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LaFontaine, Erased from the Islanders


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As a Flyer fan I'm quite familiar with the well known Lindros vs Clark feud that ended with the return of Lindros in the Winter Classic. For years the Flyers organization chose to erase highlights of Lindros's career while Flyer fans all over the world never forgot.

I'm much less familiar with the Pat Lafontaine vs Wang feud that didn't take place while LaFontaine played for the Islanders. Instead, owner Charles Wang is still bitter over LaFontaine's 40-day run as his unpaid senior advisor. Lafontaine resigned in July of 2006 after Wang fired the team's GM Neil Smith and handed the job to Garth Snow. LaFontaine disagreed with the decision and quit out of loyalty to Smith. He said "I believe you treat people fairly, and stand up for what you believe in."

Since then Lafontaine, one of the greatest American hockey players ever, has been erased from the Islanders memories.

OB-SL587_IllesI_G_20120402210730.jpg

The 2011-2012 season is the 40th anniversary of the Islanders organization and frankly I'm shocked, not a mention of Pat LaFontaine. Season-ticket holders were given 42 keepsake tickets featuring a notable Islander player, coach, or executive however non featured LaFontaine.

LaFontaine, is arguably the Islanders' best and most popular player in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The St. Louis-born center's 1.17 points per game is tops for USA-born hockey players. His game-winning-goal in the "Easter Epic," the Islanders' 3-2, four-overtime victory over the Washington Capitals in the decisive Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division semifinals is not included in the Islanders' pregame video.

The 40th anniversary video seems intent to pretend he didn't exist. LaFontaine became a member of the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame nine years ago and yet he has been left out of the Islanders Hall of Fame.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N99-iJlqmTM

The last time LaFontaine was in the Coliseum was Feb. 5, 2008, during a game between the Islanders and the Anaheim Ducks. Brian Burke Anaheim's general manager, Brian Burke invited LaFontaine to the game to discuss Burke's potential support of LaFontaine's nonprofit organization, Champions in Courage, which funds the construction of interactive playrooms in children's hospitals. The Islanders denied LaFontaine a credential for the game. However, Burke provided a ticket for LaFontaine, and the two continued their meeting in a suite reserved for the Ducks' owners.

Lafontaine and former Islander Steve Webb biked 550 miles over 48 hours, from Toronto to New York last September, to raise money for charity. The Islanders issued a news release on their website about the event. The release mentioned Webb, but not LaFontaine. The Islanders confirmed these events happened but didn't comment.

I'm appalled by these actions of the Islanders organization no different than disliking how the Flyers treated Lindros. The Islanders could use the public-relations boost accompanying a reconciliation. LaFontaine and his family have remained a fixture on Long Island. He coaches the Long Island Royals, a midget hockey team that won a state championship last month.

The Islanders have won only two playoff series in the last 25 years. This will be the fifth time that they finish last in their division. Their home attendance is 29th this season among the NHL's 30 teams. As the 2015 expiration of the Coliseum's lease nears it seems time to honor one of the greatest American hockey players ever.

"There's nothing more I would have loved to see," LaFontaine said, "than the Islanders coming back to prominence."

Lastly, a video of the top 10 goals scored by Pat Lafontaine.

http://www.thepostga...areer-disappear

http://online.wsj.co...2036433148.html

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Amazing what money and power can do to a person's brain/decision making...

Wang, Clarke, Lindros Sr., etc... 'grown' men who can't even follow the basic rules we try to teach children.

If they only knew that they're embarassing themselves and not their target.

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Honestly, the Flyers-Lindros rift makes more sense than this. Bad blood boiled for years while he was still playing, and let's not forget he was wrong in handled a lot of things too. Not justifying the Flyers, just framing the comparison...

But this.....is apparently just an owner being spiteful for a man standing by his friend. It's not right that either was erased and, in LaFontaine's case excommunicated

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  • 1 month later...

A great player slighted by a not great man. LaFontaine was a great player to watch. I don't relate him to Lindross as you fellows do, as my issues with Lindross come from his actions upon being drafted, not who he played for. But if there are similar issues between he and Clarke, that's a shame too.

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Lindross refusing to play for a team because they lost a lot is what I can't stand. I think ANY rookie, talented or otherwise, refusing to play for an NHL team that drafted them is crap. I think he should have been banned from NHL play until donning the Nordiques blue for a season, simply out of principle. Lemieux stated quite clearly he would play for whatever team drafted him. His refusal to don the sweater was because of contract negotiations prior to the draft with Eddie Johnston, which Johnston later even stated was largely because of his reluctance to "get with the times" and pay big money to big prospects. I don't see Lemieux as being overly greedy, singing onto a recently bankrupted team for $600,000 a year and a $150,000 signing bonus for two years. Lindross wasn't upset about money or trying to get a fair market price for his talent. Lindross was being a baby about playing for a losing team, claiming they had no marketability and he didn't want to speak French. Quebec only traded him because the league got involved and pretty much made them. I found great pleasure in the Nordiques moving to Colorado and winning Stanley Cups while Lindross never achieved the goal. I know it was because of the players acquired for Lindross in the trade partly, so I found some poetic justice there. I have always wondered what would have happened if Peter Forsberg had played for the Flyers. A far greater player to have.

Edited by Polaris922
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Honestly, the Flyers-Lindros rift makes more sense than this.

No doubt.. I didn't realize how much had transpired between Clarke and Lindross till you guys got me interested and I started searching for news about it. Thanks for the enlightenment.

