Ilya Kovalchuk…. is NOT an IslanderShareThis
Nope, no he’s not.
This makes some fans happy. This makes some fans sad. Either way, it’s like talking about global warming, or Pierre Mcguire. The topic is polarizing, and people are waaaayyy too intense about it.
….Okay, they’re allowed to be intense about the whole melting planet thing. Let’s stick to talking puck.
For the Isles fans who’re excited that they’re not attempting to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a contract (no formal offer was ever made) because he wouldn’t be worth it down the road, or it sticks to the widely-consumed Koolaid of the rebuild , let me ask you a couple questions. These questions, by the way, should give some insight into my stance on the team not pushing to land the Russian star (and no, they didn’t push).
First off, fans of the slow rebuild: Let’s just say, hypothetically, the Islanders managed to keep together the core of kids they have (Okposo, Bailey, Tavares) for a dozen years, or whatever arbitrary length of time you want to use. Do you think that, without adding a few more high-quality pieces, they make a Stanley Cup winning team?
I think you’d agree that no, those kids aren’t good enough to become a premier team if you filled the roster in with average players (think Horton, Weiss and Booth in Florida). Unless you DO think that core group could win a Cup on it’s own, in which case I’d say you drank WAY too much on the fourth.
So then you realize they’d need to add a few supporting pieces to get over the hump. How long should they wait before they do that? And why wait? Isn’t it better for the team to grow together, and to get some post-season experience while they’re young?
I’m under the impression that some Islanders fans think that the missing puzzle pieces have been drafted and are in the minors, slowly working their way up to the day when all the picks pan out and make the team a Cup contender. To certain people, our “get over the hump” players are already Islanders property, and are still maturing.
So, reality check time: You DO realize that every single team in the NHL has those kids too, right? Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, those kids? They’re wonderful players, and could be dynamite NHL contributors someday. Probably will be. But they exist, not just in Bridgeport, but in Grand Rapids, Albany, Hartford, Norfolk, Winnipeg and every other city that houses AHL and ECHL teams. Having them isn’t some secret ace up our sleeves that’s gonna put us ahead of the competition if we just wait.
Everyone knows an overly practical person – the one who sacrifices love, a social life and fun for money and saving. This person has a house before you, retires before you, and drives a fancy car. But at some point that person is alone on Christmas going “what was I saving all that money for, again?”
That’s the Isles right now. They’ve stockpiled prospects and kept themselves miles below the salary cap for years now. But for what? There has to be an end-goal, a purpose. Until they turn some of those picks and prospects into a sincere attempt at winning – which, um, should be the goal for every franchise - what’re we saving for?
I know Charles Wang wants, nay, needs a new building on the Island. But the team is under contract to play at Nassau Coliseum until 2015. We can’t just roll over until then. And doing so has turned us into Edmonton, one of those “well, I guess it’s nice to at least play in the NHL” type of teams.
When players turned down going to the Island during the FRENZY, it wasn’t because of the building, it was the team’s recent history of being a bottom-feeder, and showing no signs of trying to be anything but.
New York lost free agents Hamhuis, Martin and Volchenkov to teams that have sincere chances to win the Cup next year. Or at least compete for it. It has nothing to do with the available snack food on the concourse, and everything to do with avoiding a team that won’t spend to succeed.
Free agency isn’t over. The Isles will get someone to satiate the fans desire for some new blood. At least for another NHL-calibre player or two.
For me, it would have been worth a few years where Kovalchuk is overpaid at the end of a deal to have a player that makes the team better and entertains the fans.
Scoff if you want at deals like “Phil Kessel for picks”, but all the sudden the Maple Leafs roster looks a whole ton shinier than the Isles because they’ve been aggressive. If you were predicting which team would finish higher in the standings by looking at the rosters halfway through last season, there’s no WAY you would’ve picked Toronto. Now?
Needless to say, I’m disappointed.