GARTH SNOW BLOWS OFF POINT BLANKCuts out this writer for daring to be critical at times

A grand total of three reporters were at the Coliseum for the trade deadline today: me, Katie Strang of Newsday and Dan Martin of the Post. An hour after the deadline had passed with no Islanders moves, only Katie and Dan were invited together to speak with Garth Snow in his office while I was kept in a holding cell.


This blog has praised and criticized the Islanders general manager over the last year. When a team has come in 26th and last in the NHL the last two years and currently ranks 26th, there’s going to be some criticism.


Snow has done a pretty good job this year. He has acquired a few contributors at little cost, some prospects are developing well and the team is on the fringe of the playoff race with 19 games left to go. He did about all he could before today’s deadline. The team has already tied last year’s win total, but we were told to expect improvement with the upgrade from Joey McDonald and Yann Danis to Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron in goal.


I didn’t have much to ask Snow today, but would have listened for his take on his efforts as the trade deadline passed with no moves made. I would have liked to have shared them with the thousands of Islanders fans who pound this site every day.


In September, Point Blank – much to my amazement and sincere appreciation – reached a level that the New York Times wrote about it and AOL offered to support it. Thank you again, dear readers.


The Islanders recently asked me to promote a team charity event, and I was told Point Blank readers responded tremendously. Two-way street, I guess, unless someone dares to criticize. Awwww…Nevertheless, I’ll always be willing to promote the team’s charitable efforts.


Among the only questions I would ask Garth are this:


  • What is your estimated timeline for the rebuilding project? A few young teams seem to have gotten a lot better a lot more quickly.


  • If the team falls short this season, is 2010-11 the year you hope to get the seventh or eighth spot in the East? In other words, when does the team take a legitimate step up?


  • You often say you have the money to spend. Can your fanbase expect that to be in 2010?


  • It’s understandable that you want to collect a few lottery picks, but is the time when you acquire an impact young veteran or two coming anytime soon?


  • Are you 100% behind Scott Gordon?


Seems fair, especially when season ticket invoices for 2010-11 have already been distributed and first payments are due soon. He wouldn’t have to answer the questions. In fact, the longer he doesn’t the more he gets to alter his plan and be critic-proof (well, to most).


I also understand that it’s never wise for a general manager to telegraph his every move. Still, questions should be asked. As you are all well aware, the Islanders have a lot of fans that care a great deal about this franchise. When they are asking for them to buy stuff, the Islanders talk about their fans being shareholders.


After today, of course, I will not request an audience with Garth. Contrary to what he may believe, an interview with him or any general manager is not a privilege for the writer. Far from it. An interview is simply a way to provide information to the readers – the team’s consumers. Not being able to speak with Garth did not prevent this blog from properly setting the stage for today’s trade deadline three weeks ago. Not being able to speak with Garth does not prevent me from being able to present fair judgments on the development of team prospects.


All I miss out on is presenting his quotes straight to you. Judging by what I read today, again I did not miss much.


There are plenty of other places for me to go for information, and plenty of stories, insights and actual facts (!) still to share. In fact, there is so much more to this story – but we’ll pour the whine a little at a time.


Garth and I used to be pretty good friends. I believe he would tell you I was fairly helpful to him for a few years in his transition from goaltender to GM.


On a personal level, naturally it is very sad when you lose a friendship. But it happens and I was fully prepared for it. I remember telling him in one of our last conversations, “Sometimes life takes you in different directions.”


Garth Snow is going to be the Islanders general manager for a long time, of that you can be very sure. You can also be sure that I will always wish him well.


Comments on this post only. Trade deadline conversation continues below. I’ll be away on assignment for a few days, but I have a few pieces to write and will check in throughout.