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George Zoran
Top Prospect

55 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2006 :  10:56:37  Show Profile
How long does it take to ruin a once great franchise? About ten years. That is how long Mike Milbury has been at the helm of the New York Islanders. Since joining the Islanders as general manager in 1995 Mike Milbury has hired and fired six coaches not including the two times he stepped behind the bench. Mike has finally worn out his welcome and will “step down” once a replacement is found.

Milbury will assist Charles Wang, the owner of the franchise, in searching for his replacement. There is Wang’s first mistake. Why would you want Milbury’s advice on who should be his successor? The only thing Milbury should advise on is how to make a terrible trade – he is an expert.

He has traded away many talented players over the years including Todd Bertuzzi, Wade Redden, Bryan McCabe, and Ziggy Palffy. He also traded away Norris trophy favorite Zdeno Chara and his first overall choice in the 2001 entry draft (Jason Spezza) to acquire a disgruntled Alexei Yashin who was holding out for a new contract. If you can believe it, that wasn’t even his worst decision. He would love to take a mulligan on the deal that sent Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to Florida for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish. The deal made room to select Rick Dipietro over Dany Heatley in the 2000 entry draft – D’OH as Homer would say.

I’m not sure what relationship Milbury has with Brent Sutter, but you have to think this is the guy that Long Island wants to run the franchise. The former Islander captain just finished coaching the Canadian World Junior team to back to back gold medals in what many consider one of the best coaching performances in Canadian hockey history. He had a very young team with mediocre talent but and transformed them into the most dominant team in the tournament.

If Sutter does decide to make the jump to the NHL, Long Island would probably be a good fit. Although he will have to clean up Milbury’s mess and the first step in doing so would be to remove the “C” from Alexei Yashin and then trade him for a bag of pucks. Maybe that is a bit harsh but its not like they will get anything in return for Yashin and they will be lucky to find a team willing to take on his salary.

Amazingly, Milbury will continue to be employed by Charles Wang’s and will take over as Vice President of the Wang sports properties. So regardless of who takes over as GM, Milbury will continue to have a say in Long Island.

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