The Culture Club
No – not the Boy George led band of the 1980’s and not even the awesome Club in Downtown Manhattan that bares the same name. We are talking about the culture club WITHIN the New York Islanders.
Let’s take it back a few months here.
Clean out Day, April 9th 2018 – An unshaven and honestly disheveled looking Garth Snow feebly addresses the media, Doug Weight, with a sour look on his face attempts to do the same. Jon Ledecky reads, angrily – from a pre-written letter claiming that ownership and the team has let fans down. This is months following a billboard that was erected in Brooklyn, begging for the GM to be fired.
It was just awkward, and honestly pretty confusing. It turns out, both Snow and Weight were lame ducks at that table that day in April.
Things would eventually progress pretty rapidly afterwards – Lou Lamoriello wouldn’t be extended in Toronto. He winds up on Long Island, is named President of Hockey Operations and is given full autonomy by ownership.
Stop the presses! Autonomy! What’s that? Well, we would come to find out for sure.
Lou started doing Lou type things. Leaks, they stopped. The culture, well he took it straight on and in one swoop – out with the old. It’s what he does, right? Garth Snow and Doug Weight were removed as General Manager and Head Coach in the same afternoon on June 9th. Just like that, he ripped the bandaid off when nobody was even looking.
As we move forward, Lou stated he was going to hire “the best coach available” and all signs were pointing to coaches without jobs – nobody expected a coach playing for and ultimately winning the Stanley Cup to reach a contract impasse with his team, the Washington Capitals, right? No, I didn’t – you didn’t, but Lou probably knew something and Barry Trotz was signed to a contract with the Islanders on June 21st.
Just like that – the culture tide was changing.
Lou would then go and add Steve Pellegrini, formerly of the New Jersey Devils as Assistant GM.
Fire assistants Greg Cronin, Kelly Buchberger, and Luke Richardson – all Weight’s guys. Curiously he would leave the Bridgeport staff as untouched….
Hire long time Trotz Assistant Lane Lambert as well as John Gruden (who’s story is extremely interesting and worth a read, too).
And then, they would let go of Goaltending coach – Fred Brathwaite in order to hire former Toronto Marlies tendy coach – Piero Greco, and following that up with the goalie whisperer in Mitch Korn as Director of Goaltending. Keep in mind both of these goalie guys are fresh off winning their leagues respective championships.
So, to summarize – Every losing coach was canned and they brought in proven winners. Even Gruden has won at the levels he’s coached. We have Trotz and Lambert that will install their own systems and evaluate talent. We have Greco who will work with Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss and without a doubt work better numbers into their play. Gruden will work magic with the kids, or at least I assume that’s the hope.
In these sweeping changes, Lou Lamoriello has installed a system of accountability, proffessionalism and respect that the Islanders as an organization have not seen in a really long time. What they can do with the roster they have obviously remains to be seen, but the things coming out of the players mouths at this point have been really positive.
It makes for exciting offseason talk, at the very least.
I also took some Twitter questions for the podcast – just to try to involve some of you fine folks in the discussions. Let’s take a look!
— Michael Schuerlein (@islesblogger) July 25, 2018
Hope you all enjoyed Episode Two!