ALEXEI YASHIN…REALLY? NOW?!!!No matter the motivation, this is shameless, clueless

2:05 pm: I want to be very clear here. No matter what the Islanders are trying to pull, I do not understand how Garth Snow can go on the record – with so much on the line in the final days before the Aug. 1 referendum on the future of the franchise – and confirm he has had discussions about bringing Alexei Yashin back to the team.

I know Charles Wang and Alexei Yashin are the closest of friends. I’m very fond of Yashin as well and respect his ability as a hockey player. That is neither here nor there at this moment.

The Islanders are in a real battle with this Aug. 1 referendum. This is serious business. You will hear about polls that will be published in the coming days that say the vote on Aug. 1 is very close. One poll will project that NO will win.

Perhaps the Islanders are just doing Yashin and his agent a favor to see if there are any interested bidders from the other 29 teams. Perhaps they truly believe that Yashin would be an ideal addition to the lineup this season. Heck, perhaps they’re all just having a laugh.

I don’t get it. I cannot comprehend how they could possibly allow this to come out now, with so much at stake. It is mind-blowingly inane.

There are fans who will have no trouble with Alexei’s return on a cheap contract and without having to give up players to get him. I can understand that. But there will be plenty of others who will see this as somebody’s idea of a wicked joke.

The Islanders need 100% of their fans 100% proud of their franchise so they can rock the vote, write to the newspapers, call the politicians, pressure NIFA. Can the Islanders really be this tone-deaf to their fanbase?

I cannot believe that Snow, even if it was “suggested” to him to play along, would not stand up, be a manager and say, “This is not the time.”

This dance could have been danced in mid-August. The Islanders could sign Alexei a few weeks from now.

But to willingly let this get out now? On Friday, July 22? With Newsday ready to launch a load of positive and negative stories and editorials on the deal for a new arena on Sunday? With the Association For A Better Long Island prepared to pounce with a series of withering ads to reach the non-hockey fans?

With, oh, the future of the franchise at stake?

I cannot think of one good explanation. I’d love for someone to try.