Mad Mike still controls Island

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Contrary to popular belief, Mike Milbury hasn't been voted off the Island.

While Milbury was fired as GM of the Islanders in January, don't think for a second he's not running the show.

Milbury attended a meeting of NHL team presidents last week in New York and was telling anybody who would listen that he didn't get fired ... he received a promotion.

Though owner Charles Wang has a long list of candidates to replace Milbury, the word is Mad Mike is trying to play a role in the hiring because he wants to make sure he remains in control.

"I'm not sure anybody in their right mind would want that job with the Isles," an NHL executive said yesterday. "Mike Milbury is going to keep his hand in everything you do."

The talk is Brent Sutter -- a former Islander, who is owner, president, GM and coach of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels -- took one look at the organization and told Wang he didn't have any interest in the position.

Weisbrod at top of list?

Since Sutter has thumbed his nose, the Isles have focused on Vancouver assistant GM Steve Tambellini, former San Jose GM Dean Lombardi and former NBA executive John Weisbrod.

The guy at the top of the list is Weisbrod, currently a pro scout with the Stars. There are whispers he's been telling people that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is backing him with Wang in the bid to replace Milbury.

Apparently, Weisbrod was brought into the NHL offices during last year's lockout to explain how the NBA made a cap system work and helped the league develop ideas on how to settle its work stoppage.

But the word is Milbury isn't backing Weisbrod and would rather have a hockey man like Lombardi take over. Lombardi has the credentials, having helped build the Sharks, and many believe he could work with Milbury.

One thing is certain: Milbury might be gone as GM of the Isles, but he's making sure that nobody thinks for a second he's been forgotten.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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