Monday, March 9, 2009

It's fun again

I'm reading between the lines. And more lines.

"Leadership is a funny thing. You can't really describe it. It's just there. A lot of the guys are playing with a lot of confidence now, which shows a lot of leadership."
- Kyle Oh!poso

"Off the ice, we've had it great all year. But on the ice, I think there's a big difference. Maybe it's because we're young and kind of know each other."
- Sean Bergenheim

"Sometimes players get bitter and that's part of the game. I'm not going to worry about it. Just the fact that we, given our situation, have competed at the level we have here. If it was all that bad, human nature would have been just to throw away the rest of the season, to tank it.

"For me, it was identifying the players who I thought had the character to lead us through the rest of the year and get us into the start of next year."
-- Scott Gordon

Get the feeling Bill Guerin isn't so missed by the Islanders younger players or the coach? It doesn't surprise me.

I like Bill Guerin as a player. I know nothing about the man. He's a below average player now, or hovering just around average considering his toughness and the experience. But he was a very good player for a bried period of time. And he was a damn good, always complete player when he wasn't very good.

But Bill Guerin, the leader of this team? I'm not sure I buy it. It's always interesting hearing the rumblings around this franchise about grizzled veteran leaders struggling to find their place with aggressive young coaches. Bill Guerin was bitter, if we're to believe Scott Gordon and Herrmann Monster, and, I guess, Guerin, if the sniping about not knowing where he was going is any indication. This "sitting in limbo" thing obviously played out poorly for the team and for Guerin. But what else to do? I don't know. And I suppose the Islanders didn't either.

I don't know what Bill Guerin wanted out of the Islanders, although I think the Islanders got exactly out of Bill Guerin what the Islanders wanted. They got a serviceable captain whose dedication and work ethic hopefully was transferred to some of the younger players. Guerin might have thought he'd finish his career here, although his feelings regarding Gordon may have made that impossible/uncomfortable/unproductive. And he had to know by having a decent season, he was making himself a commodity at the deadline.

Anyway, it's a minor drama. I think the team is better off without Guerin (and Weight, for that matter) moving forward. You need character guys, but I think it's preferable to develop them from within. Shipped-in leadership is no substitute for players drafted by the franchise, players who have some deeper-rooted loyalty and connection amongst the group. And I think this especially holds true for a young, young team in the earliest stages of development. This team is a not a player away. Best to develop from within.

Mike Comrie? Who gives a shit?
Chris Campoli? That's a-whole-nother post.

We'll get there.

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