Magic Pill: NY Islanders Must Have Top Draft Pick, Plus Lighthouse Project

B.D. GallofCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2009

"One pill makes you taller
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all"
- Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit"


Pill #1: Top Draft Pick or BUST!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Isles got the first or second draft pick? John Tavares could come in and heal Rick DiPietro's knees. He'd also give DP a Vulcan mind-meld to get his brain on track to be more mature. Then he'd then wave a magic wand, making fans flock to the Coliseum in droves.

Hedman would walk right into Kate Murray and Tom Suozzi's offices, and shame them into relenting on their political aspirations that have the Lighthouse Project affixed as a centerpiece. He'd then grab Charles Wang and put them in a room to take out their frustrations and then get down to business.

Tavares, along with his scoring prowess, could also help internally for the Isles fill all the gaps which they cut to pieces this past January. Maybe he could work a camera, put together Isles Illustrated for MSGplus, and also head community projects?

Hedman, when not learning the NHL game, could help develop the potential of all the young kids who the Isles' future really depends on.
We could keep going with this pile of malarkey . . .
Fact is, despite the need for a top flight player and draw, neither the first or second draft pick will solve the myriad of issues with the NY Islanders. The Isles need fundamental changes and new building blocks in many areas. 

There seems to be a magic pill delusion coming along for the ride this season, and chances are, that Garth Snow and Scott Gordon aren't buying. As they gauge and assess talent on the NHL level and below, they are hellbent on building a foundation  to climb upon next season and beyond.

This means they are not thinking any one top draft pick is an answer and a sudden turnaround. Instead, they feel that rebuilding and developing those currently on the NHL, AHL and other rosters is far more paramount, for those are in their actual control. The top draft pick is merely a hope. The future of the Isles depends more on action and not on this panicked sense that if they float to a third or fourth pick, all is lost.

For it means that those players who are on the ice are stepping up and building something.

Now, if only the Isles and their ownership could solve the Lighthouse Project fistfight with the local town, and quit playing politics, we might get even further to solid ground.

Pill #2: The Lighthouse Project Hoopla and Blame Game

The latest mind-bender was on Chris Botta's Pointblank website, that he has heard of an underground campaign to get opposition to next week's meeting. That's an interesting grenade that really begs for further clarification and information.
"Point Blank has been told by residents via email that the Town of Hempstead has begun an underground campaign encouraging dissenters to show up in full force."

This is a tremendous charge, and residents might want to provide some proof there that it's truly the ToH. Or perhaps to Botta, they already did? If so, a scan of it might be in order
Is there truly a discordant note and attempt by the Republican-led ToH to manufacture dissent? Or are some civic associations who have been against the Project (Garden City and Uniondale) trying to piggyback and create some drama? Or are these hypersensitive perceptions from some residents and more political plays at an attempt to merely let local towns know of the event? 
To me, the biggest problem about the Lighthouse Project is that people all-around need to just get a grip.
I want the Lighthouse Project as much as anyone, but I cannot sit here and buy what is being presented on Isles channel's wholesale. From my vantage point, it takes two to play a political tug of war. Right now, there are far more than that at play here. The Media, the Lighthouse Project, Democrats, Republicans, and a bewildered rest of us are being pulled on strings. 
When I spoke to the ToH back last fall and even earlier, they were just as gung-ho on the Lighthouse Project as anyone else. They made it sound like it was a forgone conclusion that it would happen. The only caveat is that projects of this immense size take time. 
Since then, the most talking and political button-pressing has been coming from constant leaks to the press, the NHL, and PR hype that has spun the ToH as the out and out bad guys and impediments here.

Meanwhile, Tom Suozzi, a Democrat whose position is up for re-election this November, and the Project have gotten quite close. Their message has been in almost unison. Kate Murray, a Republican who most feel is the next one to press for that same position, has been on the defensive ever since. The ToH has battened down the hatches and muffled voices to speak to anyone.
Suozzi on WFAN alluded that the only real issue is that Kate Murray doesn't like to talk about individual projects or work with him on smoothing that process. She has been reluctant to appear at meetings she's been invited to, including, mindbogglingly, a lack of presence at events that ToH itself has held in regard to the project. Or is this new feature due to the constant pressure that the Project has created by concern over a timetable?
The question remains: What does the Nassau GOP feel about the project? What does Murray feel about the project? Those who float the Lighthouse flag and pom poms allude to the idea that she must not support it. This, in lieu of the ToH line before these games began, seems not to be the case....until perhaps the politics and game unfurled this past fall and winter.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, the Lighthouse Development Group will host a Community Outreach Education session. This meeting will be open to the public and will allow for questions about the project to be asked directly to Lighthouse staff and consultants. Wang, Rechler, Suozzi and others will be there. It is very unlikely that Murray herself will show to what has turned into a proverbial witchhunt.
Meanwhile, Tom Suozzi has admitted that the ToH has not done anything wrong. He just cites, basically, that she has not been as hearty and gung-ho to grease the wheels or smooth anything to make sure it happens. Is this really what this battle is all about? That simply Murray's ToH has not been willing to play political ball with "the team" so to speak?
Meanwhile, Newsday had a piece on it's web spin cycle blog about Assemblyman Bob Barra (R-Lynbrook), who give a dissertation on the benefits on the Lighthouse project in a Baldwin community forum event, neglecting to say he was recently a part-time sales consultant of the Islanders. So for that, GOP support is pretty suspect. So, does the GOP stand with the Lighthouse, or are they the only element not quite going with the "flow"?
There has always been a small smattering of dissenters to the Lighthouse Project. From the self-interested Uniondale School District superintendent, who wants the tax dollars to reap something for nothing over the possible (and improbable) influx of children there who might go to his school system. Then there are some Uniondale and Garden City local district groups concerned about traffic. Garden City is also hellbent on that there is no train system running through them. Then again, Garden City doesn't like Jews living in their neighborhood. So what do they know?
This opposition, though scattered, is not a ToH manufacture, but groups who have stated these concerns long before the snit between parties began. But it is more a smattering of people who seem to have pet peeves, and are likely usual suspects to any sort of change issue.

Possible Conclusion?
However, there is something that does stick out over this. Barra's plugging of the Lighthouse Project appeared on the Republican GOP website. If other GOP-ers are on-board, perhaps this is not such Republican/Democrat snit as it might appear. 
Instead, is it Murray dragging feet simply because the project size and scope is too large for them and the town of Hempstead to handle? They seemed completely unprepared for the political blowback back months ago, and still seem out-to-lunch for most things, including some oddball comments in a Newsday interview piece. 
Meanwhile, on local cable, we watch some strange commercials on what a swell job Murray is doing for Long Islanders. Is she more focused on a November political future than what is currently on her plate? Her presence at Lighthouse functions is now paramount... if not for the project, perhaps for her own political future. 


    Report: Oilers Expected to Hire Gulutzan, Yawney

    NHL logo

    Report: Oilers Expected to Hire Gulutzan, Yawney

    Pro Hockey Rumors
    via Pro Hockey Rumors

    John Tavares impressed with Isles bring in Lamoriello

    New York Islanders logo
    New York Islanders

    John Tavares impressed with Isles bring in Lamoriello

    via SNY

    Sharks Re-Sign Kane to 7-Year Extension

    NHL logo

    Sharks Re-Sign Kane to 7-Year Extension

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    This Stanley Cup Final Will Be a Classic

    NHL logo

    This Stanley Cup Final Will Be a Classic