We interrupt this week of pre-draft hype (Tavares! Ta-var-es!) to shed a sincere tear of empathy for fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose team is the subject of custodial dispute between two wacky parents. Der Commissioner ruled this afternoon that Oren Koules gets to keep calling the shots, which -- according to reports of Koules' desires -- could mean Vinny Lecavalier is back on the table.
God Bossy knows Islanders fans are all too familiar with the experience of rooting for a team run aground by mismanagement and underfunded (sometimes fraudulent) ownership. That simply isn't fun, and leads one to existential questions best left unanswered.
As James Mirtle pointed out this morning, the Tampa Bay market was a success story just a few seasons ago, which goes to show how it's quite often the management -- not the market -- that determines the fate of NHL teams. Whether we go back to the pre-Ilitch and the Ballard era in Toronto, or to the current ownership messes in Atlanta, Phoenix and Tampa Bay, mismanagement can suck the life out of any fanbase and make the team appear lost, if not hopeless.
Hopefully the Islanders -- continuing with Friday's pick of ... Tavares? -- are continuing to climb their way out of the depths they encountered for several reasons, so many of which pre-date the current leadership. If we are indeed on the rebound, as the roundtable at Puck Daddy unanimously (if guardedly) said, it's a shame there will be other NHL brothers left behind at the mercy of ownership car wrecks.
As for the Rangers, though, may every Dolan whim be their destiny.