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An Inquiry – Any Details on Islanders Point Blank?

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Anyone have any ideas what happened with the widely read blog “Islanders Point Blank” yesterday? 

For those of you who hadn’t heard, the last post was basically a (temporary?) farewell, for “reasons beyond his control.”

Chris Botta and I sent a couple texts back-and-forth yesterday and I didn’t want to pry, but I did get the impression that the site got shut down for negative reasons.

Botta hard at work

The only light I can shed on the whole thing is that Garth Snow is not a fan of Chris or his website’s honest take on a flailing team (come to think of it, he probably doesn’t like me either), but I fail to see how that strained relationship could equal the end of IPB. 

There’s nothing wrong with a little free speech, right?

I guess they could’ve just totally shut down his access if they wanted, but that would be utterly shameful.  Will we only get propaganda from Islanders-biased writers now?  It feels so….. I dunno, Bejing Olympics or something.  And I barely even know what I mean there. (I’m trying to say: It’s all about the front and presentation, don’t you worry how things get done behind the scenes)

Best of luck to Chris – that’s where my very first piece of writing (on my “love story”) outside of Bourne’s Blog ran, so hopefully it’s back in action here shortly.

*****

If you’re interested, I joined the boys on Puck Daddy Radio for a little chat yesterday – I chime in at 26:30.  Enjoy! 

My Hockey Primetime column is on what you can get away with in dealing with refs.

Comments

29 Responses to “An Inquiry – Any Details on Islanders Point Blank?”
  1. NewtownJack says:

    He got censored (shut down) by NYI? Just like NYI removed Billy Jaffe from the broadcasts.

  2. Harris in Syosset says:

    Justin, lots of fans are speculating that he could be facing a libel suit for his recent comments portraying Charles Wang as a paranoid and insecure owner. Legally speaking if he acted with malicious intent, caused Charles a loss in business or insinuated Charles had a mental illness he could be targeted. Is there any truth to these claims?

  3. corduroy828 says:

    …. as a 30 year old Islanders fan, i have put up with a lot in my time. a lot. so much so that i have felt like a beaten spouse in a relationship that I have refused to leave. for a time i wore it like a badge of honor… always telling my family and friends that with the more abuse we suffer through the sweeter it will be on the other side…. when we are once again a formidable organization in the nhl.

    however, this censorship – first with Ted Nolan, then with Billy Jaffe and now with Chris Botta – absolutely enrages me. the reign of terror that Charles Wang has blanketed this organization with is unforgivable and it’s all hidden behind the rouse that he cares about Long Island and the Islander fan…

    as a friend of mine said so eloquently: “You know what? I think my hatred for Chuckles may have surpassed my hatred for Milstein/Gluckstern/New York Sports Venture. At least those a**holes were just a**holes – they weren’t egotistical, paranoid, narcissistic morons.”

    unfortunately it is true… all this man cares about is his ego… all of his employees are scared of him, those who aren’t are censored and/or shown the door. there is no accountability in the media because for the most part, Don LaGreca is correct, no one cares…

    Chris Botta was a beacon of light on the dark days of a potentially misguided rebuild by an inept and scared general manager under the iron rule of a madman. where will we get objectivity from now?

  4. Neil says:

    That really sucks. It’s not like the Islanders were making great moves, winning games, and not firing good coaches. Botta was offering some objective opinions but he wasn’t coming anywhere near the narrative that other outlets are giving for that organization right now. I won’t recap the Wang situation it because I’m sure Isles fans out there already know. However, it doesn’t look good that they were willing to fire a coach early in the season but they aren’t willing to replace their #1 defenseman or a top-6 forward early in the season sitting on about 16 million in cap space.
    It’s sure been a bad week for the relationship between mainstream journalists and the NHL.

  5. Neil says:

    nice post corduroy. You said a lot of stuff I wasn’t sure if I should say.

  6. jtbourne says:

    Wonderful comments so far today, thanks for the input guys – as for the libel thing, I hadn’t heard any such thing, but good lord would that be silly – seems impossible that that could be true from where I’m sitting.

  7. corduroy828 says:

    who knows? perhaps i’ll get sued.

  8. paul says:

    Dude, this is BS. Chris Botta did an awesome job covering the Islanders. He did so honestly and without access from the team. True Isles fans feel the same way Chris does, they love the franchise but are frustrated with the ownership and leadership at the top.

    you want ‘quality’ Islander coverage, you gotta pay for it through newsday.

  9. Kennedy says:

    A defense for any libel suit is the truth. If you say Jane is an ignorant slut, and she is, she will lose her libel suit.
    I think a law suit here would be awesome. It might be the first time that a court rules that an owners player moves should have been illegal.

