Long Island: Lub it or Leave it
The recent news of Lubomir Visnovsky filing a grievance with the NHLPA has Islander fans hanging their heads in despair. He has filed a grievance in an attempt to uncover a “No Trade Clause” that wasn’t honored at the time of the trade. It’s hard to decide if the actual news was the most painful or the fact that the Rangers netted Rick Nash for a bag of sweet tarts and a draft pick in a similar time frame. (Photo Credit, clydeorama/Flickr)
For playing under the same city name, the Rangers and Islanders could not be more different at the moment. Consistently, the Rangers keep improving on an already well stocked roster. They are able to speed up the process of rebuilding with their young players by pairing them with proven and perennial All Stars. It is a formula that leaves the Islanders in the dust.
In terms of young, raw talent the Islanders have the edge. However, an unproven stock- pile of draft picks does not win many games. The Rangers are able to introduce young players into the fold while adding great players in their prime.
It is like the Islanders rebuild plan but on steroids.
They are able to speed up the process and be a consistent Cup contender because of being able to sprinkle in top level talent that wants to play under the bright lights of NYC. Let’s just fantasize about the scenario in which the Islanders could attract a free agent like Brad Richards or trade for a Rick Nash and guarantee he won’t walk at the first possible moment. It’s tantalizing.
Imagine one of those guys playing with John Tavares? However, it is also nothing but a scenario that seems nothing but fiction.
While the rich get richer over in Manhattan, the Nassau residents are struggling to keep a good, not great defenseman from walking away. Some fans are thinking that maybe Lubomir Visnovsky was actually excited for the situation on Long Island but saw that Garth Snow was remaining idle in improving other areas of the team so he wanted out.
The Islanders have made noise on one day signing Carkner, Boulton and Boyes. Aside from his draft day trade to acquire Lubo, he has been quiet. However, I don’t think it is right to blame Snow, who has not only drafted well to improve the team, but also is making the best moves he can with the restraints he is working within. There is no question that the team taking the ice in October 2012 is in better shape than they were in April of the same year.
It is impossible for Islander fans not to be upset with the Visnovsky situation. But whether you want to be mad at the man or just in general, the anger will be misplaced. As a player, in a union, he needs to make sure the trade was following the terms of his contract.
Maybe he actually is excited about joining the Islanders but the NHL is a business and as a member of the NHLPA, he needs to not set a poor precedent for those following his footsteps. He is just doing his due diligence to assure the benefit of the NHLPA. If his “No Trade Clause” was ignored, what kind of example does that set for players in the future?
Although it seems as though he does not have a legitimate chance of winning the decision, it still hurts to think of a blue line without him. The fans think that even though Lubo has not played a game with the team yet he seems essential to any sort of hope for next year. Just his presence on the blue line brings new life to the power play and defensive pairing against the loaded Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
This situation has the same scent as the Nabokov scenario when the Isles first claimed him on waivers. Nabokov refused to show up for the Islanders then later claimed he wasn’t ready for the season. Most fans of the Isles, along with followers of the NHL in general, took this as a huge backhand to Long Island and the Islander organization. (Photo Credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr)
Fans were angry no matter what his excuse was but as soon as he made a couple key saves against the Rangers he had the faithful chanting “Nabby!”. Those same fans that were screaming for the team to not give him a chance in 2011-12 based on his blatant disrespect a year earlier were loving his stellar play.
The point being that as angry as some Islander fans may be towards Lubomir, they can be quickly won over. If it is ruled that his “No Trade Clause” did not transfer throughout the process, this can be put in the past.
In the NHL, loyalty seems to only be sweater deep at times. Long Island just wants better hockey and with Visnovsky on the ice, that’s what they’ll get.