Because there’s nothing the long-suffering Islanders fans deserve more than a GM instantly identified with the Bruins and Rangers. From the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte.
A famous former general manager of the Rangers has been in contact with Islanders owner Charles Wang about their pending GM opening. But his name is not Neil Smith.
Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, who served for several years as president and GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning after being fired by the Rangers in 1989, contacted the Isles last week and talked with Wang in recent days about replacing the soon-to-be-resigning Mike Milbury as GM, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Esposito, who has spent the last few seasons as a radio analyst for the Lightning, briefly was a teammate of Milbury’s in Boston during the 1975 season before Espo was traded to the Rangers.
Dallas Stars scout John Weisbrod, a former GM of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, also formally interviewed with Wang earlier this week as a potential replacement for Milbury, who announced Jan. 13 that he will resign after 10 tumultuous years as GM once a replacement is named.
In one Milbury-esque season as GM of the Magic, he fired two coaches (Doc Rivers and Johnny Davis) and traded young star Tracy McGrady. But one NHL executive who knows Weisbrod recently called him “smart, well-liked and a respected worker” and said he considers him “more of a hockey guy that worked in basketball, rather than the other way around.”
There’s no truth to the rumor that Wang has asked the Utah Jazz for permission to speak with Scott Layden.