Tag: Billy Jaffe

New York Islanders Media Day

Islanders embarrassing off the ice too: Team pulls journalist Chris Botta’s press credentials


By now you’ve read about it or heard about it on the radio, but the paranoia over having bad things said about the team on Long Island has reached a new high, leading to team pulling the media credentials of one time team PR man Chris Botta. Botta, who worked for the Islanders for 20 years, runs the fantastic Isles site Islanders Point Blank. Of late, Botta’s had his hands full in dealing with the woeful, terrible Islanders, losers of 11 straight games and recent firers of coach Scott Gordon.

Recently, Botta has been critical of the direction the team has taken in firing Gordon and raising questions about what’s going on with goaltender Rick DiPietro, who’s become invisible in favor of 40 year-old goalie Dwayne Roloson. For what Botta’s done on Long Island to provide fans with a consistent and level-headed approach to covering a team he knows intimately you’d think that the Islanders would be happy that anyone giving them that amount of attention would be a good thing given how bad the team has been for the last few years.

Instead, the team treats those who dare question anything that goes on in Long Island like traitors to the throne and cast them aside. Just think of what happened to former color commentator Billy Jaffe who was not brought back to TV this year in favor of Islanders legend Butch Goring. Sounds like the Islanders front office is doing their damnedest to control the message coming out of the home office, doesn’t it? It sure comes off looking that way.

What’s most stunning about this development is that the Islanders come off as looking so thin skinned they can’t take constructive criticism. Questioning Botta’s work ethic here is foolish and wondering if he cares about the Islanders would be even dumber. The guy has been with this team through some of the thinnest years in its existence, you’d have to think he cares about the team more than most people. Silencing him because he dares question the direction the team is going in is insanity.

After all, if the Islanders do this, what’s to keep other teams from denying anyone they don’t like hearing from and turning the press box into a pack full of “yes” men and women who won’t dare question anything at all? Keeping the message clear for what you want to be heard is up to team public relations, it’s not up to the media to “play nice” with the organization.

Instead, the Islanders have instantly put the spotlight on themselves as the bad guys and it’s hard to not think they’re just really paranoid when it comes to doing just about anything. Sure the team is sensitive to having their moves questioned, but that will happen when you’ve been as bad of a team as the Isles have been since Charles Wang bought the team. Now they’re casting aside a guy who used to be one of their own, a guy that used to handle meltdowns like this himself and they’ve got the Professional Hockey Writers Association challenging their actions as well. If the Islanders are going to answer to anyone over this it’ll be the NHL but it doesn’t seem likely that they’d step on the Isles toes to tell them how to do things.

It’s tough to say anything nice here about the Islanders because, let’s face it, they’re cutting off a guy who does the same sort of thing we do here and if it was us in Botta’s shoes I doubt we’d be handling things as graceful and gentlemanly as he has. We’d be shouting from the top of the mountain about injustice and shouting it to anyone who would listen. There’s only one right move the Islanders can make here, but cutting off their nose to spite their face has been so in vogue with the Islanders lately, it’s tough to see them making a good decision to keep Botta in the fold after it’s all said and done.

Versus will air first episode of ‘NHL Overtime’ tonight at 11 pm ET


We discussed the new nightly hour-long show planned by Versus last week, but tonight’s the night in which “NHL Overtime” will actually air for the first time. The first show will begin at 11:00 pm ET, shortly following the network’s current St. Louis Blues-Colorado Avalanche tilt.

According to the network’s press release, the first episode will feature an all-Bill lineup: host Bill Patrick, pundit Billy Jaffe and veteran out-of-work forward Bill Guerin. That won’t be the permanent crew, though, at least if they follow the plan as detailed in the press release.

Here is a snippet of what Versus had to say.

NHL Overtime, will feature game highlights, re-caps, expert analysis and all the hottest news and topics from the NHL, college, minor leagues and international hockey. The show will include in-studio guests as well as live post-game player interviews from around the league. Additionally, special longer-form features on coaches, players and influential names in hockey will also be a regular part of the show.
Each week, several new announcers and analysts will be showcased on the program, allowing for fresh perspectives and unbiased opinions.

Tonight’s inaugural telecast, for example, will feature Billy Jaffe and perennial NHL All-Star Bill Guerin along with host Bill Patrick, while hockey fans can expect to see many names come through the studio in the coming weeks, such as Aaron Ward, Ken Daneyko, Mike Millbury, Dave Maloney and Darren McCarty, among others.