For many fans of the Islanders – this is an announcement that has been in the making for years and years; especially for the Islander fans that want Mr. Wang on a platter, along with a General Manager as the dessert. This is the quote, thanks to the Islanders Web Site:
UNIONDALE, NY (August 19, 2014) – The New York Islanders announced today that a group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and London based investor Scott Malkin has reached a definitive agreement, subject to NHL approval, to purchase a substantial minority interest in the team. Under the terms of the agreement, Charles Wang will continue as majority shareholder and Governor of the Islanders, with the Ledecky/Malkin group transitioning to majority owner in two years.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to become partners in the New York Islanders with Charles, and to pursue our shared dream of winning a fifth Stanley Cup for the greatest fans in the NHL,” Mr. Ledecky said.
“I’m thrilled that Jon and Scott have agreed to join me as we start the Islanders’ final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Mr. Wang said. “I look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
There will be no further comment until the NHL completes its franchise ownership transfer process.
So what does this mean to average everyday Islanders fan?
For this year – not so much. The team has been assembled, and to most expert accounts, there is going to be an improvement. With the acquisitions of Halak, and Johnson in net, Grabovski and Kulemin up front, the Islanders should be in a better position to compete for a playoff spot than they did last season. It is just the injury factor that no one can necessarily predict or wish to happen.
What the Isles need to do, is just deal with business as usual. The players are getting ready (and I don’t mean dumping water and ice over their heads). It appears that JT and Okie are working out together again this summer. It did wonders for the maturation and rapid rise to the upper echelon for the man from Minnesota. Another season with number 91 can only improve his skills.
There has to be pressure on Tavares to reach the next star. However, if you talk to him, you would never expect that to be the case. He is smooth and cool as the other side of the pillow, and every Islander fan should expect just that.
I believe that the real pressure will be on Halak. He has been in positions in St. Louis and Montreal (forget Washington) where he had to share the responsibility of being the 1A or the 1B. In this scenario, he will get to be the 1A this season. It is quite interesting that being for St. Louis for four years, and having to share the top position with players such as Brian Elliot, among others, Halak was the Blues All-Time leader in Shutouts.
Coach Capuano has the resources; he has the guys in the right places. He just needs to tweak a little, and find the right combinations to get this team right. In my mind, his biggest obstacle, and it has been for the past two seasons, is the November blues. The last two years, the decent starts that the Islanders had in October, were quelled in November, due to lackadaisical, undisciplined play which forced them down to the lower doldrums of the Eastern Conference Standings.
Hopefully Jon and Scott will get to be on board for the start of a new transformation of Islanders hockey. Time will only tell that story. I will be talking about this story, and other hockey related topics in our next show on Sunday, August 31st, at 8PM. Hope you can listen or call the show at (631) 888-8811.