  10. Ron says:

    Doesn’t matter if you have the truth behind you. If the other side in a libel suit has deep pockets, they can crush you in the gears of litigation. The Wanger has deep pockets. Botta would like to keep a roof over his family’s head. Anyone who tells you they would do anything different here than Botta did is lying or a fool.

    And do you teally think Katie Strang doesn’t take deep gulps of the Kool-Aid? Really?

  11. NHL fan says:

    Justin,

    Botta posted this on Islander mania. Who is more insecure Snow or Wang?

    Hello, Islandermania.

    There is an issue, which started on Tuesday morning after the franchise’s manic Monday, between the Islanders and me regarding press credentials for practice and games at the NVMC. I’m hopeful something can be worked out so I can resume attending practice and posting line combinations and the kinds of features I like to write for PB (like on Frans Nielsen) and FanHouse (most recently on Zenon Konopka). The games are important for my work on PB and on visiting teams for FanHouse.

    For now, it is out of my hands. The Professional Hockey Writers Association, both the New York and national chapters, have expressed their concern about the team’s actions to the NHL. The league is investigating. I have also heard from many fans, coaches and players around the league and will get back to most of them when this is resolved one way or the other.

    This certainly has nothing to do with my employers at AOL or SNY, who have been amazingly supportive. Whether this gets mediated or not, my plan is to shoot more video interviews at SNY studios Thursday. I have some good guests lined up, so hopefully it fills the void. The blog is not going to die. (That’s a threat!)

    Until this post, I have stayed out of the public about this. I know Imania has a huge audience and I respect the work and passion of the thousands of NYI fans on here, so I thought I’d step in and say hi and hopefully the word will spread.

    Needless to say, there are far bigger problems in Islanders Country, which is why the team’s timing caught me by surprise. I’m embarrassed this has happened. I hope the boys get a win for you tonight. Okay, time to go back in hiding. No matter what happens, life will still be good. Take care.

    Chris Botta

  12. Derek says:

    That is brutal. I was starting to kind of like the Isles, mostly due to reading about them at PB and here all the time(they also have a few players I really like). The kind of access and insight that he brought was rare for teams, as most guys either had access or opinions, but rarely both. Hopefully the PHWA gets it sorted out and he can get back to work.

    On the Hockey Primetime piece: I had a teammate who would talk with the refs and lines constantly. Knew them all by first names, would chat them up between whistles, it was ridiculous. When I first started playing with him I just figured he knew them from elsewhere, but no, he’d just gotten to know them in game. Gotta think that helped him get a call or two.

  13. NYIFC says:

    Botta’s a walking contradiction, who’s more into page views and selling himself with sensationalism, who’s viewpoint has a ton of selective amnesia from week to week, who’s had more than his issues and disputes with media people when he worked for the club and since he started his website.

    Censorship? The same Chris Botta who censors anything negative about him on his forum and lied about the NHL Masked Avenger’s transgressions when he ghost-wrote his blog and covered up about what happened completely.

    He’s so much into transparency he wrote the Islanders efforts to sign Paul Martin were staged on AOL Martin’s agent responded nothing was staged and Snow offered more than any other team. Is that the honesty some of you are defending?

    Jaffe? He worked for James Dolan, the same Dolan who fires/sues everyone who is critical of him including the NHL itself. Hey Islanders we got Goring’s contract at Hockey Night Live and want to save money, you take the hit and let us release you don’t want Jaffe back because he wasn’t positive if you ever want to see another pregame and then we’ll transfer Goring’s contract to the broadcast booth.

    Do it of we’ll pull pregame again like we did two years ago.

    You also supply Islander personalities for Hockey Night Live, we don’t want to spend money on another Islander for the show. Kevin Weekes is the latest former Islander plug-in for Goring’s former fill time job. Maybe Mr Bourne can now be next.

    Remember the Metro Ice Challenge, Dolan fought the Islanders over every penny.

    One other thing Katie Strang works for James Dolan, in his newspaper and has to write when, how she is told, just like Wallace Matthews refused to and spoke out with many un-named employees.

    Botta? Complete silence for the former media relations coordinator.

  14. Ballgame says:

    Billy Jaffe and now this? WTF is wrong with Garth? Such a baby! He should be out of a job

  15. Ballgame says:

    NYIFC WTF did you just say? That whole post makes zero sense. Proof read next time

    Snow is using his power. It’s to the point that if you say anything bad about the Isles you’re gone. He is unsecured about his own body of work. Snow is just another corporate bully.

