An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Islanders Fire Jack Capuano

The New York Islanders fired Head Coach, Jack Capuano today. President and General Manager Garth Snow made the announcement that Jack Capuano had been relieved of his duties as Head Coach and that Assistant GM Doug Weight has been named Interim Head Coach. Andy Graziano quoted Snow as saying, “Bob Corkum will come down from his position in the press box to run the bench with Weight and current assistant coach Greg Cronin for the remainder of the regular season, as it doesn't sound like anything more will be happening from now until then.

Last year, the Isles entered the playoffs for the third time in the last 4 seasons under Capuano. They finished with more than 100 points in the 2nd consecutive campaign and won their first playoff round since 1993. This summer, Capuano was selected by John Tortorella as an Assistant Coach for Team USA at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Jack Capuano joined the Islanders organization in 05-06 as an assistant under Steve Stirling (then Brad Shaw) and became the Isles interim head Coach in 2010 replacing Scott Gordon, then full branded Coach in 2011. Capuano had served as Head Coach of the Islanders minor league affiliate, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he finished with a 133-100-8-14 record in 4 AHL seasons.

According to Eric Hornick, Jack Capuano was the 2nd winningest coach in Islander’s history. He had a record of 227-192-64 behind the Islander’s bench.  “Among the 9 New York area teams, only the Yankees' Joe Girardi has led his team longer than Capuano.”

Most games coached (Islanders):
1.      Al Arbour 1,500
2.      Jack Capuano 483
3.      Mike Milbury 191
4.      Terry Simpson 187
5.      Scott Gordon 181

Most wins by Islander coaches:
1.      Al Arbour 740
2.      Jack Capuano 227
3.      Terry Simpson 81
4.      Peter Laviolette 77
5.      Ted Nolan 74

Garth Snow spoke to the media on the move, "The New York Islanders would like to thank Jack for his tireless work throughout his seven seasons with the organization as Head Coach," Snow said. "His leadership guided the team to the playoffs in three of the past four years, which included two straight 100-point seasons. He is a great coach and an even better person. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward." Shannon Hogan mentioned Snow had consulted key members of the organization, “captains and inside staff,” on the decision and mentioned Snow wouldn’t comment on who possible candidates are or when the team would meet with them. “It’s not a dictatorship,” Snow said on how much influence Ledecky and Malkin had on the decision. I’m sure the ownership was ready for the change and let Snow know what they wanted.

Tom Gulitti mentioned, “Snow said his responsibility is, ‘100 percent ...Obviously, I'm not hiding from the fact it starts with me."  The organization has been in the hunt for a team President, and if they find one, Snow may be in jeopardy as well if that President thinks the team needs a culture change, especially based on the second half of this season. Presidents usually want their own management structure in place to be sure of a like mind set. And hiring a new coach would usually be done by the GM who the President and ownership feels will give All-Star, John Tavares the best chance to lead the team to a deep playoff run and a chance at a Stanley Cup final. After losing homegrown character guys like Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin, Capuano couldn’t seem to recapture a team identity with the additions of Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. It’s not just on the coach. While he needs to keep the team rolling, the GM has a big role in putting those building blocks in place. Snow has acknowledged team shortcomings based on the roster starts with him. “I take full responsibility."

To be fired after a well-played 4-0 win against the Bruins was a little strange, but it must have just been another affirmation to ownership that the guys already here can make things happen when they work hard and play within a system. It could have illustrated at just the right time that things still weren't working with Jack Capuano in place. Team consistency under his watch has always been a problem. Many of us thought it might happen after the 7-4 breakdown against Carolina, so although the writing was everywhere for a lot of people, it seemed to be a strange time to do it. Perhaps with a couple of days off before facing Dallas on Thursday, the organization thought it was a good time to make the transition. "It's an honor to have served this historic franchise and its passionate fans," Capuano said. "I'd like to thank Garth and our ownership group for the opportunity to be the Head Coach of the Islanders. I'd also like to recognize our coaching staff, training staff and players for all of their hard work."

The Islanders currently sit last in the Metro (17-17-8) at the half way point of the season and last in the east with 42 points, one of the worst point totals in the league. They still have games at hand and are only 7 points behind the Hurricanes for 8th in the east. Jaroslav Halak was sent to Bridgeport and now Jack Capuano was relieved of his duties. Whether it’s another move in management or on the roster, the next change will come when it comes.

Let’s continue to support the guys.

Per Elliott Friedman, “Hearing NYI have permission to talk to former Florida coach Gerard Gallant. He was an Islanders' assistant from 2007-09.” Arthur Staple is reporting the permission was granted before Capuano firing.

Isles Notes:

Thomas Greiss got his 2nd shutout as an Islander yesterday in a 4-0 win over the Boston Bruins.

Josh Bailey has 12 points (1 & 11) in his last 12 games.

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