Since Barry Trotz has taken over, the New York Islanders have taken their game to the next level. There’s no doubt that good coaching can make all the difference in the world and that at times teams can be held back by coaching.
Since Al Arbour left, the Islanders have gone through coaches like they were going out of style. Between 1995-2011 they had 10 coaches. That’s an average of a new coach every 1.6 years. An absolute insane turnover (thanks Mike Milbury).
That is until Jack Capuano came in the building. From 2011 through 2017, over seven seasons, Jack Capuano held down the Islanders coaching job.
Before we get to how he did as Islanders coach, let’s talk about why we’re bringing him up today. According to Joe McDonald, the Buffalo Sabres wanted to interview Jack Capuano for their vacant head coaching gig but the Senators blocked the opportunity.
Since leaving the Islanders in 2017, he spent two years as an Associate Coach for the Florida Panthers and then the past two years he’s been an assistant for the Ottawa Senators.
What gives DJ Smith? Blocking an assistant from interviewing from a head coaching gig is such a lame move. I hate that it’s a thing and am glad that leagues like the NFL prevent teams from blocking coaches from interviewing for a higher position.
During his time as a head coach in the league, Capuano went 227-192-64 for a .536 points percentage. He made the playoffs three times and had two 100 point seasons under his belt.
Capuano was a young and up and comer when Garth Snow gave him the chance in 2011. I don’t want to dunk on someone who has been gone for almost five years now, but he as well as Garth, probably got too long of a leash.
Cappy’s probably a very nice guy, and there’s no doubt that he’s paid his dues, I just don’t think he’s going to ever be anything more than a mediocre coach. He’s not someone who will elevate your team above their talent level (see Barry Trotz the last three years).
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Still, with all of that being said (it is just an opinion of one guy by the way) it’s not right that he wasn’t given the opportunity to interview. We could use more “battle level” and “puck luck” back in postgame press conferences in the NHL again.