Pat Lafontaine’s Hiring: Old/New/Selective/Rules For Inexperienced Candidates/Owners/Media? Bridgeport Changes
Other than being very disappointed at one of Bill Torrey’s proteges in Darcy Regier’s, sixteen year tenure ending with Buffalo, I’m thrilled for Pat Lafontaine/Ted Nolan, and wish them the best of luck.
However what happened reaffirmed a lot of things, the biggest being NHL owners really have no clue on hiring executives which explains why most of them hate making a change in the first place.
Also that hockey media have the same selective standards as owners depending on the individual hired regardless of experience.
Many owners likely rely on the NHL for advice in these matters which is why Lafontaine’s Oct 2013 unspecified job with the NHL lasted almost to the day (42) as his tenure with the Islanders in 2006 before Sabres owner, Terry Pegula, made a decision.
It’s not unreasonable to suggest with Lafontaine’s move back to Buffalo, the league advised Pegula or he got to know Lafontaine since he purchased the club.
Of course the question there is did Lafontaine go unconventional hiring Ted Nolan as a coach (interim) or did Pegula go against the school of thinking that kept teams from hiring Nolan aside from Charles Wang, and hire Nolan with Lafontaine?
Likely a question the media will not touch.
Of course we would see a completely opposite reaction if Charles Wang hired Denis Potvin (experienced broadcaster) to be the Islanders President, Mike Bossy (experienced corporate relations) to replace Garth Snow, and Bryan Trottier (experienced head/cup winning assistant coach) to replace Jack Capuano.
There is no Central Scouting for owners when it comes to hiring team a team executive or the person entrusted with running the hockey operation. Most are corporate billionaires, some throw money at the biggest name/resume, others take a chance from experience built over years, some internal, while others hire the people/players they become friends with.
It was obvious Charles Wang did a terrible job struggling to find a general manager from January to June in 2006, however he corrected his mistake, and his team qualified for the playoffs. His current general manger signed John Tavares for less than James Wisniewski/Ehrhoff/Richards (countless others) which is why win or lose in 2013-14 he should retain his job to go with the comments of the players themselves who all made clear they like being part of this organization, especially the ones who would supposedly never report here, but enthusiastically resigned.
This is why Garth Snow earns his paycheck.
When an exeutive is a problem (rare) for an organization, it usually results in many of them not being hired elsewhere. Obviously Neil Smith comes to mind.
And like general managers in trades some owners do not give much help/advice to other owners, some even want compensation.
As for team President Pat Lafontaine, I would love to be in the room when his 1991 version sits down, and is told by a player agent, I will not resign with the Sabres under the current ownership regardless of any contract offer.
“I expect they’ll offer us something, but I don’t expect it will resolve anything,” said Meehan. “What Pat wants from them is to be traded; nothing’s changed.”
This was with an ownership which financed four Stanley Cup Championships, with a general manager, named Torrey, a coach named Arbour.
Of course a decade later Mr Torrey joked about it on ice when Charles Wang honored him, before honoring Lafontaine 11/8/2003 at the Coliseum with a pregame ceremony days after his NHL Hall of Fame induction.
Does Pat Lafontaine’s experience merit being an NHL team President?
I do find it fascinating the same media who roasted Snow’s appointment to Islanders general manger now simply dismiss it as “neither have others” when the question of Lafontaine’s experience comes up.
We have hybrid icing, and now hybrid media.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced Wednesday 11/13, that they have signed forwards Chris Langkow and Sean Wiles to professional tryout contracts (PTOs). The team has also loaned forward Greg Miller to the Stockton Thunder (ECHL). Finally, the New York Islanders have reassigned forward Kirill Kabanov to Bridgeport while reassigning forward Jason Clark to Stockton.
Islanders twitter account had nothing new from comments on Sunday by Garth Snow.
Snow: "We know we're getting a high character person and excited he's in our locker room," on Vanek wearing the 'C' in Buffalo. #Isles
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) October 28, 2013
#Isles GM Garth Snow: "We haven't been good enough. We're .500 right now and our expectation is to be higher than that."
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) October 28, 2013
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 28, 2013
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) October 28, 2013
#Isles lines at practice: Vanek-Tavares-Okposo; Bouchard-Nielsen-Bailey; Grabner-Nelson-Regin-Clutterbuck; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald-Boulton
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) October 28, 2013
No announced callups/no Brian Strait/Visnovsky at practice. Keenan is a defender.
— The Sound Tigers (@TheSoundTigers) October 28, 2013
Just to be clear check our Sulia channel or twitter feeds for these kids of stories moving forward.
NYIFC will not post an entry anywhere until we have official confirmation from the team itself or a professional media outlet.
Nothing I can add that was not already written about the loss of Rakhshani on Tuesday.
