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Wrong Pickup Lines: The real reason the Islanders don't land big fish

Editor's Note from Dominik: I've always wanted a separate section here at Lighthouse Hockey for fiction, satire, comedy and general tomfoolery. Since I'm (a) lazy and (b) not good at creating the funny, I never got around to it. Until now. We're now filing posts like this one under LHH Zeitgeist. When you see that section heading, you'll know it's not our typical straightforward (ha) Islanders coverage. Like the old GM Chatroom of 2008, or the time Don King hyped up a Scott Gordon press conference.

On that note, LHH user Keith Quinn (used to be quin3456 or some such Yahoo assignment) has been officially added to our staff as a moderator/author/hammer, so please welcome him (or fear him. Your choice.). Keith is the originator and author of this post and, hopefully, others like it.

In the wake of Evgeni Nabokov’s refusal to report to the Islanders after they claimed him on waivers, Lighthouse Hockey has learned that the Isles’ difficulty in luring big free agents and waiver pick-ups may not be the current state of Nassau Coliseum, the uncertainty of future team locale, the team’s current position in the standings, or the fact that if you upset Sean Avery's feelings he'll keep you out of the best bars in NYC.

The problem? Several current and former players are confirming that Garth Snow is using waiver pick-up "lines" in his initial contacts with players that may be turning them off. One anonymous source said, "He keeps using these cheesy lines, like he’s at a club. Not only is it unprofessional, it’s kind of creepy. I told him I was going in another direction, and he said, 'But I'm too legit to quit!' -- he even did the hand signals. I mean, really? MC Hammer?"

Nabakov has gone on record about Snow’s waiver pick-up lines, stating, "That’s really why I hung up on him. I told Don (Meehan) to give him the fake number…then he kept calling and calling. He even had his friend Wang call…I mean who does that? Look, seven messages! Seven! One said I could be the straw that stirs the Official NYI vodka."

What They Said

After hours of research, what follows are quotes from several of the past free agents and waiver acquisitions attempts who have been put off by these Jersey Shore-style one liners, as well as some counter arguments and defense of Snow from current players:

  • Paul Martin: "He calls me up and is like, 'Hey Paul, let’s rearrange the alphabet and put U and IIIII -landers together! Heh? Heh?' You could almost see him making the little gun fingers through the phone."
  • Ilya Kovalchuck: "I got the call at midnight. He says, 'Hey is this Gillete? Because this season Ilya, you’re the best this man can get!' Svetlana left right after and wouldn’t let me explain…look at the season I’m having now…only 16 years to go. Garth Snow ruined my life!"
  • Ryan Smyth said of his free agency meetings several years ago: "The guy comes in stinking like cologne and wearing sunglasses with his shirt half-unbuttoned. He looks at me and says, 'Who has two thumbs and a 3-year deal for ya?' Then he starts pointing at his chest and laughing, "This guy! Heh? Heh?"…Surreal…I thought it was cheese-ball -- and I have a mullet for Christ's sake."
  • One anonymous player with a history of concussions said that Snow asked him if he "wanted fries with that shake" while he was still experiencing symptoms. "It seemed pretty insensitive to me," the player said. "Wait, what are we talking about again?"
  • Bill Guerin: "I had been drinking and all of a sudden he walks into the bar and says, 'I’ll bet you $9 million over two years you won’t sign here'…What happened next? F&%# you, you know what happened next."
  • Mike Comrie: "I just remember him saying something like, 'If you sign here, I can tell Wang, "Hey Charles, look what the Snow toe-dragged in!"' But honestly, I didn't care what he said, I just wanted the money." (Comrie shouts away from phone: "Hey! HEY! I said I wanted a RED umbrella with this drink!")
  • Jason Blake shared his tale of woe during his failed free agency negotiations with Snow prior to the 2007-08 season: "Yeah, when we were discussing whether I'd re-sign or not he came in and was all, 'Hey Jason, al-bi-no more of you! Bahaha!' He said he was just playing around, that he really did want me back. But that was when I knew I was taking The Fist Pump elsewhere, to the good life with a winner in Toronto. I’ve learned since then, he was right about my career…and I am an albino…STOP STARING!"


But Some Players Totally Go for Waiver Pick-Up Lines

However, some of Snow’s current players defended the tactic, calling it a breath of fresh air in a sometimes cutthroat business.

  • Rob Schremp told of Snow’s use of the old "UPS line" during his re-signing last year: "He asked me if my dad worked for UPS, because I was the total package," said Schremp. "And he’s right, so I re-signed…Snowy’s an astute GM."
  • Milan Jurcina, a big fan of The Knack from his childhood days when access to Western music was sparse in then-Czechoslovakia, shared this tale from last July: "Garth call me up and he say, 'Hey Milan, how would you like to be ma-ma-ma-myyyyy Jurcina?' And right den I was like totally sold. Is fantastic. We play dis album all ze time at disco."
  • That same day, Mark Eaton was also signed. Eaton tells the tale: "I guess Snowy had been hanging out with Chef Bruno Gervais some, talking about the need to strengthen the blueline. So food was on his mind. He reaches me on the beach and he's all, "Hey Mark, our defensive corps is thin and hungry. You know what it needs? Mmm-mmm, some gooood Eaton!' I mean, maybe it was the margarita talking, but it won me over. It's just nice to be desired, even if milquetoast isn't actually a food, as far as I know."
  • P.A. Parenteau was a little more emotional about his signing: "He had me at hello," sobbed Parenteau -- who isn't one to hide his emotions.

Still, if the Islander’s are ever going to make it through this slow and often unsteady rebuild, Snow will need to change tactics, and add some better lines to his repertoire.

So please, in comments feel free to help your Islanders GM by offering your own exciting waiver pick-up lines. It may get a drink thrown in your face, but sometimes, you never know, they just might go for it.