every Wings game, and I get to see all the action up close and from the best angles, I should be more of an expert than the players, right? The only focus the average goalie has on offense is a concern for how many goals his guys will give him to work with. They're not much different from AL pitchers from that standpoint. A goalie does have to have a little better idea of what's going on with the D, simply because he needs to know what to expect from his own players as the other team drives in with the puck. Here's an example for you. Cujo was a very experienced and capable goalie for the Wings (the most experienced they've had in awhile). By your argument, he should have a better handle on the overall game than Yzerman. Are you joking?

posted by ctal1999 at 06:23 PM on July 19

Here's an example for you. Cujo was a very experienced and capable goalie for the Wings (the most experienced they've had in awhile). By your argument, he should have a better handle on the overall game than Yzerman. Are you joking? I think you skipped over the part where he said that In general, the opposite is true. It's not a matter of picking one specific goalie and one specific forward. It would be a matter of comparing goalies as a whole to skaters as a whole. I don't know if garf is right or not, but if you're going to ask him if he's joking, you should at least have some idea of what the subject matter of the joke is.

posted by Samsonov14 at 07:21 PM on July 19

Sam, you jumped on the fact that I gave an example and totally ignored the fact that the example was in support of my original argument, which seemed pretty clearly stated, and which you conveniently failed to address. If we made a list of the top 50 players who were students of the game, I'd be really surprised if many of them were goalies. I know I only gave one example, but let's go with Roy. He's considered by most to be the premiere goalie of the last decade, and between the pipes, he certainly knew his shit. Forget Stevie Y. Do you think he knows more about the overall game than Shanahan? Brett Hull? How about Gretzky? Super Mario? Chelios? Let me know if you want me to add to the list, or for that matter, if you think of a goalie who's head and shoulders above Roy in knowledge of the game.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:57 PM on July 19

This is why ex-goalies make for good broadcasters. Ex-back-up goalies. They have the best seats. And they hear the coaches allllll game.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:52 PM on July 19

I just had to pass these along. I don't know what to say! Apparently Garth Snow likes a party. Islanders gonna have some fun. You can see a Canucks and Penguins jersey framed and hanging on the wall. (Snows previous teams) "and a good time was had by all." gotta love those "freaky Goalies"

posted by skydivedad at 09:48 PM on July 19

I know I only gave one example, but let's go with Roy. He's considered by most to be the premiere goalie of the last decade, and between the pipes, he certainly knew his shit. Forget Stevie Y. Do you think he knows more about the overall game than Shanahan? Brett Hull? How about Gretzky? Super Mario? Chelios? Let me know if you want me to add to the list, or for that matter, if you think of a goalie who's head and shoulders above Roy in knowledge of the game. I don't know, but I think coaching a major junior hockey team to the Memorial Cup championship, in your first year of coaching, is a pretty damn good indication of "knowledge of the game".

posted by grum@work at 02:17 AM on July 20

let's go with Roy

posted by qbert72 at 07:37 AM on July 20

Is this cartoon any less funny now?

posted by Spitztengle at 10:10 AM on July 20

Milbury is going to be reinstated as GM - maybe not officially, maybe not within the calendar year - but he'll be making all the moves. Total clown shoes moves by Wang. Just oo funny. I love it!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:55 AM on July 20

OK, grum, ya got me. I'm still not ready to agree that the average goalie has a better knowledge of the game than the average skater, but Patrick was a terrible example. I knew he'd been coaching, but didn't realize he'd done this well. There are probably players from the recent era that have a better handle on it than he does...but if there are, it's not by much. His knowledge of the overall game is obviously VERY solid, so, if you'll excuse me, I'll just be off in the corner trying to pull my foot out of my mouth.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:12 AM on July 20

What I mean is that all the other positional players have a lot of overlap in their roles, and a wider understanding of the game in general. A goalie is a one trick pony by comparison ctal1999, I see where you are coming from with this, and if a goalie had to try and play the wing, he'd likely have a very hard time of it, despite having seen how it should be done. But for a managerial/abstracted/over-all understanding of the game, a creaseman would be my bet. The best way I can think of to describe a goalie's advantage in this regard is 'seeing the ice' for much longer, uninterupted spans than skaters. Rather than experiencing the game in shifts, the goalie has a broader frame of reference from which to learn. Kind of like winning the war instead of just a battle, if you will allow a war analogy. Goalies also sense and understand 'momentum' much more than skaters because they are on the ice when it swings to and from their team. Obviously skaters have alot to do with momentum, but goalies can see the little differences between shifts that can make the momentum swing. Perhaps this is why some goalies can up their play during important times of a game, and why some goalies crumble under the pressure. So what I'm horrendously getting at is that goalies are more likely to pick up on the subtlies and nuances of the game. The greats know these things as well, but even mediocre, and yes, back-up, goalies learn the game much more readily than your average, and even 4th line, skater.

posted by garfield at 11:35 AM on July 20

Still not sure I agree, gar, but I see where you're coming from, too. I hadn't considered the momentum aspect, and it's certainly valid. Still, even though a goalie is out there all game, the only offense he gets a good view of is that of the other team. In his own end, he's got a "ringside seat", but the guys on the bench have a better view of the other end of the ice than he does. Of course, he also has the opportunity to watch everything that goes on in the other end without having to worry about his own responsibilities for the moment. He gets to watch the whole offense instead of having to focus on one position. You haven't convinced me yet, but at first I thought you were half baked, and now you've given me something to think about.

posted by ctal1999 at 02:58 PM on July 20

I wish I was half-baked. Stupid bills/job/responsibility/life/s.o./bills

posted by garfield at 03:07 PM on July 20

Chuckle...

posted by ctal1999 at 01:01 AM on July 22

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