The New York Islanders’ 2015-16 so far has seen mixed success. There were high hopes going into the season with many young players ready to take the next step. Although the team currently sits in a wild card position, they are on pace to get just over 97 points, which was not enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference last year.
We have seen the team do a few unexpected things as of late- bench Josh Bailey, demote Ryan Strome, and carry three goalies on their roster. Many fans are wondering if coach Jack Capuano is getting desperate. Could he be on the hot seat?
Capuano has had job instability ever since he came in during the 2010-11 season. He took the team from being a bottom-feeder to a playoff regular. Most people, however, contribute the team’s rise since then to the rising young stars on the team such as John Tavares, Bailey, Kyle Okposo, and Travis Harmonic. The inevitable improvement of the Islanders during since then meant that Capuano had to always keep improving the club’s record. With the exception of 2013-14 (which can be attributed to the Tavares injury and the Thomas Vanek mess), Capuano’s Islanders have improved their record each year. This season is in jeopardy of breaking that trend and there are no excuses. It is a lot to ask of a coach to improve the record every year, but the Islanders are young and on the rise, so they need to follow the trend.
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If the Islanders do want to fire Capuano, there are some interesting options for a replacement. Veteran coaches Randy Carlyle, Craig Berube, and recently-fired Todd Richards are capable. Bringing back Ted Nolan or Scott Gordon could also be very interesting. However, the most likely scenario would be for them to hire a current assistant coach as an interim. Doug Weight and Greg Cronin could be capable candidates.
Anyways, let us hope that Capuano can spark this team and gain a stronger playoff position so we do not have to deal with this off-ice drama.
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