These are the unpredictable July news breaks I was referring to -- the ones that come out of left field like a Rick DiPietro contract. In one 24-hour period, when all was calm (and the goaltending situation rather settled ... right?) in Islanders nation, Garth Snow yanks a bargain in Martin Biron off the market while word of the Islanders'
firing er, non-renewal of their radio team also surfaced.
The radio move is the sadder one: The Islanders are moving to a regrettable simulcast of their TV feed, which -- there is no way to sugar-coat it nor refute it -- always means a decline in quality. The TV crew, despite their best efforts, inevitably speaks like their viewers are, well, watching, while radio listeners miss out on quite necessary visual descriptions.
This is a cheap move, a cost-cutting move, a regrettable move. Yet given the spotty state of the Islanders' cobbled-together radio package, it's almost an understandable move. If your radio broadcast requires an over-the-air listener to find the right overpass for a good reception (and the right station), then does it make sense to invest in the broadcast overall? Perhaps not. Too bad for Steve Mears and Chris King, who were a good listen both on game broadcasts and in their non-radio work for the club.
Meanwhile, a cheap move that was a great move -- quite a steal, really -- is the signing of ex-Flyer and Sabre Martin Biron for a one-year deal at a waaaay lower salary ($1.4 million) than this former No. 1 was seeking. The timing of this was funny and telling, coming right after B.D. Gallof read the tea leaves and doubted -- again -- the progress of Rick DiPietro's rehab, while Chris Botta himself projected a delayed -- yet full? -- recovery for the oft-injured franchise keeper.
I've always like DiPietro as a goalie, for his potential and even some delivery -- if not his contract's atrocious long-term nature. But once injuries made my doubts for his contract all-too-reasonable, like many Isles fans I was ready to bring in the corps of replacements. Do I hope he recovers fully? Yes. Do I hope Charles Wang is able to salvage this well-intentioned if foolhardy deal? Yes. But the Isles have a team to run, which necessitates a smarter bet in a hockey club's most important position than "hoping" the franchise goalie recovers soon.
It may be a year late, but it's nice to see Snow has moved -- both at the draft and via free agency with Biron and Dwayne Roloson -- to see that through.