We're no longer going to call this the Free Agency Update. That's because as the Islanders practice patience on their way to making the right moves, there are options open to them beyond the scope of free agency.
GM Garth Snow understands the frustration of some in Islanders Country. As he said tonight, "Next to our fans, no one would love to get an impact deal done more than I would."
He steadfastly refuses to strike a long-term deal for players he and Ted Nolan do not see as their kind of Islanders – only to be looking to get out of the burden of those contracts in one or two years. Despite the fact the Islanders are currently significantly under the salary cap, Snow refuses to sign off on a contract just because it might make the depth chart in his office look a little bit better for one day. Or because it might temporarily quiet the talk on all-sports radio or the criticism in the newspapers as some teams are being hailed for winning the Stanley Cup in July.
"That's no way to build a championship team," Snow said tonight during a rare break from conversations with agents, general managers and his own staff. "I know what our fans are thinking right now, we love their dedication to the Islanders and I hear them loud and clear. My only message to them is that for our team to finally go way beyond mediocrity and have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup, it's in our best interests for me to stay patient. So while I stay patient for the right deals, I hope they can be for a little while, too."
And when Snow says deals, he isn't just referring to the heaps of money being thrown at free agents during the first few days of July.