Adam Proteau has deservedly made a name for himself the last few years for his informed, engaging and thought-provoking columns in The Hockey News. I've also heard from fans who were impressed by Proteau's willingness to respond to emails.
He ranked the Tank one-year deal as the worst free-agent signing off the offseason. By the time I emailed him, he had already heard from half of the Country. Not surprisingly, his emailed answers to my questions yesterday are entertaining.
When you write something critical of the Islanders in The Hockey News, how much do you hear from Islanders Country compared relatively to other fans when you're critical of their team?
When it comes to sheer volume of email and passionate responses, Isles fans definitely are in my top three (along with Flyers supporters and Oilers enthusiasts).
For different reasons, I think all three groups detest me equally, although Oilers fans probably would win in a photo finish. I still don't think some of them are completely over The Hockey News being correct in predicting their nosedive season last year.
Actually, I know they're not.
Garth Snow as GM. Discuss.
I admit it, I was one of the media geniuses* who questioned Charles Wang's mental fitness in hiring Snow straight off the roster.
He's proven me wrong for the most part, although I have spoken to hockey insiders with intimate knowledge of some of Snow's attempts to re-sign his free agents last summer, and I do think there were some tactical errors there.
That said, you can't help but give Snow credit; to many in the hockey world, the Isles are a cobbled-together collection of ill-fitting parts, but they've got a good base of youth to work with, and most importantly, they don't lay down for anyone.
That's a credit to coach Ted Nolan, but it also says that their GM is doing something right, too.
(*caution: sarcasm at work)
Who is the most underrated Islander?
Ruslan Fedotenko! (Semi-inside joke.)
But seriously…I think Brendan Witt doesn't get nearly enough credit around the league. He's a minute-munching, shot-blocking, dressing room leader who, relatively speaking, is worth every penny he's paid.
Where do the Islanders, Rangers and Devils finish in the East this season?
Devils fourth, Rangers eighth, Islanders tenth. Sorry.
Any message to the Islander fans who email you every time you take a poke at us?
First and foremost, it's never personal.
I've written positive things about the Isles in the past - believe me, after all the nasty correspondence I've received, I can't believe it either sometimes - and I'm sure I'll do so again down the line. Just something to consider before emailing me with guesses as to my mom's marital status at the time of my birth.