Why Coach Jack Capuano Stays

By Chris Triantafilis

Mar. 22, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders head coach

Jack Capuano

behind the bench against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

After the first nine (9) games of the season, panic had nestled comfortably in on Long Island.

The New York Islanders were off to a 3-3-3 start – good for 9 points – to put them 4th in the Metropolitan Division for October. Despite the .500 launch, and a playoff berth the season before, Isles fans were already calling for Jack Capuano’s removal from his position behind the team’s bench.

Yes, the “Fire Cappy” campaign had already gotten underway, and it’s not even November. It’s as if last season never happened for some, and Capuano’s standing as the second winningest coach in Islanders franchise history accounts for nothing.

Well, Isles fans – to those complaining: I have news for you.

That’s ridiculous!

Only 204 games since Capuano stepped in for Scott Gordon in the middle of the 2010-11 season, Captain Jack remains the right guy behind the bench for this team.

What’s the case for firing him anyway? Because he chooses to use his starting goaltender more than his backup? Because Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson, both rookies, have seen some time in the press box in favor of other NHL veterans?

Nothing uncommon for the Islanders, nor is it uncommon throughout the rest of the NHL. As a matter of fact, by the time last night’s victory against the Penguins was made official, many were calling for Donovan to sit after a couple of rookie mistakes.

Listen, Isles fans: there’s no case to be made. Jack Capuano currently has the team’s power play unit, which added another tally last night, operating at 30,3% efficiency – an NHL-best. The team’s penalty kill unit, which held off all 5 of the Penguins attempts in Pittsburgh, is working at 86.7% – tied for 4th in the NHL. Averaging 3.20 goals-per-game – 7th in the NHL – the Islanders wouldn’t even be hearing this any conversation about firing their head coach if their goalies stopped a few more pucks, which Evgeni Nabokov, who made 39 saves at the Consol Energy Center, did last night.

It’s funny and equally sad: Capuano gets none of the credit, but all of the blame.

The Isles win in “spite” of him, with none of the success a result of his decisions. After 10 games, the Islanders now sit 4-3-3 – good for 10 points, 2nd in the Metropolitan Division, and only 3 points behind the 1st place Penguins.

Let’s not fire Capuano from his head coach position. Let’s just fire up our loyalty and hit some games instead.

See you at the Coli!