It all comes down to who the Isles qualify out of their restricted free agents by 6/25. DiBenedetto knows the Isles depth chart, and despite a very good year for Bridgeport has to make the best possible decision for his career moving forward as do all players.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers released a partial list of their 2012-13 schedule
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday won the NorthEast Division with a 4-1 win in Providence against the Bruins here Kevin Poulin had forty six saves.
This is Bridgeport’s first division title since their inaugural season, where they were the American Hockey League Regular Season Champions under Steve Stirling.
Bridgeport is the third seed locked into a three vs six first round series, which will open at Webster Bank Arena on Thursday 4/19.
The Sound Tigers still have games Saturday & Sunday this weekend.
Kevin Poulin has been the full time goaltender since 3/18 when Anders Nilsson sustained an ankle injury.
Bridgeport was the 29th team in the American Hockey League at the end of the 2011 calendar year. They did not lose a game in regulation for over two months, with several injures/call-ups to key players.
Fantastic job by Brent Thompson, and his staff. The Islanders did not have an ECHL affiliate this season.
To the best of my knowledge only 3/6/2012 clear-day or residence list players can participate in the AHL playoffs until everyone on the list is used, which likely means it’s going to take a lot of players out for Brock Nelson or John Persson to participate.
There is also the little matter of the Norfolk Admirals on a twenty six game winning streak down the road if Bridgeport has a long playoff.
Mike Halmo made his debut, Isles draft pick, John Persson (ATO) had his third goal.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabio‘s game coverage.
Bridgeport has opened up a five point lead in the Eastern Conference, plus controls the first tie-breaker which in the AHL is still wins. (not ROW)
NYIFC prospect blog has everything for the Sound Tigers.
Simply put a remarkable accomplishment for rookie AHL coach Brent Thompson, and his staff with the entire Islander organization.
This was a team 29th in the AHL at the end of the calendar year. Many injuries/call-ups.
From 1/2/12-3/2/12 they lost one game in regulation.
Mark Katic was out since day one of preseason until recently. deHaan, Rakhshani, Colliton, Marcinko also have missed significant time.
Kevin Poulin has played every game since Anders Nilsson’s ankle injury (both goaltenders won the award for best goaltender) back to back months.
The game New York played their best hockey was the one where they got no points.
Win or lose Sunday, I was very satisfied with the second half of this game by the Islanders.
New York played two poor games in Canada, four points.
New York played two better (not great games in Florida) one win, which should have been two, despite Montoya falling/Martin St Louis missing an open net. Roloson played well, the Isles were in control Saturday with momentum, but the game got away from them.
Our comments on the Tampa game are on twitter.
Florida for it’s make-shift roster has size, speed the Isles lack and some more hitting, that’s par for most teams the Isles play. The Panthers have earned their standing as a first place team.
After the opening night disaster the Isles played in Florida, Jacob Markstrom stole that game in relief for the Panthers in the third period for those who recall.
On this day, Andrew MacDonald (especially Parenteau like in Tampa) did not have his man on the opening goal, the Isles were scrambling a bit early in the game, but did also get some early pressure, they did not have the extra step.
Florida was hardly good themselves on this day.
Then a funny thing happened with less than eight minutes left in the second, the Isles had a shift where they dominated play, kept the puck in for longer than it seemed they had any team pinned in all season. That concluded with an outside Okposo shot that Theodore saw with no screen (a common theme in this game for the Isles) but the game did change from that point.
From there, the Isles dominated. Moulson converted on a pp, it seemed a matter of when before the Isles got the lead.
Then the common third period theme of a break/breakdown and it’s 2-1 Florida, Nabokov’s reaction said it all, he had to stop it regardless of the board bounce.
On this day the breaks evened out as Okposo’s pass to Sreit, found Dmitry Kulikov’s stick, who deflected it past Theodore 2-2.
Isles closed third/overtime out skating very well, obviously Theodore’s sweep/check with the stick look like it was thrown.
From there New York won the skills competition.
What stood out in this game for me was the Isles had the five on three pp, Jucina took a bomb from the outside, no one screening (or near) Theodore, which happened a few times.
Ullstrom was very good and kept driving the net, Martin did that once, this team needs a lot more of that. Okposo again had a little more jump. Jurcina looked motivated to stay in the lineup.
Tavares looked tired with no extra step in this game, he still had his chances.
Niederreiter should never sit for Pandolfo/Reasoner. Enough’s been written on it.
What was disappointing is it took half a game to really start challenging Florida’s defense or pushing the play at them.
In the end folks only remember the final season standings, the Isles have six of eight points on a five game trip that concludes in Pittsburgh.
The best game they played they got no points.
New York heads to Pittsburgh for a home & home. The numbers are what they are, but if history has taught us anything when teams peak too early, it balances out.