  16. Joe says:

    I posted a negative comment about the Islanders on my Facebook page. Will Charles and Garth shut down my FB account?

  17. Matt the Aussie says:

    I’d blame Snow if there was any proof of his involvement, but to be perfectly honest, this has Wang written all over it. Hell, this has Wang written all over it more than a drunken frat guy’s face does! *buddunce*

  18. NYIFC says:

    POINT BLANK: Past Healy, Five-Hole
    Thursday, 11.03.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
    New York Islanders
    Glenn goes too far with, yawn, another Yash bash

    by Chris Botta

    So there was my friend Glenn Healy in the TSN studio on Wednesday night, coming up with a truly original idea to call attention to himself as a tough-talking analyst who’ll take on anyone.

    He beat up on Alexei Yashin, the eighth-leading scorer in the NHL.

    Wow, that must have really impressed the boss and had the hockey fans across Canada howling. Cutting edge stuff.

    This all got started when Heals and Chris Cuthbert called the Islanders’ shootout win over the Rangers at the Garden for TSN two weeks ago. Glenn was critical of Yashin from the drop of the puck, slowing down only when the Islanders – behind a goal and an assist by, uh, Yashin – took a 2-0 lead early in the third.

    Fast-forward to last night. Presumably because there isn’t enough to talk about around the NHL, Glenn and Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons squared off in a “PTI”-like showdown in which Healy half-jokingly took credit for Yashin’s recent hot streak, saying “he responded” to his criticism. Oh brother. Desperate, Healy blurted out some incorrect facts -including calling Yashin the highest-paid player in the league – while Simmons tried to shut him up. Unfortunately, Steve failed to cut off Glenn before the former Islander goalie went one step too far: he took a lame, but gratuitous shot at the personal life of Alexei and his girlfriend, Carol Alt.

    It was sad, really pathetic stuff. A long way from the beloved “Heals and Flats Show.”

    Why the shots at Carol? Is she fair game because, unlike Glenn’s wife Susie or any other player’s significant other, Carol is a celebrity? From the moment Yashin came to Long Island, the only time Carol has been in the forefront around the Islanders is when the organization has asked her to, mostly to help on charitable efforts. Carol certainly doesn’t deserve garbage like this.

    We’ve taken the little hooks and holds out of the game. Maybe now we can take a look at eliminating the cheap shots coming from the broadcast booth. Have Terry Bradshaw or John Kruk or Bill Walton ever focused so narrowly and disrespectfully on one athlete and his girlfriend? I wonder if Glenn can bring it this fiercely and personally when he feels a player from somewhere like Sudbury or Regina is underachieving. (That’s probably a column for another day).

    A final note. The day before he worked the game at the Garden, Glenn called me. Over the course of almost an hour, the conversation went from insights to prepare him for the game to his days on Long Island. Glenn told me how much Susie and he loved the Island, the fans and everyone around that ’92-93 team. I told him about how every time I speak with Claire Arbour, she tells me, “You know, I think that team could have contended for the Cup for another season or two. But once we let Glenn Healy go, we lost our heart and soul and didn’t have a chance.” It was a real nice discussion, good to catch up with a guy I always admired as a goalie and a person.

    Why am I telling you this? Because I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about Glenn, who meant a lot to this franchise in the early ’90s. I want to be clear that Glenn Healy is not a jerk. It’s just that, sometimes, he plays one on TV.

  19. NYIFC says:

    Newsday reported Botta has been barred by the Islanders, the same paper who employed Msg security guards to clear questions from writers to the Knicks players and kicked out the media.

    Cablevision owned Newsday did not report it

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/item_EVZ2tQkIBb5xkWANHXNzMP;jsessionid=65BC3A57943F9CEDC6E88974A5C6CCEB
    http://www.observer.com/2010/media/newsdays-sports-page-its-all-good
    http://www.observer.com/2007/life-knicks-hell

    I completely support the Islanders on this, Botta’s double-standards over the years speak for themselves.

  20. Mlembo says:

    Free Botta!!!

  21. jake says:

    nyifc — sounds like you are jealous of chris botta. a point blank from 2005? you make no sense.

  22. paul says:

    NYIFC how can you defend the Islanders here?

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t go to your site and I don’t know the back story on Chris Botta’s ‘double-standards’ but how can a professional franchise act so un-professional in banning a reporter who is trying to provide some objective criticism? (oh and btw, earn a living for him and his family)

    When you read ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ did you take the side of Big Brother too?

    ‘Botta-gate’ is just another example of the inept leadership during the Wang Era. I mean seriously, Isles have had the Milbury era, the Neil Smith as GM for 4 minutes, the Snow hiring/puppet GM, 15 year Dipietro contract, Ted Nolan, Jankowski, Trottier being ‘reassigned’, etc. One could probably argue that Charles Wang is on the same medication as Al Davis.

