With #1 pick, Isles playing it straight to the end

The Islanders official site has a "new" bit on the #1 pick decision. Except there is nothing new there -- just recycled sentiments from Garth Snow about the importance of the decision, how they know they'll get a great player no matter what, etc.

Which is fine -- I don't expect them, after two months of the strategic close-to-the-vest act, to come out and say, "You know, we're leaning toward the Swede..." But this one reads like a plea from the PR department to calm the masses (while still stirring the hype leading up to June 26):

With the first pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders select …

Islanders fans know they are going to hear that much on June 26th at about 7:15 pm. It is what follows those words that has been causing a stir since April 14th—when the Isles won the lottery and earned the No. 1 overall pick.

But there is one thing fans should understand— Islanders General Manager Garth Snow is well aware that this is not just another Draft.

it is interesting that Snow's notorious "keep it in house" style, as applied to the draft, entails zero comment from him about any of the top players' specific attributes. Even this official story, while acknowledging that John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene are the top three prospects, mentions nothing more about them than their objective counting stats. (i.e. no scuttlebutt about "Scouts like his size/scoring/hockey sense..."). Snow will talk about hosting them on their Long Island visits -- in general terms that apply to all three -- but nothing specific about why each player excites him. He's leaving that to the talking heads.

In its draft coverage, the official site has included a run-down of the top 30 prospects, which usually include a scout's paragraph or two. But even that run-down lists them alphabetically, treating them all as if one democratic pool where each prospect is special in his own way. It is the ultimate in divulging nothing, tipping no hand, revealing nothing about the organization's thinking. A little paranoid? Probably. Handling this franchise's most critical moment in 10 years very carefully? Definitely.

Garth Snow has previously explained that the way Brian Burke does things "is the polar opposite" of how Snow likes to do it. Boy, is he living up to that claim.

[Update: Maybe a question is worth adding here... What do you think? While I don't need Snow to have the bluster of Burke, I've always wished he had a little more PR sense in his blood -- or an understanding that frank communication with fans is good PR and even helps ease mistakes -- but in this instance, I'd give him a paranoia pass. But do you wish Snow shared a little more about the organization's thinking?

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