UPDATE: Wang spoke this morning, telling Newsday, "There's no truth to the story," while the L.I. Press naturally stands behind its unnamed source. If all of this is news to you, you can scroll down to see how a very strange, unnamed-sourced story in a small local pub put many people through the wringer last night. (You can also wonder whether Wang saw some PR value in people waiting until morning for a response.) As usual, calm wins the day, but storms make things happen. Carry on...
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A source has informed the Long Island Press that, although there has been no public announcement, the ambitious Lighthouse Project has already been abandoned internally by New York Islanders team owner Charles Wang.
The source has also indicated that reorganization has already begun within Wang’s company, reassigning some top-level executives who have been key members of the Lighthouse initiative to work on other unrelated projects.
Regarding the news of the day, or rather last night: The only thing I can say with certainty is that it would be silly to come this far, investing this long, to have the Lighthouse Project end this way. It would be unconventional (but since when is Wang not unconventional?) to pull the plug not with a bang, but a whimper. Not after this much.
Yet it's also typical of this whole saga that we don't know how much is real, and how much is necessary threat. There's even talk that the repressed fear of financing in this climate may be the final knell. Who knows? A different source "close to Wang" told Newsday the project has not been abandoned.
But the L.I. Press story did indeed come out -- Was it an informed source? A misguided leak? A tardy election ploy? Something else? -- and fans and vested local citizens whose hopes and prospects are on the line were left to wonder ... without answers. If it's a gimmick, it's a bad one. If it's a negotiating ploy, it's par for the course but also a nasty way to toy with emotions. One source said things are not dead but on "life support." In a way, same as it ever was.
As a non-resident (but friend to several who are) and outside observer, I'd say some version of the LHP was always the way to go, and ousting Kate Murray for Kristen McElroy as town supervisor in November -- however unlikely -- would be a step in that direction. But as with everything in this adventure, it's far more than an election, or a hockey team, or a big-event venue; a vision for a future, a sustainable way forward, a strange political trip to get there.
For me, best leave it to those who know best. Impressions from passionate Long Islanders and those in the know:
- Exclusive: Plug is Pulled on Lighthouse [Long Island Press] The story that set the Web on fire.
- Silence Surrounds Lighthouse Project [Newsday] "It appeared Wednesday night that anyone associated with the Lighthouse project was in hiding."
- Report: Lighthouse Project Goes Dark [Islanders Point Blank] "IF - and that’s a big IF because it’s early enough - Charles Wang or his staff do not provide a response to Islanders fans tonight with any media outlet, they would be making a big mistake. You do not toy with the emotions of your fanbase..." I dunno. Maybe if it's that or bust?
IPB follow-up: "A big thumbs down for how they've handled this so far."
- Lights Out? Not Quite. But media silence no answer [Hockey Independent]
- Cries of Fire. Looking for Smoke [Let There be Light(house)] "I am not ready to believe this news because all we have is an unconfirmed report from an anonymous source ... Hopefully we hear from the Lighthouse soon."
- All That Blood, Sweat, Tears ... and For What? [Isles Official's Outlook] Pure heartfelt. And Doug's follow-up, after Wang spoke in the morning.
- Shenanigans? [Tiger Track] "I'm sorry Long Island Press, when it comes to Lighthouse news, I'll believe Newsday more than you."
- No Comment [The Rivalry] "As of right now, the only thing indicating that the Lighthouse Project is no more is a small local paper citing a singular unnamed source. In other words, that's not even close to reliable."
- No Light to be Found [7th Woman] "Something is wrong with this picture, but I don't know what it is."
- Lighthouse: Straight into Darkness [Still Drivin'] "You would think that after all the time and money and energy spent, Wang and the Lighthouse Development Corp. wouldn't just walk away, not this quickly."
- Lights Out for the Lighthouse? [Islanders Hockey Blog]
Whether the story is founded, part of strategy, or something in between, we'll have more on-ice stuff later today. (There's a season to play, after all -- and who knows how many more.) For now, though:
- Gordon to Unselfish Bailey: 'Shoot the Puck!' [Newsday/Herrmann]
- Michael Schuerlein/Islesblogger on the size questions he posed to Scott Gordon [Bleacher]
- The opening weeks' losing has already gotten to Islanders Outsider.
Be well, and cheers to everyone put through the wringer last night. That rather sucked.