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Islanders Name George McPhee Special Advisor to GM Garth Snow


"How many Capileaks did you steal?"
"How many Capileaks did you steal?"
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In news that is now official but not entirely "new," the New York Islanders formalized -- or formally announced -- the role that former Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee has with the team. In a press release Wednesday, the team announced McPhee has now "officially been named" the special advisor to the general manager.

It was previously reported in a few outlets that McPhee, who was fired in 2014 after 17 seasons as Caps GM, had been doing part-time scouting for the Isles throughout 2014-15. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported last winter that McPhee was working out of Michigan, where his family had moved to be closer to his son in the USA National Team Development Program.

So McPhee's fingerprints or at least influence were already in the management circle. Now the relationship has a title.

The mutual-praise quotes from the release:

"George brings a tremendous amount of experience and insight to our front office," Snow said. "His ability to evaluate players along with his managerial skills, are an asset that we’re thrilled to add to our Hockey Operations Department."

"I’m excited to join such a storied franchise," McPhee said.  "The Islanders have a great young team and I’m looking forward to contributing in any way I can to help them get to the next level."

In many situations, a former NHL GM or coach being named assistant, or advisor, with a new franchise also creates that specter of "if the current guy ever gets fired, this guy will be next in line." But Garth Snow has operated with full confidence of ownership, and the fruits of his long and steady rebuild are finally ripening as the team relocates to a new arena in Brooklyn.

It will bear watching, though: The tests the team will go through over the next two seasons, showing more progress than long first-round playoff series, will occur at the same time full control of the team transfers away from Charles Wang.

In the very least, McPhee brings another set of pro scouting eyes, vast knowledge of the league and its trickster general managers, and some insight to the team that knocked the Isles out of the playoffs last spring.

For those wondering, Doug Weight's dual title appears unchanged: He has always been assistant coach and special advisor to the general manager.