I have been an Islanders fan for almost too long. They were one of the first teams that I became a fan of, and they rewarded me well that first year. 1993 the Islanders made the playoffs under legendary coach Al Arbour, who could coach even the most worthless team into the playoffs. They beat the Capitals 4-2, but they lost the absolute star of the team, Pierre Turregon to a cheap shot and had the two time defending champs in the next round. No one gave them a shot or a chance in hell of eliminating the Pens. Mario Lemuix, Jaromir Jagr, both in the height of their game, the Islanders had no match for it. Yet the gritty Isles fought and fought, pushing the Pens to the brink at 3-2 and a game 6 in LI. The isles lost that game, but behind the incredible play of Glenn Healy went on to win in Pittsburgh in OT in game 7. They went on to get trounced by a Habs team that would win the cup, but that 93 team will always be one of my favs. Unfortunately after the following season Don Maloney decided that Turregon would never return to form so he traded him for Kirk Miller, who refused to play for the Isles. Maloney got fired for that and we got Mike Milbury.
Unfortunately as bad as Maloney was, Milbury would outshine him in every stupid move and every stupid trade and every stupid hire. Milbury promised us a youth movement and a cup by the 99 season in a 5 year plan. Unfortunately Milbury never had any patience, and talented youngsters would end up in his doghouse and being traded for nothing. One of the more amazing trades was when Tommy Salo went down injuried. Since the Islanders had no backup, and Salo would be out for 3-6 weeks, Milbury decided to trade for Felix Potvin. At the time anytime Potvin played he let up 5 goals and was obviously so done you could stick a fork in him. Not only that, but since Milbury always disliked Salo (A solid if unspectacular goalie) he was maneuvering to replace Salo with Potvin. Despite the fact that the Leafs could get nothing for him, Milbury decided to trade Bryan Berrard, a young offensive defenseman with a calder trophy under his belt and sure fire HOF’er even playing for the Isles. Potvin bombed and if not for an eye injury Berrard would be a surefire HOF candidate. But to top all this, the Islanders had drafted Roberto Luongo. Every scout in the league thought he was going to be the next Roy. Every league he played in he dominated and put up numbers in QMJHL that hadn’t been seen since Roy played. So after he worked his way up, Milbury let him split time with Kevin Weekes, giving him 24 games in the 99-00 season. To say that the 99-00 Isles team was bad is an understatment. Potvin managed to get a better GAA then Luongo but a far worse save percentage in the same number of games. While Weekes played a dozen more games, he had a higher GAA and even Save percentage. So although not spectacular, there were those that could see hope in Luongo. Yet in the 2000 NHL Draft, which the Isles had the first and fifth pics and were expected to take the super talented Dany Heatley first overall, Milbury made Boston (Milbury is a homer for Boston) native and Boston College goaltender Rick Dipietro the first overall pick. Lets just ignore the fact that Dipietro was projected to go in the top 10 somewhere, but the Isles could have easily drafted Spezza and follow it up with grabbing Dipietro fifth or even trading up, Milbury proceeded to trade Luongo for absolutely nothing let alone that he traded Jokinen with Luongo.
And so eight years after that infamous Milbury draft, Luongo is widely considered the best goaltender in the business. Heatley easily could have helped the Islanders by bounds and leaps compared to Dipietro and even Jokinen turned into a star. Milbury decided to give the DiP a 15 year contract to reward him and to lock up a Franchise goalie for his whole career. Instead, it has become an albatross for the Isles. In his first two years of the fifteen he has not only managed to injure both hips, but has had injuries to his knees and multiple concussions. Coming into this season, the Isles decided to let Dubie (Wade Dubielewicz) who put up better numbers then the DiP last season go and replaced him with the Eternal farm hand for the Red Wings Joey MacDonald. Although MacDonald has played alright, he’s no Dubie.
So its time for the Islanders to bring a complete end to the Milbury era. The trading or dumping of Rick DiPietro is the only thing that can make a clean snap. The Isles will never consider a new goaltender as long as The DiP manages to hold onto a 15 year contract and basically forces the Isles to have to go with him. As for Mike Milbury, I still hate you and laugh at your evalution of Hockey Talent for NBC. Its obvious that any Talent has gone over your head.