Ottawa broke their streak with eight goals, Sunday they came home and defeated New Jersey.
First time in Pittsburgh the Isles lost in a shootout, where DiPietro replaced Nabokov for the skills contest. Unlike recent years this one has been a problem vs Pittsburgh at home.
Broke their long regulation/overtime/shootout losing streak Sunday with Matt Donovan’s pp goal in overtime in a game for a shot at first place. Kevin Poulin needed to make over forty saves, in a game the Sound Tigers were short-handed a lot.
Their playoff hold is a mix of Ottawa/Florida.
Sound Tigers Website: Report the New York Islanders announced Tuesday that Brent Thompson has been named head coach of their American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
“Brent’s background as a player and his recent success as the head coach of the Alaska Aces makes him the perfect fit to show our young prospects what it takes to play at the NHL level,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said.
“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Sound Tigers,” Thompson said. “I look forward to working with Garth Snow, Jack Capuano and the entire Hockey Operations staff in developing the organization’s prospects into everyday NHL players.”
Thompson served as the head coach of the Alaska Aces in the ECHL the past two seasons. This past year, he led the Aces to a league-best 47-22-0-3 record and the club’s second Kelly Cup Championship in team history. Thompson also won the John Brophy Award as the ECHL Coach of the Year.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio’s article on the new coach.
Anchorage Daily News: Has comments from Aces managing partner, Terry Parks on Thompson.
“I pat him on the back and wish him well. “A big piece with him is he understood the young guys and knew how to get the best out of them.’’
Thompson is a former NHL defenseman who prior to arriving in Anchorage served as an assistant coach for AHL Peoria for three seasons. Bridgeport is an affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Little to add on the signing itself beyond the team he came from was a re-branded version of the Anchorage Aces. Butch Goring went there to coach after being fired by the Islanders here under an ownership that was broke.
Different circumstances now.
Obviously a coach with Thompson’s ECHL success/AHL background has the experience to work at this level. Will Thompson have a good working relationship with Jack Capuano and perhaps change his system so players called up fit Capuano’s system? His assistant was already in place.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio addresses the compete season in Bridgeport with speculation on the future of Interim Coach, Pat Bingham, along with player comment.
“I give credit to anybody and everybody who was here who tried to battle through,” coach Pat Bingham said. “We didn’t have a lot of slackers. We really didn’t have any.”
An organizational breakdown is also provided that list a signing deadline for prospect Brian Day, who is a college senior of 8/15.
All of the numbers are copied from the article. (below) I can add the club responded well to Josh Bailey going down, along with Jeremy Colliton’s return to the organization. When both were called up to New York things really got off track.
Pat Bingham got a ton out of a lineup comprised largely of ATO signings down the stretch.
My viewpoint from afar is coach Pat Bingham and his assistant, Matt Bertani deserve a full season (contracts expiring) with a better mix of prospects and especially veterans to go with one more year from Captain Mark Wotton. If Bruno Gervais wants to return a two-way contract would be an alternative from Wotton.
David Ullstrom, Mark Katic, Justin DiBenedetto and Rhett Rakhshani had excellent seasons.
From Mr Fornabaio’s numbers:
Bridgeport lost 380 man-games to injury, a team record. (with smaller roster)
Only four teams in the past 15 AHL seasons used more players than Bridgeport’s 62 this year.
On Dec. 31, the Sound Tigers were 18-14-1-2. Then January was the worst month in team history. Then February was the second-worst month. On the morning of March 13, Bridgeport was 21-36-3-5, having gone 3-22-2-3 in the meantime.
They went 9-3-1-2 in their last 15 games, After winning just six of their first 33 road games, they won six of their last seven.
I have decided for the duration of Bridgeport’s playoffs NYIFC will re-open to full time daily blogging using our old format with game one against the Hershey Bears on Wednesday including all AHL newspaper coverage for both clubs.
NYIFC will not link to Newsday coverage in a single blog entry until it is completely free and accessible to all of our fans regardless if a writer is sent to Harbor Yard and will I only use the professional print media (Ct Post) and AHL.com along with box-scores. Hershey’s primary paper RSS is now linked to media sidebar on left side of page.
NYIFC prospect blog has several rss feeds, twitter updates from teams along with ways to watch/listen to games in addition to this.
Bridgeport is changing divisions for the playoffs (going back to division they played in last season) and going up against a team that many consider the best in a generation in Hershey (Washington Capitals affiliate) with an incredible record so it may well be a very short series as Tim Leone of the Patroit News is predicting along with a Calder Cup repeat for the Bears. Head coach Mark French is concerned about Nate Lawson and Scott Munroe & the Sound Tigers 11-5-1-0 finish for an opponent which had the same point total as the Bears a year ago in the same divison.
