Nov 29, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders head coachJack 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
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.