Why It Might Be Time For A Change : The Right Reasons

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Nov 29, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano talks to the media before the start of a game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 29, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano talks to the media before the start of a game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Peter McEntee

A ‘Necessary’ Pink Slip

Last season, #IslesTwitter  was all over Coach Jack Capuano. They’d harass the coach brutally in 140 characters or less, even creating the “#FireCappy”. It took off like a forest fire, and by mid-February amidst the Islanders worst struggles of the season, it seriously looked like Capuano’s reign could be in trouble.

Let’s set the record straight, I was against Jack Capuano for some time as a coach. I couldn’t see where this team was going under his rule, and I did want him fired for some time. However, once he got the Islanders to really find their identity of physical, blue-collar play, I was sold on him. He helped them win games with a defensive style of play, something that was definitely new for the Islanders. However, it worked like a charm, as the Islanders went on a remarkable hot streak that propelled them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they came very close to shocking the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.

By the time last season came to a close, I was all for Jack Capuano. There was nothing anyone could say or do to get me to think negatively of him. He’d helped the Islanders find their identity, something they had lacked for six years before that.

However, here we are now in late November of the 2013-14 season, and the Islanders seem to have lost that identity Capuano discovered. The Islanders are trying to be too flashy on the ice, whether it’d be the no-look pass attempts that result in turnovers or that fancy toe-drag that just isn’t getting the job done.

The “#FireCappy” movement has since been resurrected, and it’s reached new heights. People just don’t want Capuano coaching this team anymore. He hasn’t helped the team with finding ways to win games, and his questionable moves, whether it’d be the team’s lineup for a game or a very vague post game press conference, has people clamoring for a change in coaching.

Personally, I now hold Capuano accountable for some of what has gone on, but all of the blame can’t be thrown on him. Friday’s debacle is a prime example. The Islanders just lacked effort, that was their biggest fault, and the fans just scapegoat Capuano for the team’s troubles. You certainly cannot point any fingers his way for how the team lost to Washington last night at the Coliseum or the manner in which they did.

That’s the problem here. Everyone seems to need someone to blame. Never can the bad play fall on the team itself, it’s just a portion or a person on the team that causes loss after loss.

Now, even with Capuano not being totally at fault here, it looks like his time in Long Island may be coming to an end. The team at this point has been reduced to rubble. They consistently lack effort and motivation, and that’s about all the consistency we see from this team. The team noticeably plays without confidence on the ice, and it is absolutely frustrating to watch.

This has been going on for about a month. The Islanders “No Win November” (another #IslesTwitter creation) has taken this team to the depths of the Metropolitan Division, a place in which fans and experts predicted the Islanders to finish in one of the top 3 spots.

Well, the Islanders are currently in 8th, and it doesn’t look like anything is going to change in terms of the quality of play. The Islanders posted a 4-10-1 record in November, and have lost 9 of their last 11 games.

It just doesn’t look like the play of this team will get any better. This is why Capuano’s job is in jeopardy.

The Islanders seemingly don’t respond to Capuano. We don’t see what happens behind closed doors, but unlike other coaches, Capuano always remains timid with the media during post game press conferences. He doesn’t call any struggling players out. He doesn’t seem to motivate his players the way other coaches do. He isn’t that fearless leader that the players would run through walls for. It’s just not Capuano’s style to be that vocal with his team.

That could very well be Capuano’s downfall. His lack of voice has the Islanders lost. The team is visibly frustrated and confused.

The Islanders as a team worked well under Capuano’s system last season. If they’re going to try their own thing, which they’ve been doing this entire month of November,  Capuano should be whipping the team into shape. He hasn’t done that in my opinion.

Capuano has a good system, and I can’t stress that enough. Unfortunately, Capuano certainly can be more vocal and visible and his quietness, along with the general malaise that the players have seemed to settle into, might cost him his job.

-PM (@pjmcentee)

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Topics: Jack Capuano, New York Islanders, Nhl Puck Drop

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  • Dom

    Joe, you are kidding us, right? Tavares has blossomed “under” Capuano??? Tavares is pure NHL talent, Capuano hasn’t been responsible for any “blossoming” of players…just November LOSING STREAKS! The guy is clueless, way in over his head at the NHL level. Yes, the shortened season gave us a false hope of things to come this year and clearly exposed Jack’s lack of ability to “Coach” and “teach” players how to be successful. I wish you and the crew would STOP spewing this bullcrap about it not being “so and so’s” fault. Bottom line in ANY PRO SPORT….the Coach is held accountable. Jack needs to be FIRED IMMEDIATELY.

    • Joe Powers

      Thanks for reading, Dom, and for taking the time to reply. I would point out that I never claimed Capuano was responsible for JT’s blossoming, only that it happened on his watch. If you read to the bottom you’ll realize I did state I feel it’s time for Capuano to move on. I will say, however, that while it’s often the coach who takes the fall, regardless of blame – and in this case, rightfully so – it isn’t necessarily the fault of the coach in all cases where he’s held accountable. It’s easier to fire a coach than unload twenty skaters, so of course that’s a usual first step. Will it make a difference in the case of our Isles? Time will tell. I suspect we will have an opportunity to find out sooner rather than later. Thanks again for reading! – JP

      • Dom

        Joe, if the team is NOT going to make a coaching change then it just really doesn’t matter if Capuano is retained. Guys like McDonald, Regin and Bouchard are cashing checks this season and is the reason they will continue to see ice time even though they should be in the pressbox in favor of a couple of young, hungry kids in the minors (see; Strome & Lee ) I’d love to see a new coach come in, one who is not overwhelmed by being an NHL coach in a crisis with his team, and let him sit the duds for the studs(from the farm). Let him ‘teach and develop” these young players the remainder of this season so they are penciled in the lineup next October. The Head Coach needs to answer when the team can’t produce….Cappy needs to be cut loose to change the toxic environment and culture surrounding this team.

    • Andy Graziano

      Dom – you are a loyal reader and we truly appreciate the time you take out of your day to read and interact with us. But you have to calm down man. It’s just not worth getting all worked up over.

      You saw that one sentence, keyed on it and blasted Joe without even giving any of the remaining piece any credit.

      Does a coaching change make things better when the players simply are not getting the job done on the ice? Maybe…..maybe not. But in the more than 50% chance it DOESNT, who are you going to yell at then?

      We do our job professionally and with integrity, reporting what we see on the ice. We have been fans of Jack and backed him but now see the need for the organization to move on and bring in some new blood. Every coach has a shelf life and Cappy’s has expired I am afraid. The players are simply not responding to his message and have tuned him out.

      • Dom

        Agreed Andy…Capuano needs to move on. Another deflating, disgusting loss last night to the Pens blowing a 2 goal lead once again should be enough for Garth to make the move,

  • Colin Smith

    I personally dont think a gm change should be out of the question either. Maybe Wang and Neil Smith kiss and make up?

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