Give Garth Snow some serious credit here as he very much did a very good job with his 2 first round picks on Friday night at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. While his choice of Michael Dal Colle was pretty much as most of the draft experts expected, Snow caught just about everyone off guard when he sent both of his second round picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the 29th pick of the draft which Snow used to take Josh Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires.
Everyone is going to have their say about Dal Colle so I will keep it short and sweet. Bottom line is Michael Dal Colle will be a very good NHL player.
First Dal Colle who comes to the Islanders from the Oshawa Generals is a 6’2 185 left winger coming off a 39-56-95 season and 8-12-20 playoff. Seen as a solid 2-way player who works hard every shift in every game, Dal Colle may not be a highlight reel player most might expect from the 5th pick in the draft but if you need a big goal then he wants to score it. The Generals used Dal Colle as their power play quarterback from the point but he is able to score from any place on the ice.
Dal Colle is also a strong stick-handler and is not afraid to skate into traffic to make a play. While yes I would have preferred Nick Ritchie, it was not a slight in any way against Dal Colle as I have always preferred smash mouth hockey and thought Tavares could use his own version of Clark Gillies as a linemate. Dal Colle will be a valuable contributor for the Islanders for many years.
Dal Colle needs to add 20-25 pound of muscle to his body but won’t be any problem for him as most of it will come from filling out his body as he gets a little older. Snow did the right thing by not trading away this pick as Del Colle will prove his value many times over down the road.
Now as for Josh Ho-Sang, let us get somethings straight about some of the negative things being said about him right off the bat. For starters if asking to be treated as a hockey player and not as a black hockey player means he has an attitude problem then I have the same attitude. If you to go read what Ho-Sang said in the media for yourself then it might change what you are thinking about him.
“If I was a general manager and had first pick in the draft, I’d pick me No. 1 … In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft. And I have no doubt about that. I know myself. I know the other players. I believe in my ability. There are guys ranked ahead of me who are nowhere near me.
Why how dare he believe in himself and set the highest of bars for himself? Oh wait he is a hockey player and everyone expects them to be quiet, humble and give everyone else the credit. Hockey players are not supposed to be loud and proud about their game but in a way I don’t blame Ho-Sang because he has been passed over for opportunities like getting invited to try out for Hockey Canada despite his strong track record.
You are not supposed to speak about something you think is wrong in the world if you are a hockey player. It is the culture that is supposedly expected and demanded of the players even if things are wrong.
Actually what people don’t want to really admit is what really annoys them about Ho-Sang is when he says this in the same interview:
“I think colour definitely plays a factor in perception,” said Ho-Sang.
“People watch my games and are very critical. When I start dangling, my GM calls me a Harlem Globetrotter. Why am I a Harlem Globetrotter? Analogies get related to basketball all the time with me. I don’t play basketball. I’ve never played basketball. I’m a hockey player. Why are they doing that?
“When I do anything, I’m just another black kid with attitude. I think I get misunderstood because these guys want to figure me out without talking to me and try to come up with every single reason why there’s something wrong with me.
“With all this going on, the only place I can win this argument is on the ice.”
If I simply put together a video package of Ho-Sang playing and you did not know anything about him then odds are very good that you would love his game. He wants to puck on his stick when the game is on the line, Ho-Sang doesn’t play the “let’s go boys” talk when the team is stinking up the place; Ho-Sang says “give me the puck.”
Ho-Sang was 32-53-85 which made him the leading scorer for the Windsor Spitfires, his heroes are Patrick Kane and P.K. Subban (who both anger people at times with their personality) but while his critics are always saying that Ho-Sang needs to become more of a conformist; at the same time they are singing the praises of his play.
He loves to dangle and whoever is his center is going to see their point totals rise very high. Ho-Sang has the kind of first step explosive speed that one person said to me “If speed kills, then Ho-Sang will cause massacres with his speed.” But when you aren’t a conformist then you will have more critics than supporters.
If you want a player who will be able to handle the pressure of playing in New York City then Josh Ho-Sang is your player. If you want someone who is going be a game-breaker then Ho-Sang is your player. Ho-Sang is going to create space and opportunities for his teammates because of his speed.
And because Ho-Sang shows up every game wanting to win then Islander fans will love him for that as well.
Got to give some serious credit to Garth Snow as he did somethings here to get some attention for the Islanders and maybe try to change the perception that so many have of the franchise. I for one think Snow knew exactly what to say about Ho-Sang when he dropped the S-bomb on live TV.
The Islanders are getting people talking about them this evening and odds are that the attention will continue on Saturday for the rest of the draft. That the pick that Snow traded for originally belonged to the New York Rangers is also going to help the Islanders get some publicity at the expense of the Rangers.
From a marketing standpoint whether we want to admit it will be a reason or not, Ho-Sang being a black hockey player with an Asian sounding name who is also Jewish (yes he does celebrate the holidays) coming from a Jamaican father and a Chilean mother is going to attract interest in many ways. Ho-Sang if he lives up to his own hype will be one heck of a ticket seller for the Islanders.