The New York Islanders have had the same bench boss for the last six season. Some are calling on management to cut the former Bridgeport boss, but I’d like to show a little restraint.
The New York Islanders are trending in the right direction when it comes to success. They’ve had two 100 point seasons and are just off their first playoff series win in 23 years. But let’s just get rid of the coach for the sake of more, maybe.
The Score recently ranked the 30 teams in the NHL based on their coaching. The criteria used in establishing the ranked was: “success of their system, degree to which the players have bought in, and the level of trust from their executive superiors”.
Based on these criteria Jack Capuano and the New York Islanders ranked 17th. In the bottom half of the league. To some this will justify their criticism of Capuano, to others it’s just further proof that no one understands the fallacy that is Jack Capuano.
Jack Capuano is Good
It’s a simple headline I know, but that’s really the argument here. He isn’t fantastic, he isn’t at the top of his profession, but he’s certainly an NHL caliber coach. He’s a good coach and one that’s steered the ship in the right direction.
“Caps” rank of 17th, is fairly accurate. Of the 16 coaches ahead of him in the rankings Dale Tippett is probably the only one that doesn’t fit. His recent power struggle victory in Arizona may have more to do with it than his actual results. But that’s it really. The others are clearly better coaches.
But to argue that Capuano should fall further down the list like some in the Twittersphere suggests is a bit too rich.
There are a few things that need to be considered when going after Capuano. The first is his recent pedigree. Namely those two back-to-back 100 point seasons. That isn’t something that can be easily replicated.
Only five other teams have been able to post 100 points or more in the last two season: Anaheim, Chicago, the Rangers, St. Louis, and Washington.
That fact alone gets Capuano behind the bench for another year at least. Someone you may not like it, but its clear ownership feels the same way.
The Path to New Blood
The second factor to remember is if Garth or ownership send Capuano packing, they have an immediate void to fill. Who’s out there to fill it?
There isn’t a deep market of proven NHL caliber coaches out there. Getting rid of a known, for an unknown is never comfortable for a business owner. Isles ownership know, what they have in Jack Capuano.
That certainly doesn’t mean that the Isles will never get rid of Capuano, but there needs to be a certain set of events for this to happen.
The Islanders have a set goal for next season, make the conference finals. The owners have said as much, publicly: “The standard this year has to be, you won the second round and went to the third round.”
Making the playoffs is a must. Failing to do so is hurdle number one. And would, and should result in his dismissal immediately. The Islanders need to progress, missing the playoffs as they approach that proverbial “window” cannot be accepted.
The next hurdle is that third round appearance. Losing out in the first or second-round should be enough to get Capuano an honorable discharge from ownership. They had a goal, and it wasn’t met. Simple as that.
It’s just not always that simple. Fans can jeer Capuano all they want right now. But for the moment he’s a good coach and is steering the team in the right direction. But a line has been set by management. Take it as a base performance level. Anything less will not be acceptable.