New York Islanders fans want a new bench boss. The one they have has been there for six years now and isn’t getting results, with the team sitting last in the Eastern Conference.
Let that sink in for a second, the New York Islanders, after 16 games are last in the Eastern Conference. Name any of the other 15 Easter Conference teams and they have more points than the Islanders.
Columbus, 18 points. Carolina and Buffalo, both at 14 points. The Islanders and their 13 points have hit rock bottom in the East.
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Naturally, and understandably, fans have directed their frustration to the coaching staff. (And the management). This team shouldn’t be this bad, yet here we are with the laundry list of issues, all conspiring together, and there doesn’t seem to be a way out.
Even if fans got their way and Jack Capuano was replaced, sent packing. Who comes in? The Isles could easily replace Capuano with another AHL caliber coach. Some unheralded choice to sit behind the bench, but is that really an upgrade?
The Islanders have their AHL caliber coach already behind the bench. For a while, it seemed that Capuano belonged after securing two 100 point season. He had earned the benefit of the doubt. I know I was defending him at the start of the season.
The Timing Isn’t Right
Now here we are in November, and the prospect of changing the coach is just as appetizing to me. Not because I think Capuano is somehow doing a good job, but simply because the options aren’t great.
Knowing what we know now, May was the time to act. In May the National Post put together a list of NHL coaches out of work and coaches who they felt could take the step up. Just look at a few names on the list of experienced NHL coaches without a job:
We know that Jack Capuano isn’t sitting on Mike Babcock type money. He’s probably even a little underpaid compared to some of his colleagues. But just look at that list, and the name of Bruce Boudreau jumps out.
This is a coach that just can’t seem to miss out on the playoffs. After getting fired from Anaheim Boudreau wasn’t on the market long, but it didn’t stop a number of markets from putting their hats in the ring. The Isles never joined the race.
Considering what the Wild were able to get Boudreau under contract for – $10.5 million for four years – it’s ridiculous to think the Isles couldn’t match the offer.
Now all of those aforementioned coaches were snatched up by other NHL teams. Except for Bob Hartley. But can we all agree that Hartley isn’t going to be an upgrade on Capuano?
The timing isn’t right to make a change. There isn’t a clear perfect candidate out there. There are a bunch of ex-coaches sitting around hoping for their phone to ring, link Hartley, but none seem like clear upgrades on Jack Capuano. Maybe if Boston slides the Isles might get a shot at Julien. But with the B’s going 7-3-0 recently, don’t count on it happening soon.