I have been following this story on the internet for the last couple of day and I am wondering if the wheels aren't coming off in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is an ugly incident that just isn’t going to go away any time soon. Kyle Okposo the Islander’s number one draft picks leaves college to sign a professional contract with the Islanders. Don Lucia takes issues with Kyle signing a professional contract in the middle of his sophomore season and calls the New York Islanders out. Garth Snow not to be out done, shoots back with accusations about the Gophers not being good for Kyle’s development.
There seems to be a developing on going story line in Minnesota. It’s like an on going soap opera that just keeps getting more interesting. (1st) the Gophers lose the Regional game against Holy Cross during the 2005-2006 season. (2nd) Then during the off season the Gophers lose Phil Kessel after playing just one season to the Boston Bruins who drafted him 5th over all in the first round, (3rd) this past summer the Gophers three more underclassmen, two players to the NHL/AHL (Alex Goligoski and Eric Johnson) and also one player to Major Juniors (Jim O’brien). Now the Gophers lose a player only after 1 ½ years. One has to ask what the heck in going on at Minnesota?
What a horrible way to end the first half of the season, and Minus Okposo, I just don’t see it getting any better for the Gophers in the second half, even with the return of Mike Jersey Pop Carmin.
Here is what Garth Snow had to say about Kyle Okposo's development at the University of Minnesota and more specifically about Coach Don Lucia. It isn't very flattering. This is a train wreck folks.
New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow on Thursday criticized Don Lucia's coaching, saying that was the reason sophomore Kyle Okposo is leaving the Gophers hockey program and negotiating a contract with the Islanders.
"Quite frankly, we weren't happy with the program there," Snow said in a telephone interview. "They have a responsibility to coach, to make Kyle a better player, and they were not doing that."
Asked for specifics, Snow said, "[Okposo] just wasn't getting better -- bottom line. And to me, that's the frustrating part. We entrusted the coach there to turn him into a better hockey player, and it wasn't happening. We feel more comfortable in him developing right under our watch."
Here is what Lucia had to say.
Notified of Snow's comments Thursday, Lucia e-mailed the Star Tribune via the University's sports information department.
"I am proud of all the success of our program," the coach's statement read. "I believe our staff does an excellent job of developing our players on and off the ice.
"We have had numerous players sign and play in the NHL, but just as important many more move on to have successful careers after graduating from the University of Minnesota. We have always and will continue to work to ensure our players reach their potential on the ice and in the classroom."
Links to the Story
Lucia and Snow Star and Tribune article.
Prospect Okposo ready to join Islanders from TSN.
Grand Forks Herald beat writer check in with this blog
Okposo Opts Out, Signs With Isles