So I noticed the Islanders’ Hall of Fame banner hanging at the Coliseum the other night, and other than wondering whether the “Jonsson” so honored was two-time Cup winner Tomas from the Dynasty Days or Kenny from the Milbury Era (Answer: Someone should sew on the “K”), I figured the franchise with so little to celebrate the last little while had done away with the concept.
Because, after all, how could an Islanders Hall of Fame exist without Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Pat LaFontaine and Brent Sutter among its honored members?
It should not.
Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Al Arbour, Bill Torrey, Ed Westfall, Bob Bourne, K. Jonsson and Pat Flatley are properly recognized. But no one has been inducted since 2012, when Jonsson and Flatley were welcomed as part of the franchise’s 40th anniversary celebration. And, I have been told, the intent is to add more members.
Now that the echoes have been reawakened, there is no time like the present for beat cop/police commissioner/justice of the peace/chairman of the chamber of commerce/mayor Lou Lamoriello to revive the institution and see to it that the aforementioned four players take their rightfully recognized respective places in franchise history.
There is room, too, for Zigmund Palffy, Derek King, Stefan Persson and Dave Langevin, and there is room for debate over (not exclusively) Kelly Hrudey, Chico Resch, Billy Harris, Benoit Hogue, Duane Sutter, T. Jonsson and Pierre Turgeon.
But the ongoing exclusion of Goring, Tonelli, LaFontaine and B. Sutter undermines the credibility of the enterprise and makes one question the accuracy of the banner. It should be addressed as soon as possible.
Mark Stone signed for $76 million over eight years in Las Vegas ($9.5M per), and about the very first thing an agent I’d called about an entirely different subject said was, “That’s about $95 million in New York with the taxes.”
Don’t the Rangers know it.
That is not only what New York franchises have to contend with in trying to compete for players with the Golden Knights, Lightning, Panthers, Stars and Predators — the five NHL teams operating in no state-tax states — but, to varying degrees, that is what every other team in the league confronts.
And that should be addressed in the upcoming collective bargaining talks and corrected in the labor agreement that succeeds the current one.
Yes, it is a complex matter with no readily apparent solution. But both the league and the union pay enough money to enough people with expertise in such things to at least study the issue.
Small-market owners screamed for years about inequities in the system that allowed the wealthier, bigger-market teams to spend more than their low-revenue teams could afford. Now, five teams have an enshrined advantage, and the other 26 — including Canadian revenue-generators — won’t say a peep.
At the very least, the league should consider indexing the cap for Tampa Bay, Florida, Vegas, Dallas and Nashville against the average state/provincial/local taxes for the other 26 clubs then adding a tariff on those five teams.
In other words, if state/provincial/local average to 10 percent for the 26 taxed teams, the cap would be reduced by that amount for the five teams that currently operate on a higher plain even though the league claims to want an even playing surface.
Over the past eight drafts beginning with 2013, the Sabres have held the eighth-overall selection three times, second-overall twice and first-overall once and entered Saturday tied with the Rangers in points.
This after having been shut out three straight times, winning one of the past nine (1-7-1) — “Points in two!” — and going 9-20-4 since Christmas after entering the holiday hiatus 21-11-5.
That despite coming away with Jack Eichel, Rasmus Dahlin, Sam Reinhart (at two, one pick ahead of Leon Draisaitl’s selection by Edmonton in 2014, the year the Islanders took Michael Dal Colle at five, three slots ahead of William Nylander going to Toronto), Rasmus Ristolainen, Alex Nylander and Casey Mittelstadt with those top-end picks.
So by all means rebuilding teams, race to the bottom like the Sabres, on their way to an eighth straight miss and who have not won a playoff round since 2007.
Reflecting upon the death of Harry Howell last Sunday, Brad Park said he had focused on two defensemen while growing up in Ontario and watching “Hockey Night in Canada” every Saturday.
“Harry and Tim Horton,” Park said. “And I got to play and be paired with each of them.”
Ironically, Horton became a Ranger late in the 1969-70 season after having spent the first 18 years of his career with Toronto only because Park broke his ankle on Feb. 28 and GM Emile Francis needed a veteran replacement for the playoff push. Horton came three days later in exchange for Denis Dupere.
The following year, Eddie Giacomin and Gilles Villemure split the Vezina awarded to the goalies on the team who allowed the fewest goals while playing behind a defense featuring Park, Horton, Dale Rolfe, Jim Neilson and Rod Seiling.
The next year, Horton was off to Pittsburgh, claimed after being left unprotected in an intra-league draft process.
By the way, Carey Price, once again extolled as the NHL’s greatest goalie, entered Saturday with a five-on-five save percentage of .923.
Henrik Lundqvist, who apparently should go away because he is too old, entered Saturday with a five-on-five save percentage of .922.
The Rangers’ two regulation victories over the Devils on Feb. 23 and March 3 might have been mental health days for a team that otherwise was 0-5-5 since Feb. 21 entering Saturday’s game in Minnesota.
But the fact is they also stand as the difference between the Blueshirts’ current 6.5 percent chance at drafting Jack Hughes as seventh-worst in the NHL and the 9.5 percent chance owned by New Jersey.
Finally, maybe it’s me, but if I’m the Lightning, I’m not all that wild about being compared as an all-time team to the 1995-96 Red Wings, who put up crazy numbers of victories (62) and points (131), but did not even make it to the Cup finals.
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