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@Polaris922

Part of Lindros' not wanting to go to Quebec was because he thought the management there was inept. A point they drove home when they traded Lindros to TWO teams. He was wrong not going to the worst team, but he was right about the GM. If you thought they should have banned him for not wanting to play, how did you feel about your franchise tanking to get Lemieux? I thought the entire organization should have been banned. Instead they just brought in the Pen rule, a lottery to prevent "tanking" teams from a guaranteed first pick. Then when the franchise was going under yet again, they held that lottery behind closed doors and "voila" Bettman saves the day and Crosby is a Pen. Philly had to trade half their team to get Lindros. Pittsburgh just threw games to get Lemieux, and had Crosby handed to them. Glass houses.

And if you don't think, when healthy, that Lindros wasn't a force in the league, you didn't watch him play.

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And if you don't think, when healthy, that Lindros wasn't a force in the league, you didn't watch him play.

The tanking issue was two fold. First, the players never did any such thing. You would never get a team full of professional hockey players to do it. They're ALL too competitive. Secondly, the allegation that the management did tank? Two or three moves considered questionable to shore up the future when you've already lost the season? How many teams trade top dollar players now for prospects? Can you say Richards/Carter? Difference is your team was already competitive and had a great season after. Mine wasn't back then and had no hopes. Honestly, I don't have a problem with a team that came in last the previous year, and barely out of last in the current year, making the difficult decision with the hopes of saving the franchise. I mean even if the management DID tank, yeah it's low down, but without a little low down that year, I wouldn't have a hockey team to follow. So given the choice of having nothing or the management being a dirty and more or less setting themselves up for failure... I'd rather the latter. Having said that, all they really did was trade away Randy Carlysle for a first round pick that ended up being Doug Bodger, and who would later be Moe Mantha. And they sent a nobody goalie Romano down for winning a couple of games and brought up Tremblay, another nobody who admittedly sucked even worse. It's not like the Pens were winning regularly before the moves, having already been 13-41-5 before the moves. How can you sabotage an already sinking ship significantly? They were last place the year before as well. It's not like they paid players to throw games or any such nonsense.

I DO think Lindross was a great player. I just don't think he was as great a player as Forsberg. His approach to Quebec is why I can't stand him. If he'd handled it with more class, I could accept him making trade demands down the road. He never even gave them a chance. Inept or not... where does a rookie come off saying I won't play for anybody?

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The tanking issue was two fold. First, the players never did any such thing. You would never get a team full of professional hockey players to do it. They're ALL too competitive. Secondly, the allegation that the management did tank? Two or three moves considered questionable to shore up the future when you've already lost the season? How many teams trade top dollar players now for prospects? Can you say Richards/Carter? Difference is your team was already competitive and had a great season after. Mine wasn't back then and had no hopes. Honestly, I don't have a problem with a team that came in last the previous year, and barely out of last in the current year, making the difficult decision with the hopes of saving the franchise. I mean even if the management DID tank, yeah it's low down, but without a little low down that year, I wouldn't have a hockey team to follow. So given the choice of having nothing or the management being a dirty and more or less setting themselves up for failure... I'd rather the latter. Having said that, all they really did was trade away Randy Carlysle for a first round pick that ended up being Doug Bodger, and who would later be Moe Mantha. And they sent a nobody goalie Romano down for winning a couple of games and brought up Tremblay, another nobody who admittedly sucked even worse. It's not like the Pens were winning regularly before the moves, having already been 13-41-5 before the moves. How can you sabotage an already sinking ship significantly? They were last place the year before as well. It's not like they paid players to throw games or any such nonsense.

I DO think Lindross was a great player. I just don't think he was as great a player as Forsberg. His approach to Quebec is why I can't stand him. If he'd handled it with more class, I could accept him making trade demands down the road. He never even gave them a chance. Inept or not... where does a rookie come off saying I won't play for anybody?

His parents? If you think it's ok for YOUR management to tank, surely you can see the reasoning behind an 18 year old kid listening to the 2 people who raised him (even if they are idiots)

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I understand listening to parents. I'm sure they were a major influence, but most 18 year old boys think they know everything, and certainly a star in his own right at that point. I can't believe this was a case of mommy and daddy said to do it.

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@Polaris922

"I can't believe this was a case of mommy and daddy said to do it."

You have to go further back into the Lindros saga to know that it is not only completely plausible, but in fact true.

"At the age of 15, Lindros was playing for the St. Mike's Junior B team. He had 67 points in 37 games and made a habit of walloping players who were sometimes six years older, racking up 193 minutes in penalties along the way. Though he was huge and talented, Lindros lacked confidence off the ice. When he was eligible for the junior draft as a 16-year-old, his mother and father asked the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds not to choose their son since the team was situated too far away. The Greyhounds drafted him anyway, as they had Wayne Gretzky in 1977, but, unlike Gretzky, Lindros refused to report. "

Add into the tidbit that I gave you on his Junior refusal to play to the fact that his Father was his agent and you get a crystal picture of who was orchestrating and pulling the ropes on Lindros' career. While he should of cut the chord after a few seasons in the NHL, he never did and it manifested itself into most if not all the problems that erupted down the line.

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I understand listening to parents. I'm sure they were a major influence, but most 18 year old boys think they know everything, and certainly a star in his own right at that point. I can't believe this was a case of mommy and daddy said to do it.

As VanFlyer pointed out, it wasn't the first time. And I doubt he's making the decision NOT to play for the Soo at 16. Most Flyer fans from the Lindros era HATE his parents. Meddling idiots who are all thats wrong with some hockey parents.

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