Islanders fans raise money for ‘Snow Must Go’ billboards to protest GM

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 30 shots and Zach Werenski had three assists to help the Blue Jackets beat the Islanders 4-1.

New York Islanders fans aren’t happy, and general manager Garth Snow is facing most of their flak.

With just four wins in their past 13 games and an obvious need for defencemen and a goalie, the Islanders are three points out of a playoff spot and in danger of falling further out of the race. But with the trade deadline coming up in a week and a half, there’s still an opportunity to upgrade in areas of need.

Some fans, however, aren’t confident their current GM will do what is necessary. Even though he does have pieces that selling teams would be interested in to pull off a trade, Snow has pointed at the injuries to the defence (Calvin DeHaan, Johnny Boychuk, Scott Mayfield) as the reason why the team has been struggling. He doesn’t seem keen to use draft picks to add to the team this season.

“We have obviously two first-round picks, two second-round picks … We’re a team that’s right on the edge of getting in the playoffs and not being in the playoffs,” Snow told New York Newsday last week.

“So, are we going to at this point in time, be giving first-round picks and high picks for rental players? I don’t think we’re in that position. Just doesn’t make sense.”

Frustration with the GM seems to be growing among the fan base. During Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Columbus on home ice, a “Snow Must Go” chant started in Barclays.

Snow has been GM for the Islanders since 2006, overseeing three playoff appearances and one series win. With John Tavares unsigned and on track to become a UFA in July, this was seen as an important season for the franchise to take a step forward and signal their ability to contend for a Cup in the years to come.

The lack of moves, their place in the standings, and Snow’s history with the team spurred a section of the fan base to raise money for a billboard to go up near Barclays Center to protest their GM. The campaign was so successful (it reached its initial goal of $2,725 in about an hour) that the target was raised to $5,450 to purchase ad space on two billboards.

Initially, those in charge of the campaign announced that any overflow funds from the goal would be put towards Anders Lee’s Kancer Jam, which raises funds to be donated to organizations that support children battling cancer. But after the Islanders forward sent a message that he did “not feel right accepting money from a movement I do not agree with” the #SnowMustGo campaign will instead give its excess funds to the American Cancer Society.

It’s fair to say it’s been a rocky week for the Islanders. After Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets, head coach Doug Weight commented on the lack of atmosphere in the building, which some took as a shot at the fan base. Weight, however, clarified his comments the next morning, saying the poor performance from his team didn’t give those in attendance anything to cheer for.

All eyes are on Snow and the Islanders (and now the billboard) leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, right when the team’s schedule gets tougher. Just four of the Islanders’ next 13 games are at home in Brooklyn, and six of the games are against division rivals.

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