Ken Hitchcock has been relieved of his duties in St Louis, but the New York Islanders are going to pass on the future Hall of Fame coach.
You know it. I know it. Everyone wearing Blue and Orange outside of Edmonton knows it. The New York Islanders won’t make a play for Ken Hitchcock. Because they have a good thing going.
This is, of course, assuming that Ken still wants to coach. It’s entirely possible that at 65 years-old the veteran coach with 21 years of NHL experience might be ready to sit it out and enjoy retirement.
Back in May of 2016 ESPN’s Craig Custance reported that Hitchcock would make his 20th season in the league his last. Although even that came with a wishy-washy statement: “I’m not coaching after this year,” Hitchcock said, leaving the door open for other options besides coaching. “I don’t know if I’m going to retire.”
New York Islanders
So, let’s say for arguments sake that Hitch doesn’t want to retire, and in fact wants to continue coaching. I’m not the only one here that thinks he still might have the desire to get back behind the bench again.
Why Not the Isles?
When the Islanders fired Jack Capuano and handed the bench over to Doug Weight, their intention was to give Weight an audition. See what he’s got as an NHL coach when he’s got full control.
At that point half the season had been played and the Isles were seemingly firmly planted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The worst Weight could do was keep the Islanders in same spot his predecessor had left them in.
But just six games into his tenure and he has the Islanders within three points of a wild-card spot and holding a 5-0-1 record. Doug Weight is
In that 5-0-1 run the Islanders have been the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Washington Capitals. Three of the top five teams in the league by a margin of 10-5. Doug Weight is acing his interview at the moment.
That alone is going to buy him some time and likely keep the Islanders from approaching anyone else.
And that’s assuming that Ken, if offered, would want to coach the Islanders. Let’s not forget that the Islanders aren’t exactly the pinnacle of stability right now.
Not the Pinnacle of Stability
With that lingering arena drama between both the Barclays and the Islanders. Coaches and players might say it doesn’t affect then, but you have to think that anyone considering employment has to think of where their employer is going to be in during the period of their employment.
The Islanders have a good thing going with a guy that firmly entrenched in everything the organization is doing from the top down. Don’t forget that Doug Weight, while Interim Head Coach still holds the title of Assistant General Manager.
The Islanders have a good thing going. Word might come out that they’ve asked St. Louis to speak with Hitchcock, but that’s all part of the Islanders due diligence. But expect Doug Weight to be given the full season behind the bench.