Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Left with nothing but a grimace on his face…

Neil Smith probably figured he might get some kind of remuneration after his unceremonious departure from the New York Islanders. But if reports out of New York are true, he figured wrong.

Smith left the employ of the Isles some six weeks after taking over the duties on the Island after a rather strange string of affairs, even for a team that of late has provided some interesting moments of levity.

The Smith era while short, was rather frantic as the newly hired GM and the team owner Charles Wang didn’t seem to see eye to eye on many decisions at the time. Wang removed his hire after 42 days and turned the key to the executive washroom over to Garth Snow, who previously had been the teams back up goaltender.

According to the Globe and Mail, Gary Bettman has been acting as the arbitrator in this dispute, and the Globe suggests that the Commissioner’s interpretation of events of that time are that Smith did not have an enforceable contract in place at the time. A situation that could mean that smith is out of luck if he expects to collect any money on this one.

Smith and Wang apparently had an agreement in place but no one had signed any papers by the time Smith was sent packing, and in Wang’s eyes that meant that there was no deal, no contract and thus no payday.

If the situation evolves as it seems to be heading, that of Bettman declaring Smith and orphan without compensation a valuable lesson will have been learned by all future GM’s.

Before you get around to building up your new team, you had best get your own contract in order first. After all the players are going to get paid, you might as well make sure to have a pay envelope with your own name on the way too.

Smith is still seeking work as an NHL General Manager, but we suspect that next time before he signs anyone to a dotted line, he'll make sure that he's already dotted his i's and crossed his own personal t's first.

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