On Botta: Jeckyll, Hyde, or Genius

Love him or hate him, IPB's Chris Botta is one of the lone sources for Islander "inside" coverage that a fan can turn to. Whether this is the fault of the club itself is open to debate, but for the fan that salivates for a little news there are few choices. Unfortunately, at times it appears that IPB is becoming the "Fox News" to Newsday/Strang's "MSNBC" and what follows is some fan ire and angst that news spinning often generates. I personally like my news Stewart/Colbert CNN style with some middle ground and universal "truth".

After the jump, an examination of Botta's recent criticism of Garth Snow and the motivations from whence they came...

First, some context from the last week of Islanderland. On Nov. 6th with the Isles mired in a seven game losing streak, resident NY Post hack Larry Brooks cited unnamed sources questioning Scott Gordon's job security. On November 8th, Botta reports on IPB that Garth Snow has denied him an interview for AOL Fanhouse. Pesumably to address the Gordon situation as well as the losing streak.

12:45 pm, Iceworks: Garth Snow declined an interview request made Saturday night by me for AOL FanHouse and Point Blank after his team’s seventh consecutive loss in regulation.

In response to the Brooks article, on Nov. 7th Strang/Newsday (sorry about the paywall) and Nov. 9th Botta/IPB write stories about the coaching situation.

Strang to deny the job security issue;

Although speculation has arisen during the team’s recent downward slide, there has been no internal discussions about Gordon’s future with the team, said the source.

And Botta to express team/coach unity despite the losing streak;

But it is important to know that the players and coaches are torn up, not torn apart, by the pain of a seven-game losing streak. There’s a huge difference.


You would think right?

Yesterday's blog entry at IPB appeared to address some of the deficits the Islanders have had during even strength play, but laid blame for the deficits solely at the feet of Snow for having unrealistic expectations for the youth carrying the offense.

Everyone knew the Islanders needed to add offense this season to reach their publicly-stated goal of making the playoffs - no excuses, no more using the crutch of "rebuilding." Yet Islanders management did nothing about it except reach for an NHL breakout season from PA Parenteau by giving him a one-way contract.

The Islanders, only a hair over the salary cap floor and with buyout Alexei Yashin as their highest-paid player, did not even try to get better on offense.

AND most notable....

But here we are, and it’s the head coach who is feeling the heat while everyone else is hardly touched. Such is life in the NHL coaching fraternity. Such is the life of an Islanders head coach since 1995.

Which seems to be in direct contradiction to some of the AOL Fanhouse preview piece's praise of Snow for his forward vision of the team;

To the true orange-and-blue believers, the Islanders are about halfway through a meticulously crafted, slow and steady rebuild that will result in a contender around the time the current CBA expires in 2012. (All the while, awaiting a solution to their never-ending arena crisis.)

In two years, the Islanders could be an exciting, young force that battles with the league's best for many years. Or they could turn out to once again be -- at best -- merely a hopeful for seventh or eighth in the Eastern Conference.

The question for us to examine is whether or not this is a jilted lover syndrome or blame deflection from coach to GM. Several other questions were posed by Botta however that make the former more believable.

Besides the gift of John Tavares, have the Islanders maximized their run of top-five draft picks?

Any word yet on that new job for Trotts?

Another is to wonder why this article (since he requested the interview for Fanhouse) wasn't written...for Fanhouse? Could it be that they wouldn't tolerate this?

Given the fact that most of Islander fans are becoming equivalent to Red Sox or Jets fans with their morose outlook toward the team and it's future (a fact I'm sure CB is aware of if he ever reads his comment threads), the fan response was somewhat predictable and in true lock-step form, many of his fan base piled on...dissenters however, were challenged.

Blog Posters:

Can’t help but notice the difference from today’s earlier post about coaches and players sticking together.

Now that we’ve lost our 2 best all around players to injury and our record sucks, which is the story you’re gonna stick with and that everyone on the blog buys into:

a) Garth tried and did what he could and we’ve had some bad luck; OR

b) Garth is an awful GM who isn’t capable of signing top end talent?

It can only be one or the other, right?

Botta addressing some in the comment thread (not necessarily these comments directly)

This story is not about what free agents the Islanders didn’t sign, it’s about what they did in the offseason. Period. I don’t understand why some readers are making their arguments just about free agency. As you can see from the list of players, I included Wisniewski (trade) and Grabner (waivers). Especially when you’re at the salary cap floor, there are other ways to acquire players. Tampa Bay and Atlanta, among other teams, managed to.

Botta responded in "who me" fashion via twitter:

Tweet: Some readers think I wrote critical post of #Isles because Garth turned down an interview. I thought it was because of 7 Ls in a row.

And today on IPB...some defensiveness and condescension

To the readers who think my post from last night was some sort of hissy fit because Garth Snow turned down an interview request, I would like to respectfully recommend that you might want to turn elsewhere for your Islanders reading. To the best of my knowledge, my column about the Islanders’ failure to improve their offensive attack only had accurate facts and statistical information.

And another while I was writing this rehashing the Jaffe mistake!

Doth he protest too much? Fans don't need the soap opera, fans don't need over-personalized issues tainting their don't need the team neglecting their news which is why most turned to Botta in the first place! Do we think it's strange or par for the course that Botta used the most subjective stat (+/-) and the most obvious stat (even strength scoring...a problem the entire team continues to have) to make his point and throw Snow under the Greyhound? Or is this a plan by design to take heat off of Gordon? If it is, you would think he would try not to trash his players...right?

So it's your vote, let's hear your thoughts. Please add comments if the poll doesn't include what you think. Hopefully we can get back to some hockey and not turn this into a junior high cat fight or kicking while the man is down.

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