I feel like I'm working for the CIA trying to find out what the Islanders brass is thinking or planning. Living out of state and not willing to pay the $5 for Newsday access doesn't help but, I don't think it would make that much of a difference. Katie Strang seems to do as good a job that you could under the circumstances. (I would like to know the 5 prospects she thinks the Isles are looking at; as was posted in her blog recently but, I could only see Sean Couturier and the photo that looked like Sven Bartschi. Like I said, it's like being a CIA analyst.
Like when on the rare occasions Garth Snow may have a Q&A with the press posted on the Isles web site, you need to try and read between the lines to get any idea what he may be thinking. Now I'm not saying Snow should say something like; "We really want Mika Zibanejad and plan to trade down to get him"; but if there was more media coverage or at least some media coverage, as a fan it would be nice. Maybe a little behind the scene insight on who the Isles are interested in or if they would consider a trade. Even some stupid false rumor would be fun. It's only sports, for our entertainment.
When we need to read Dee Karl's blog (which is just a nice person's fan blog) to get any information there's a problem. It seems she's the only person that Snow is willing to give an interview with because he knows he can intimidate her and totally control the interview. She is obviously not a journalist and just printing what other people have posted elsewhere. I'm not bashing her. She does a fine job but in her recently posted interview with Snow, she mentions "ground rules" for the interview. What's that? What were these ground rules? If Snow doesn't want to answer a question why can't he just say on the record that he doesn't want to answer that question.
This is the problem with the media in general and with journalist of all kind today. They're more interested in access than in doing their job. Dee Karl was trying to find out what prospects were coming to Long Island and Snow didn't even want to say how many had been invited. This is not a state secret with National Security importance. I know from watching some of the videos from the combine and IPB that Zibanejad and Strome were coming. I assume Hamilton and Couturier would also be coming to LI. What is he so afraid of?
The whole "don't ask a tough question on the record or you'll be denyed access" is keeping the fans in the dark. This is not Toronto where there are several papers trying to get the scoop and the Isles are not the Mets or Yankees. Newsday is the only paper that has a full time reporter assigned to the team and if you're out of state you don't have access to Katie Strang's articles or blog.
Snow is too guarded and his personality does not lead to good communications with the fans. And this comes from a fan that supports Snow and thinks he's done a fine job. It has been mentioned on this site that maybe Doug Weight would be better to handlle some of the media responsiblities. This might help. But something needs to change.
With the fight to get a new arena and getting fan interest to sell tickets, the Islanders need to do a better job of communicating with the fans and giving access to the media (the little that want to follow the team).
Here's my suggestions: Three things the Islanders could do.
1) Make Weight the media point person. Let him handle most of the daily questions. The team needs to be a little more of an open book. It took a couple weeks for them to tell the media that Montoya had surgery. What's the big deal about what prospects are being invited to LI. Use it as publicity for the rebuild. Are they that afraid of another team being able to figure out who they're interested in?
2) Bury the hatchet with Botta. I know the guy can be a jerk and thinks he's a big deal but, denying him access doesn't help. I know Snow thinks Botta sometimes makes the story into something about Botta, but any additional media coverage the team can get will only help sell tickets. They could grant him access to the draft party or for a big announcement so the story is the Draft pick or a FA signing or contract extension for a player and not separate story that "the Islander admit an error and grant access to Botta".
3) Do a better job of explaining past decisions and problems. The reason the payroll is low is because the roster is full of ELC players. The reason UFA don't sign here is because the Islanders have not been a recent playoff team and there is too much uncertainty about where the team will be after the lease runs out in 2015. Wang is willing to spend the money. He is losing 20 million annually if not more and was willing to give Yashin and DiPietro big, long team deals. There is no reason to believe he won't do it again. The Islander need to explain that the payroll is a reflexion of the plan to rebuild through the draft and not on Wangs lack of willingness to spend money.
Maybe being an older guy who is use to just reading the paper I don't know where to look on the internet but, if it wasn't for this site and a few others I would be totally in the dark.