Bad: Playing Brian Strait like 20 minutes
Brian Strait will be forever remembered as Jack Capuano’s favourite player. That may not be official, but while he was the head coach Capuano sure played Brian Strait a heck of a lot.
Plucked off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012, the defenseman was quickly given big minutes with the Islanders. And by big minutes I mean almost top pair minutes.
In 12 games over two seasons with the Penguin, Strait averaged about 13 to 13.5 minutes a game across all situations. But Capuano saw something in Strait. In his first season with the Isles Strait played 19 games and averaged 17 minutes of ice time.
Fifteen of those came on 5on5, a minute and a half on the penalty kill, and he even averaged a little bit of power play time.
It’s not like Strait was dazzling anyone with his production. In that first season with the New York Islanders, he put up four points. Across his entire NHL career, spanning 187 games he put up 29 points. Again. He wasn’t dazzling anyone with his production.
But Capuano kept tossing him out there. In 2013-14, his second season on the Island, Strait’s ice time actually went up as he became one the teams primary penalty killers. Maybe that’s why the Isles PK ranked 29th that year.
It’s still inexplicable to this day as to what Jack Capuano saw in Brian Strait. But the facts are there, he sure loved him. To a fault.