Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time to Hold Your Breath....

If you held your breath, you're most likely a Ranger fan who is under the delusion that Ovechkin, Semin and Green aren't going to combine for 20+ goals in the 4 or 5 games it'll take the Caps to dispatch the Rag$. Now that I've taken a shot at the Crosstown Morons who think the Islanders should go to Kansas City, on to more formative topics.

For Islanders fans around the world, tonight at 8PM will mark the beginning of the next chapter in the franchise's storied history. From Expansion, to upstart, to Stanley Cup Champions, to Dynasty, to solid playoff contender, to Cinderella story, to Laughingstock and back, now is the time the Islanders define the next 10 years of their existence. With the Lighthouse Project mired in political upheaval and the team landing itself the chance at a top 2 pick by finishing last in the NHL, it's been kind of a sweet and sour deal. On the one hand, the boys in blue and orange could walk away with a generational player in John Tavares or Victor Hedman or this could get really interesting, really quick.

What happens if things take an odd turn this evening and one of the four teams ahead of the Islanders (Tampa, Colorado, Atlanta and L.A.) does cash in on that 51.8% chance of getting the #1 pick? (I detailed the lottery system in my post, How Does 18.8% Sound?, so give that a read because I won't belabor the point)

Frankly anything could happen. It's not out of the question for Garth Snow to entertain offers for the #2 pick if he can garner some superstar talent and a 5-10 pick in this year's Draft for the right draft in that position. There are a lot of teams that have been salivating over Tavares and Hedman for close to two years. Give them a chance to prove how much these prospects are worth to them (in the case of having Tavares available at #2, I wouldn't think twice if I were Garth and take JT).

If the Islanders do retain the #1 and Garth even sniffs offers for the chance to choose between the top two prospects, then he is out of his mind. Having the opportunity to make a choice between arguably the best prospects since the turn of the century is rare indeed. It's time to end the Islanders fans suffering and do what's best for the franchise and the fans, not just "what best fits the system". Hopefully, whoever gets drafted by the Islanders does fit the mold, but at this point I think it's safe to say that the best available prospect should be taken.

The way the ping pong balls bounce tonight means little considering the opportunity at hand. Either you walk away with one of the best prospects in 25 years or you walk away with a superstar, a pick or picks and a chance to draft even more players in the first and second rounds of this very deep draft. There really is no way the Islanders can lose out on this deal. The only way I could see that happening is if GM Garth Snow decides it's best to trade away the #1. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Stories related to tonight's festivities:

Whatever happens, I've been told via Press Release that the Islanders will be holding a Conference Call with Garth Snow immediately following the Draft Lottery program airing on Versus in the States at 8PM. I will be back tonight with an update on Garth's comments following the event.

(Photos courtesy of LighthouseHockey.com (Ovechkin), TSN.ca (Draft Lottery), OntarioHockeyLeague.com (Tavares), ProHockeyNews.com (Hedman) and HotStoveNewYork.com (Garth and Wang))

For Questions, Comments or Random Draft Drawings contact YOLANDA VEGA and her associate blogger at DougD84@optonline.net or in the Comment space.

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