by PuckStopsHere on 01/18/09 at 04:04 AM ET
I wrote a couple days a go that New York Islanders are the worst team in the NHL and point to the root cause of the problem as poor management decisions off-ice. Both the decisions on who should be in the Islanders brain trust and the decisions by those people have been poor. We had a very good example of such a decision occur yesterday.
The New York Islanders goaltending is a problem, due partially to injury. Rick DiPietro is out indefinitely (probably for the rest of the season) with knee problems. In DiPietro’s absence, Joey MacDonald has been their top goalie. He has a groin injury and should be out a few weeks. That leaves them with Yann Danis and Peter Mannino as their NHL goaltending pair. This is an AHL pairing. So something had to be done.
It turns out that former Islander goalie Wade Dubielewicz had been recently bought out from his KHL contract and would be available to return to the NHL. He seemed like an answer. Thus, Garth Snow signed him. Except, this plan had a problem. Anybody who starts the season in Europe and joins an NHL team must clear waivers before they do so. That rule was put in to prevent teams from loading up on European players late in the season for a playoff run. It had been reported that Dubielewicz had garnered the interests of as many as three NHL teams. To a smart GM, that means it is time to back off. There is no chance that if you sign Dubielewicz you could get him through waivers. One of the other teams would claim him. Garth Snow is not one of those smart GMs. He didn’t see the warning signs.
The Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves in need of a backup goalie. Steve Mason is playing very well, but with Pascal Leclaire on the injured reserve with an ankle injury they would benefit from acquiring Dubielewicz. Ironically, it was former Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena who has taken Dubielewicz’s place with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL. Dubielewicz would now replace Norrena in the NHL.
That means the New York Islanders went through the trouble of signing a player that they could never get. The Columbus Blue Jackets thank them for their trouble. This is a small example of the kind of decision making that leaves the New York Islanders in bad shape. A good GM would have seen the problems with signing Dubielewicz and gone a different way (for example Curtis Sanford had been on waivers). The Islanders still need a goalie, despite going through the troubles of signing one for Columbus.
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