Islanders ownership is trying to extinguish the ire of an inflamed fan base through repeated prepared statements.
Co-owner Jon Ledecky released a 245-word letter to fans via the team’s Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon, a day after opening a news conference at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow with a 203-word prepared statement and then leaving the podium without taking questions from the media.
The theme in each was the same: This season’s performance was disappointing and ownership is taking accountability for it.
A request by Newsday to interview Ledecky on Tuesday was denied by the Islanders.
“Further to yesterday’s press statement, we write to each of you today as the team heads into this important offseason,” Ledecky wrote to the fan base. “Said bluntly, the Islanders on-ice results were a disappointment. We had every intention to make the playoffs this year and to contend for the Stanley Cup. Clearly, we fell short of those expectations. Every member of the Islanders organization, from ownership, to management, to coaches, to players feels this disappointment in the same we know our fans do.”
On Monday, Ledecky said that all aspects and personnel in the hockey operations department would be evaluated before adding, “As for the past season, as owners, we have failed. We sincerely apologize to the fans.”
However, both general manager Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight told Newsday in a sit-down prior to Monday’s news conference they have been led to believe they will be back next season.
For Snow, it would be his 13th season at the Islanders’ helm after being hired on July 18, 2006.
The Islanders have made the playoffs just four times in Snow’s tenure — this season marks the second straight they’ve missed out on the postseason — and a first-round win over the Panthers in 2016 represents the franchise’s lone playoff series win since 1993.
In February, angry Islanders fans raised enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to post two billboards near Barclays Center calling for Snow’s dismissal.
The Islanders finished 35-37-10 in Weight’s first full season as coach. He took over for the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, 2017, and led the Islanders to within one point of a playoff berth last season.
“We recognize that this disappointment does not just reflect this past season’s results,” Ledecky wrote. “But also the fact that it has been many, many years since the team has achieved its ultimate goal of winning a Cup.”
The Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83.
The NHL approved the transfer of majority ownership to Ledecky and Scott Malkin on June 22, 2016. They own 85 percent of the team and Charles Wang retains a 15-percent stake.
“Accountability for this failure starts at the top, with us,” Ledecky wrote. “The goal for the Islanders is excellence, and we will work tirelessly to improve every part of the New York Islanders organization in order to bring a fifth Stanley Cup home to our fans.”
The final three paragraphs of Ledecky’s eight-paragraph letter to the fans were devoted to trumpeting the “success off the ice this season” in reaching an agreement to build a new arena for the Islanders at Belmont Park.
In an informal chat following Monday’s news conference, Ledecky said everything remained on schedule for the Islanders to begin playing at their new arena in October 2021.
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