Wednesday's news that Islanders coach Steve Stirling would be fired was met with yawns from the faithful. One more failure from a guy who was set up to fail.
Thursday's announcement that GM Mike Milbury will step aside as soon as a replacement can be found was greeted in an entirely different fashion.
Finally!, they shouted. What took you so long?
What Islanders fans know, and have known for years, is that this team was doomed to perpetual also-ran status as long as Milbury was at the helm.
This is, after all, the man who was so driven to tinker with his lineup that he traded away what could have been one of the best teams in hockey. The players who became ex-Isles under his 10-year watch are some of the game's finest: Roberto Luongo in net; Wade Redden, Bryan McCabe, Zdeno Chara, Eric Brewer and Darius Kasparaitis on defense; and Todd Bertuzzi, Ziggy Palffy, Mike Peca and Raffi Torres up front, among many others.
Meanwhile, the teams he compiled from his sketchy drafts and questionable trade returns managed to win exactly zero playoff rounds during his tenure.
Worse than that, they were identity-less teams that failed to capture the hearts of fans spoiled by the past successes of the Bill Torrey-era Islanders. Four Cups will do that.
Brad Shaw, named as Stirling's replacement on an interim basis, served as an assistant with the team this season. He was head coach with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the AHL for the past three seasons. While there, and over the course of a 377-game NHL playing career, Shaw earned a reputation as a well-prepared, solid team guy. He's a fine choice.
This is a great opportunity for Shaw to enjoy some on-the-job training for his next head coaching position which, hopefully, will come soon. That's because he's unlikely to stick around on the Island long enough to remove that interim from his title.
That's through no fault of his own. The Milbury move clears the way for the Isles to attract hockey's hottest job candidate, Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels.
Fresh off guiding the Canadian team to the World Junior Championships, one of the most impressive coaching turns in recent memory, Sutter is firmly established as the man every team with a vacancy (or potential vacancy) would love to have.
However, he's stated he's in no hurry to land an NHL position. His situation in Red Deer is ideal. It's entirely his show. He owns the team, and serves as both GM and coach. Two of the Rebels are his son and nephew, and he's a part of their lives on a daily basis. For him to leave, the new position would have to be equally ideal.
As a former Islander, with two Cup wins to his credit, it's possible that this position would qualify. Especially now that Milbury is out of the way ... and especially if it includes GM duties as well as the coaching responsibilities.
That's a brutal workload for one man, but as his brother Darryl has proven in Calgary, it's not too much to ask of a Sutter.