Islanders NY Post 4/10/2000
- View SourceMILBURY MAY SALE INTO SUNSET
By BARRY BAUM
Islanders 3 - Panthers 2
Mike Milbury is savvy enough to realize his general manager days
could be numbered once Charles Wang, as expected, buys the Islanders
But putting aside his potential demise, the usually glib Milbury said
yesterday that the sale is imperative for the future of the
"For the sake of the franchise, for the sake of the players and for
the sake of the [general] manager, whoever it is, it's time to stop
this bleeding," Milbury said yesterday after the Islanders finished
their season with a strong 3-2 victory against the playoff-bound
Panthers before 9,316 at the Coliseum.
"It's time that [the current owners] make a deal for the benefit of
the organization. It's time to have a new approach for this team.
Having been forced by current owners Ed and Howard Milstein and
Steven Gluckstern to cut the team's payroll from last season by
almost 40 percent, to $16.5 million, Milbury has been severely
limited in his job to improve the club. As a result, the Islanders
(24-49-9-1), who had a league-low average player age of 24, finished
with the 26th-lowest point total in the league and missed the
playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.
So with Wang, the CEO of Computer Associates and a Long Island
billionaire, preparing to finalize a deal to purchase the club for
close to $180 million, Milbury called it "good news for our future."
That is, of course, if Wang agrees to spend money. After buying the
club for $195 million in 1998, the Milsteins and Gluckstern claimed
that under terms of the team's lease with the Coliseum, and with the
lack of fans showing up at the games, they were losing between $10-20
million a year. As a result, they reduced payroll to minimize their
But with Wang expected to cut a favorable deal with Coliseum manager
SMG to develop a new Coliseum and the surrounding 70 acres, it's
likely that the new owner would not hesitate to inflate the payroll.
"It would be an unfortunate circumstance if this doesn't go ahead,"
said Milbury, who has three years left on his five-year $3.75 million
First-year coach Butch Goring's Isles finished with a better-than-
expected 24 wins and 58 points, both of which equaled last season's
"We wanted to give the fans of Long Island hope and we wanted to give
the players hope," Milbury said. "The building blocks are largely in
place. It's been hard work to get to this point. A lot of pain. I
think we made the best of a difficult situation."
Two players emerged as budding stars: right wingers Mariusz
Czerkawski and Brad Isbister. By scoring a hat trick yesterday,
Czerkawski finished with a team-leading and career-high 35 goals and
35 assists. Isbister, who missed 18 games with an ankle sprain, had
an assist yesterday and concluded with 22 goals and 20 assists, both