Friday, June 20, 2008

A matter of philosophy

One of the most memorable and painful sports memories for me, as a Jets fan, came when the Jets selected Ken O'Brien over Dan Marino at the 1983 NFL Draft. I'll never forget Sal Marchiano, covering the draft for WNBC, asking a Jets fan at the draft for his opinion. The fan admitted he was surprised by the move before uttering the words that fans will take to their graves:

"The Jets must know something we don't."

Hmmm. Maybe not.

Islanders fans -- and, judging by the fan reaction at the Coliseum and the action on the message boards, the vast majority of fans -- are hoping tonight that Nikita Filatov does not become the Islanders' Dan Marino, the one that got away. If the Isles wanted Filatov, they could have had him at five, so they must not have viewed him as the sure thing, the dynamic goal scoring machine, which is how so many fans see him.

The reality is, despite the vast amount of information and scouting reports and video available to fans, the teams know a heck of a lot more than the fans and they have their favorites.

You wonder whether the Islanders would have taken Filatov at seven had he still been there, but that's a hypothetical question that will likely never be answered. Maybe the Isles took a chance that they could get Filatov at seven and pick up an extra second-rounder in the process, and when he wasn't there, they moved down where they knew they could get Bailey, a player they liked.

It's a moot point now. This is a draft that fans will point to forever, and we'll see in a couple of years whether or not it's a successful one. Will Bailey and the other picks end up as the core of a championship caliber team, or will Filatov go on to become the next Ovechkin? There will be plenty of people keeping tabs on that.

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