To the best of my knowledge an upset will be a task of monumental proportion nor will Bridgeport even have Josh Bailey and for now apparently Dustin Kohn. Bridgeport posted a negative goal differential of 201-220 but will face a team 60-17-3 with 342-198 goal disparity.
I remembered both those games. Sound Tigers coach Jack Capuano had to use both his goaltenders in both games and that 6-3 game at home was 6-1 before two late Sound Tiger goals, Hershey had fifty shots in the 9-2 game which is very unusual for a team that scores nine times because it usually means some bad goals on first shots.
Andrew MacDonald was returned to Bridgeport Monday along with Dylan Reese, Michael Haley, Kohn and Joel Rechlicz here. Brendan Witt’s father in-law is ill and left the team this weekend after not missing a single game since he was sent to Bridgeport earlier so his knee has responded fine despite several three games/three days situations.
The twitter box many have seen all season here will not be back until after the Sound Tigers playoffs conclude but the NYIFC updates will post on twitter and there will be some Islander related twitter entries plus twitter updates are all over NYIFC anyway at the top and on the sidebars.
The secondary NYIFC blog will not carry these written updates.
Our sidebar feeds have been updated to include newspaper links to Hershey’s primary coverage for the latest including Tim Leone’s twitter feed here. The Ct Post does not have an RSS feed for Bridgeport games but Mr Fornabaio’s twitter and blog rss are on our active sidebar.
This also means some New York Islander blog entries will be returning here for a short time as the season is wrapped up, however there is little to add on the bouncing ping pong balls Tuesday beyond fifth (70 odd percent), first (less than eight percent) or sixth. (whatever else percent)
New York cannot move to second, third or fourth. It’s first, fifth or sixth.
I have not decided if this will go as far as the World Championships that will include Scott Gordon as team USA head coach but much of this depends on how the Sound Tigers do.
What I can guarantee is this is not a full-time permanent return to our old NYIFC format which I have no interest in doing. This is just a nice way of thanking all the folks who have followed here and on twitter all season with a little extra hockey and making up for the playoffs that were not covered here last season when things were closing down.
Point Blank/Mr Botta: Reports in an exclusive with confirmation from the Islanders they have signed prospect Mark Katic to a three year entry-level contract.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
It should be noted Katic because he was drafted in 2007 and plays in OHL had to be signed by 6/1 or he could have re-entered the draft.
Prospect Max Gratchev who was the fourth round selection in 2007 and is now in Bridgeport on a tryout contact also has to be signed by 6/1 or he can re-enter the draft.
Simon LaCroix drafted 7/196/2007 and plays in QMJHL has to be signed by 6/1 also.
The rest of the selections from that 2007 draft by New York are college prospects in the USHL and are unlikely to leave school at this time, until they do there is no deadline to sign them this year.
Sound Tigers website: Report Bridgeport on Wednesday have signed forward Ryan Duncan to an Amateur Tryout Contract, who won the 06-07 Hobey Baker Award. (as did Junior Lessard in 2004 who also currently plays for Bridgeport)
Duncan, as a senior at the University of North Dakota with 20-19-39 in 43 games.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio in the Sound Tigers blog reports Duncan skated with Trevor Smith and Mike Iggulden at Wednesday practice among several updates.
Tsn.ca: Scott Cullen reviewed all the NHL team’s defenses and feels the Islanders need changes.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
A bit unfair here going through the injuries on Colorado, Tampa and several teams defenses but not even writing about the loss of Sutton, Meyer and a team that has had all it’s defenders out for long stretches this season and never one full game together with it’s starting goaltender. To simply just write about Brendan Witt’s negative rating and not all the injuries is a surprisingly poor job by Mr Cullen.
This is what happens when someone tries to review thirty teams, things get missed.
* The Islanders supposedly fought for a pregame show earlier this year, they have one and before the Carolina game had absolutely nothing to show the fans besides a Brendan Witt feature taped 10/21 on ITV?
Is Msg restricting content or are things this bad they have no money to produce new features for a pregame with it painfully obvious they need filler from the opposition to fill out the twenty odd minutes?
I find it hard to believe they cannot get anything from the head coach before the game or Chris King-Steve Mears or simply let Billy Jaffe show highlights with a video chalkboard.
For those wondering Sound Tigers TV has pre-game, postgame and player/coach interviews. Is this some reason those highlights or features at cannot be put on the Islander pregame to show the young players as Doug Morrison used to do occasional during telecasts which we have not seen once all season.
* Anyone else find it ironic the Islanders take out the full page ads in Newsday and yet even in New York City where a Ranger backpage is almost unheard of only Cablevision owned Newsday today gave their product a full back over baseball in a paper that is not even sold in Manhattan?