By far the funniest tale to come out of the rush of coverage from Lou Lamoriello being named president of hockey operations by the New York Islanders is the quite understandable from other general managers to the news that he was apparently allowed to meet with John Tavares before this move was announced.
According to Elliotte Friedman during an interview on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 radio, as transcribed at FRS Hockey:
“...some other GMs who reached out like, ‘Are you freaking kidding me?’ They are mad. Especially some of the other teams that really wanted to chase Tavares. They are so angry. They’re like, ‘There’s no other guy in the world who would get away with this.’ “
“But some people just laugh and they know, we’ve always known there’s a set of rules for Lou Lamoriello, and there’s a set of rules for everybody else,” chuckled Friedman. “I asked the league, I said is there a problem here, and I was told no. But I’ll tell you, some of those other teams are just going nuts.
(There’s other enticing speculation there, including past Lamoriello associates Scott Stevens and free agent Ilya Kovalchuk.)
That would frankly be my reaction too -- and indeed when news first leaked that some kind of Lamoriello-Tavares meeting had taken place, I chalked it up to special rules for Lamoriello, who is NHL royalty.
However, while the announcement of Lamoriello’s appointment didn’t come until today, it’s pretty obvious the path for his move was cleared well before today, and likely a Lamoriello decision or conditional decision already made before this meeting — which Lamoriello wouldn’t confirm because that’s not how he rolls — happened.
Considering the discussion and conversation about releasing Lamoriello from his advisor contract with the Maple Leafs took place between respective Leafs and Islanders principal owners Larry Tanenbaum and Scott Malkin all the way back during the Leafs’ playoff run, there was no line of authority to cross, no rule to undermine. When two NHL owners agree to let an executive go from one team to the other, all that’s left is the conditions and the paperwork.
Regardless, for Isles fans, for once it’s nice to be on the league and Lou’s good side, with all the special privileges afforded therein.