Okposo managed to pull off 21 goals despite his horrible start. Grabner certainly came back down to Earth, but his linemates all season did too. Bailey turned it on recently, but was absent most of the year. Nielsen has been consistent & is better known for his defense & SO prowess. On a playoff team he'd get Selke consideration- or any team besides NYI.
Sask- I haven't seen the season ticket booklets or read a description. How many players are on it? How many scenes? Doesn't sounds like you can fit too many. A few years ago the Yankees left A-Rod off theirs. While he was playing for them, and had recently won an MVP. Don't think it was mentioned more than a blurb.
Av- I wasn't trying to convince you that Wang cared/cares about the 91 hold out. Wang was really surprised when FANS were pissed he brought LaFontaine back. Maybe he's following fan reaction. As for the W20 Foundation story- I remember there being a quick write up on the Isles site about Webb riding for his foundation and a LINK to the W20 site blog- which mentioned LaFontaine & had his pics. It wasn't like the Isles' site revolved around the great Steve Webb & Steve Webb ONLY riding 550 miles. I don't remember thinking "WHOA! They snubbed LaFontaine!!!" And I would remember such a thing, because I still have mixed feelings about the guy. Great charity work, was my favorite player on a declining team: Held out while the Isles sucked & always did seem a little selfish on the ice. Went to play for the Rags, whose fans rocked his ambulance while he was concussed- how could he do that?
Agreed DPahole's contract is the worst ever, and was written after Yashin's was obviously not working well. But Smith apparently had a lot of other ideas that weren't jiving with long term plans (neither did Ted Nolan's). Wang supposedly had a budget & Smith wanted to spend way more & win right away. Isles were in a shamble by then thanks to Milbury. Who, by the way, Wang certainly didn't try very hard to control. So as much as I have mixed feelings about Wang as well, I think that statement is a bit off. I think Wang bought the team with the intention of winning, however he thought he'd fund it by developing the Coliseum property. When he was losing $20million/season & things looked dim for development- he slashed payroll. You wouldn't? When things have looked good for the development, he's put up money for the team. When things have looked bleak for development, he's kept a low budget. Makes business sense, as much as I hate to say it.
Nobody knows what Botta did to be banned. He says ask Snow/Wang- they say ask him. I've tried in some of those "ask the GM" things to weasel it out of Snow, submitting questions like "is it true Botta is banned for parking in Wang's personal spot?", to no avail. Not that I expected an answer.
Bossy- I remember reading he was a regional sales manager, but did not feel above jumping in & stocking shelves for a big order- and there was a pic of him in a shirt & tie stocking a shelf with chips. Don't remember anything about him being in on the financial venture end of it. Sounded like Wang pretty much rescued him. But maybe that was an Isles spin on it. Either way- he's still there like 10 years later, so he's obviously pretty happy. Him, Morrow, Nystrom, Goring, Flatley, Kallur... A bunch of guys hang around & seem happy. If LaFontaine is in fact being black listed, maybe he did or said something. He did hold out on the Isles once before.
As for moving- we could talk about that forever.
As for Wang being the worst owner in sports- I don't know. He bought the Soundtigers so they could have synergy with the AHL level. He bought the practice facility so they could clean that up & adorn it with Isles memorabilia (sans LaFontaine pics I assume), and paid for a lot of similar renovations to the Coliseum itself, which he doesn't own. I assume if he could buy it- he would. I think he cares, but is beyond frustrated with the lease situation. He thought he could buy his way out of it early on, or find a loophole. Asbestos, breaking sewer pipes, unsafe scoreboard.... None of them have helped his cause. He's still losing big money. They have the lowest payroll in the league. Sell the least tickets (pretty sure on that one). They are hog-tied in a lot of ways. So maybe Wang makes dumb PR mistakes. He's got to be frustrated beyond belief. I sometimes want his head, and sometimes feel bad for him & appreciate that he's willing to keep trying. Isles had several owners who gutted them. Bridgeport is kicking butt this year & the future is looking better for the Isles. Is that thanks to Wang, Snow, draft picks, coaching, luck, chance.....? I don't know. But as much as they frustrate me, they're my team. Like I said- I have mixed feelings about Wang, the Isles in general, LaFontaine, etc. This situation sucks, but I'm pretty sure they're not the only team to blacklist a former player. Especially one who held out on them. Think Peca is welcome in Buffalo? Or Yashin in Ottawa? Are they on season tix or video montages? Those are just 2 players I can think of off the top of my head (for obvious reasons). Sure you guys can list dozens of players who held out & were traded. Are they welcomed back with open arms?