It’s been two weeks since Lou Lamoriello was appointed as the Islanders’ president of hockey operations and he’s wasted little time in making sweeping changes as key personnel pay the price for the teams underperforming season.
Lou Lamoriello has a reputation as being a ‘hands-on’ guy and so it proved yesterday when news broke that GM Garth Snow and head coach Dough Weight has been relieved of their duties. Lamoriello has immediately installed himself as the organisations new GM and has set about identifying a new coach to oversee the Islanders for the 2017/18.
As we’ve seen when Lamoriello acts, he does so quickly so don’t be surprised to see a new head coach in place pretty soon.
The news will be well received by Islanders fans who had become frustrated with a lack of accountability from Snow for the team’s abject form and perceived lack of forward planning.
The Islanders began last season spearheaded by franchise player John Tavares, in the final year of his contract, as play-off hopefuls but the team slumped finishing last but one in the Metropolitan Division despite another strong season from JT and an impressive debut campaign by rookie Mathew Barzal.
Disillusionment with the team’s management led to fans forming Just-Giving group earlier in the season that saw a ‘Snow Out’ billboard erected near the Barclaycard Centre.
An official statement from the New York Islanders read:
“The New York Islanders would like to thank both Garth and Doug for their dedication to the franchise,” Lamoriello said. “Both started their tenures with the franchise as players and grew as tremendous leaders to the positions they held.”
The statements ends confirming both will remain with the organisation, but I can only assume ‘remain’ is used in the loosest sense of the work.
Snow has been stripped of all duties so is surplus to requirements although a rumoured buy-out clause in his contract is likely to explain the Islanders hesitancy to fire him outright.
The Islanders are on the lookout for their third head coach in three years. Dough Weight stepped up from assistant to replace Jack Cappuano in January 2017, but struggled in the hot
Dough Weight will surely be looking for new opportunities after a difficult first year as a head coach. His lack of experience ultimately proved costly with the roster requiring a more experienced campaigner to turnaround a difficult season.
What does this mean for John Tavares?
One can only wonder what the Islanders out of contract star will make of this news. JT is believed to have a good relationship with Garth Snow, yet if Tavares required convincing the organisation are serious about becoming competitive, then this bold move could be considered as evidence of just that.
John Tavares’ relationship with Garth Snow during the final year of his contract was considered one of the main arguments to not dismiss Snow mid-season. It was felt that if Snow did have one positive role to play, it would be using his relationship with JT to tie him down to a new deal – one wonders if the Islanders were going to make such sweeping changes regardless of the outcome of Tavares’ contract situation, then why didn’t they just make it earlier and try and salvage something from a miserable season?