Earlier this offseason, the New York Islanders announced that embattled head coach Jack Capuano would be returning for yet another season as the head coach of the Islanders. This moves comes to many fans and critics of the team as a very questionable move by Islander GM Garth Snow. Capuano hasn’t exactly done much to warrant a vote of confidence from the Islander fan base and one could argue that this move is indicative of an apparent lack of accountability in the organization. But what this move does do is show that Garth Snow admits that he failed this team last season by adhering to the status quo as far as roster improvement and feels that he can piece together a post season worthy team next season with Capuano at the helm.
The move to retain Jack Capuano is one that addresses an organizational cry for consistency as this will be Capuano’s 5th season as the head coach of the Islanders. Only 2 of those seasons on long island have been full 82 game campaigns however, and in those full seasons the Islanders have finished with identical 34-37 records and have only accumulated 79 points. It is also very surprising that despite all the apparent lack of top talent and awful goaltending, his coaching record remains just 2 games shy of the .500 mark at 118-120 in 277 games coached. That doesn’t exactly scream a Jack Adams award candidate, but it also isn’t obnoxiously awful either given what has transpired on long island the past few seasons.
Consistency and stability are two words that haven’t really associated with the Islanders for almost a decade now. And keeping Capuano around, albeit on a very short leash one would presume. Another move that shows signs that there is indeed an organizational philosophy in place, is the moving of assistant coach Brent Thompson down to the AHL to be the head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. This actually a very smart move by the Islanders as there will be a plethora of young defencemen coming to the Sound Tigers next season and Thompson will be able to help these young players learn the system that is in place and they ideally will be ready to step in and contribute at the pro level when called upon.
So like it or hate it Islander fans, Capuano will be the head coach for now and maybe the near future, unless the team struggles early next season. It remains to be seen what kind of talent Capuano will have provided to him by GM Garth Snow but with the glaring needs that are well documented, one would have to think that Jack Capuano will have the most talent he’s ever had as the Islanders coach. So its a do or die season for Capuano and even Garth Snow. This offseason will prove to be the most interesting one the Islanders have had in years, let’s all enjoy how it unfolds.