BILLY JAFFE SHOWN THE DOORMSG agrees to deal, Islanders block analyst's return

6:30 pm: Comments thread closed. Stay tuned for any Matt Moulson news. As of tonight, there was nothing to report on negotiations between the Islanders and the 30-goal scorer as they attempt to settle. Arbitration hearing is scheduled for 9:00 am Tuesday. I hope everyone enjoys a wonder summer weekend. Stay cool.

 

5:40 pm: The invaluable sports media critic Neil Best, of Cablevision-owned Newsday, backs up what Point Blank has written. Writes Best: “Three people familiar with the decision said the discontent with Jaffe came from the Islanders and not the network.”

 

2:35 pm: As I posted about an hour ago on Twitter, multiple sources have told Point Blank that MSG Network had a multi-year contract in place with Billy Jaffe, but the Islanders declined to approve Jaffe’s return because his analysis was not positive enough. To be blunt, I must have missed those games.

 

In the mix are Butch Goring, who could move up from his studio role, and Denis Potvin. if Butch gets the top job, Denis could get the studio role. No matter who gets it, do not expect even the slightest trace of constructive criticism.

 

11:30 am: MSG Network releases statement to Cablevision sister newspaper Newsday: “MSG wishes Billy luck in future endeavors. The network will name a new TV analyst in the near future.” Figure on a former Islander, which will make most of this go away quickly.

 

9:05 am: Bob Raissman reports in today’s print edition of the Daily News that color commentator Billy Jaffe will not have his contract renewed. Jaffe lasted four seasons and built a strong reputation around the NHL and with fans, adding work with VERSUS and appearing on the popular “NHL Live” on XM/Sirius that was simulcast on NHL Network.

 

The Islanders, by letter of their broadcast contract, give their blessing (or lack thereof) to all announcers. Although MSG Network hires and pays the broadcasters, the Islanders – like most teams – have the ultimate say. In recent seasons, the franchise has been notorious in insisting their broadcasts do not contain the slightest bit of criticism. (You won’t see any in Cablevision-owned Newsday. Last season, there were two reasonably critical articles in one day. Hadn’t happened before that day, won’t ever again.)

 

Despite the Islanders finishing 30th and 26th in the league the last two seasons, I never saw anything but 100% positive analysis from Jaffe. In fact, no one more optimistically and studiously told the story of the slow and steady recall better than him. If there was a dispute between MSG and Jaffe, I would think the Islanders would push to keep one of their biggest public advocates. In addition, he was a regular volunteer for the Islanders at draft parties and on segments for Islanders TV.

 

Jaffe has a home, a wife and two very young children on Long Island. He repeatedly said he hoped to be in New York for a long time. I doubt this has to do with anything contractually. So what I’m saying is, this one completely baffles me. I have not spoken with him in a while and did not see it coming. Since I was part of hiring the man and I consider him a friend, I’ll wait for a statement or coverage elsewhere.

 

Comments on Billy Jaffe’s departure.