The defeat of the arena referendum is going to sting for a while...there is no doubt about that. Throughout this week, we've seen some political/economic posturing from municipalities including Brooklyn, Queens and Suffolk (all of which are technically still a part of Long Island by the way) that have thus far not been addressed by Charles Wang or team spokespersons.
The biggest area for speculation and exploitation is the "what does this do to the players' psyche" angle. Is this exhausting? Are they mentally tough? Are they afraid for the future? Will they seek greener pastures?
If there's one thing I'm hoping for, it's that all of this "drafting for character" stuff bears some character fruit.
BD Gallof is speculating that the Isles will remain at the cap floor and that the Isles will not offer John Tavares a long term deal. Later, he speculates that JT may not want to re-sign with the Isles either if they remain a cap-floor team. While both of these scenarios are possible, it really doesn't smack of a smart business plan for the team or Tavares going forward...especially if the team starts to win. Charles Wang will probably never recoup the 230 million in losses he's suffered, but he does have the opportunity to mitigate future damage here. Why go through a painful rebuild and not see it appreciate? If the players were bonds, would Wang bail before they matured?
We already know the Isles will be spending at or around the cap floor anyway, so much of this speculation will be unprovable. Whether the team competes or not, they've had smart cap management, savvy evaluation and young players locked up. Most of the expensive free agents are off the table already (and we know about those signing problems), and there doesn't appear to be much in the way of a trade market right now. This could change toward the approach and completion of training camp as teams up against the cap look to move players, but the problem in evaluating the Isles motives is, they've been frugal anyway...all deals have to make short and long-term sense. "The rebuild" plan has always looked like "non-investment" from a financial perspective and to outsiders, but it also is how long-term success is built. If we could tick-tock it to the future, we'd know, but as it stands, we will have to wait for the future to become the present, or even the past, to know for sure what the intent was.
A great many Islander fans are concerned about losing Tavares, and for good reason. He's developing fast and looks to be an (insert stream of intangibles). I took a look at some of the most recently re-located teams to try to find reports of young stars making trade demands or refusing to sign contracts given similar situations. I couldn't find any...not that they don't exist, but I didn't see any. A partial list of young players who re-located includes: Joe Sakic, Teemu Selanne, Keith Tkachuk, Keith Yandle and a host of others from the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota North Stars. If anyone remembers or can find anything, please add to the comment section.
Vintage Leaf Memories had this to say about John Tavares re-signing;
What I do see is Tavares leaving there as soon as he gets a chance, regardless of how much loyalty he may feel to the team that drafted him, or how much they will be willing to pay him. He’d be a very good guy to keep building around, but I anticipate his frustration growing if things don’t soon improve.
My thought is that an athlete will focus more on the makeup of the team than that team's location. The majority of professional athletes are not playing in their home state (in the NHL, not even in their home country) so unless the team is being hamstrung from winning or the athlete is being lowballed on salary, location may not matter much at all. It will usually boil down to money and the "chance to win". If John Tavares feels this team (as a collection of players fighting for a Stanley Cup) is trending in the right direction, most likely, he will stay provided he is paid appropriately.
All indicators from the team and players point toward focusing on hockey from this point forward. There will be a bit of a news blackout (on the team side) that I'm sure will cause an uneasiness around the fanbase that's liable to grow into some wild speculation.
Hopefully, the Blake Comeau signing is a good omen for the future, but take everything with a grain of salt and focus on the hockey. If the team begins to turn a corner this year, they will be easier to sell, relocate, and/or keep here with a new arena. It will be easier to sign UFAs, it will be easier to make trades, and will be easier to convince players to stay. This team can't lose much more value than it currently has. Sometimes businesses that show a loss actually do better tax-wise than those that show a profit. If Charles Wang can continue to improve the win/loss column, everybody wins but it will always include assessment of assets and liabilities and a plan for the present and the future...and that's just good business.
How 2010-11 East also-rans can right ship - 2011 Offseason News
This seems like they used a mad libs-type template and put the wrong names in some spots.
Local athlete plays at New York Islanders camp
After graduating from Comsewogue High School in 2008 and completing his freshman year at Pennsylvania’s Mercyhurst College, ice hockey center Dan O’Donoghue