    Enough is enough in Islander country, Wang’s taken a once proud franchise and is running it into the ground and the only ones who are losing are the fans who pay their hard earned money on season tickets (oh and the players are losing a lot too).

  23. Elliot says:

    Everything Wang has done, outside of his using his own money to spruce up the NVMC, has been a disaster. He has used the Islanders as a pawn in his Lighthouse game, and while I do not begrudge anyone trying to monetize an investment, the way he has gone about running the team from a hockey/business perspective is horrendous.

    He needs to understand that there will be a tipping point with the fans, and most fans I know are at the “I just don’t care anymore” stage. The local media doesn’t care, Cablevision doesn’t care – if the fans stop caring, then it is truly over for this franchise.

    He is playing a dangerous game. He is losing. He needs to know this.

  24. Mlembo says:

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by double standards. Also, what was that excerpt you posted supposed to prove?

    He is a writer with an opinion. Over time things can change. Just because he wrote one thing in 1990whatever when he was employed by the Islanders does not mean he has to feel the same way now. Especially given the constant wave of screw ups this franchise has spewed out over the past 5 years. For some people enough is enough.

  25. Ron says:

    NYIFC – grind your axe elsewhere. There is no excuse for the continuing behavior of this once proud franchise.

    PARTY ON WANG! PARTY ON GARTH!

  26. Ron says:

    This is the short-sightedness of the Islanders current approach: By focusing their efforts on sugar-coating the criticism of the franchise, they’ve exposed themselves in many additional forums. Their social media efforts have been overtaken with responses posting outrage against their treatment of CB, and now they spend more time pulling comments than using it to interact with the fanbase. Message boards and blogs that had previously been much more Islander-friendly are being exposed to this ugliness, and the steps they’ve made to pull themselves back towards respectability will be overshadowed.

    I happen to like CB a lot. I think IPB has served as a terrific vehicle for fans to access information from someone experienced with the hockey operations side of things. In general, CB has been highly supportive of Snow and Wang and their maneuvers over the last few seasons. But it was pretty transparent that the relationship between CB and the Islanders was becoming more and more fragmented, and some of the items CB posted this season certainly weren’t going to be well received by the Islanders front office.

    So the Isles pull CB’s credentials, CB pulls his blog, and a bunch of fans who were already frustrated with a 10 (now 11) game losing streak are left to seek out information on what happened to CB, leading to more transparent discontent. Lose-lose all aorund.

  27. Lou Z says:

    Without pointblank where do we get any info on our team? Katie Strang has no idea whats happening. She is writing puff pieces that get worse and worse. I’ve noticed that Aurthur Staple has been writing more and more about the team so what does that tell you about Katie. Fans need to be able to get the truth and not the kool aid drinking version. The team is depleted, franchise destroyed. Wang has held the Islanders hostage for his own gain and it has blown up in his face. If the coliseum is the issue, Wang could have had one paid by Nassau County but no, he needs his lighthouse. Ive said this many times, I really hope the Islanders do move so I can cut the ties because it hurts and disappoints more and more each year/season. I wish someone would save us but we’re slowly fading into the sunset.

  28. Derek says:

    I just figured it out! NYIFC is really Charles Wang!!!!

  29. NYIFC says:

    Is this the level of reporting some of you are defending in the absence of credible coverage?

    http://nhl.fanhouse.com/2010/09/11/2010-11-new-york-islanders-preview-sticking-to-a-plan/

    We’re going to find out over the next few years if the Islanders are serious enough about winning when building blocks like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo play beyond their entry level contracts. We will find out if the Islanders are serious about winning when the unrestricted free agency period brings an important piece to the puzzle, not staged stories like this summer of trying to lure Paul Martin and placing a call to Ilya Kovalchuk.

    STAGED STORIES-Chris Botta Fanhouse 9/11/2010
    **************************

    As I stated before Garth Snow was very aggressive in pursuing unrestricted free agent Paul Martin on July 1, 2010. Garth called my office more than any other NHL GM. Garth directly spoke to Paul on the phone and also had Doug Weight call and speak with Paul. Garth offered more money than any other team. It was not staged. I certainly did not have time on July 1 to waste. I did express our (Paul’s) concerns about playing in an older building when Garth replied “Paul would be sitting on the (bleeping) players bench, not in the stands.” It was not a staged story.

    Ben Hankinson-Pail Martin’s agent 9/14/2010

    Seems Paul Martin’s agent knows better than Chris Botta.

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