Since I’m on fulltime parental duty the next 5 days, my usual weekend post has been moved up. Plenty to rant about.
For starters, I’m willing to put my decent hot streak of forecasts on the line. I’ve always wondered what it’s like for Peter Gammons to say Manny isn’t being traded, and then learn six minutes later Manny’s LA-bound. Always wondered what it’s like to be Sal Paolantonio all over the Favre thing and say, “It’s not even close. This could take days,” and then have Jay Glazer on Fox report 20 minutes later that Brett’s a Jet.
So here goes. I accept all risk and embarrassment.
No frickin’ way Bryan McCabe is going to be acquired by the Islanders this year.
I could qualify it and add that Bryan isn’t coming here unless the Islanders get a very high draft pick along with McCabe in return for a defenseman's salary the Islanders are happy to lose, but that would be weak.
So I’ll say it again: no frickin’ way McCabe is coming to the Islanders. For Bryan’s sake, I really hope he gets out of TO and finds happiness with a team that will appreciate his guts and dedication. It’s too bad the timing just isn’t right for a return to the Islanders. Maybe another day.
Making even less sense are the rumors on the net that our recently bought-out pal Mark Parrish could be on his way to the Islanders.
Who doesn’t love Parrish? This is a guy who can say something moronic like, “If the fans just want to boo, they can stay home” and have everyone get over it a few days later because he’s like the kid next door everyone wants to hang with. The morning after his brain cramp I told him, “Parry, cancel your plans tonight. Your penalty is signing autographs at the Team Store for an hour.” Mark replied, “I’ll stay there and sign for as long as people want to yell at me. I deserve it.”
But back to the rumor mill. How can any hockey website with pride really think Parrish is coming to Long Island? Is anyone at these sites paying even a little attention?
For richer and poorer, the Islanders are committed to this rebuild (I can use that word because I don’t work there anymore. The GM has to use words like “re-tooling,” – as if that’s any different).
The Islanders have 13 forwards virtually locked in to make the team out of training camp. Only two of them – Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau – are on two-way contracts. Garth Snow gave one-way deals to Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen because he believes they are NHL players. Tambellini would have to clear waivers – he wouldn’t – and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if Frans didn’t get a one-way deal, he could have ended up in some unpronounceable European city with a lucrative, tax-free deal and the Islanders may have never seen him again.
The other 9 forwards: Bergenheim, Comrie, Guerin, Hilbert, Hunter, Park, Sillinger, Sim, Weight.
If we take it case-by-case, is Mark Parrish at age 32 still a better player than some of the above? Maybe, but it just doesn’t matter. Sign Parrish and you're telling Okposo and Comeau you don't really like them as much as everyone thought you did. Sign Parrish and you're essentially exposing your stated vision to build around youth as a fraud.
Grabbing a popular former player just because he’s available and he might be able to score 25 goals again is just not how you do it if you are truly committed to a plan.
I called around on McCabe. I didn’t bother on Parrish. If Snow blinks and picks up Parry, the Plan takes its first detour and then there would be never be any reason to believe the Islanders are true to their vision. As much as it would be nice having Mark around again, I just don’t see it happening. It can’t happen.
For his performance at the press conference and a sometimes shaky phoner with Mike Francesa on WFAN, I'd give new coach Scott Gordon a solid B. He was understandably a bit nervous and, as he said, not used to coverage from his Providence days. What did come through in his interviews were his integrity, good nature and a confidence that his way is the right way. You had to like that.
Hard to tell when I'll be back at this again, but I check the Comments daily and good questions are always inspirational. Keep them coming, and continued thanks for all the hits the last few weeks.