As coaches like to say you can always control your effort win or lose.
The New York Islanders are a losing hockey team, expect things to get even far worse in December with the competitive part of the season coming to an end in terms of any playoff expectations.
A coaching change does not alter that reality.
Is Jack Capuano responsible for the holes on defense costing them most games? No.
The collective weaknesses on the roster? No.
The injuries? No.
The lack of production from Regin, Bouchard? No, because they did not come here as consistent players who produced for Ottawa/Minnesota.
The handling of the lineup, of who dresses vs who sits? Absolutely.
The obvious drop in performance of some of his top players? (Grabner, Bailey) No doubt.
Penalty killing? No.
Faceoffs? Mixed, because some of the centers who took face offs are no longer here.
Is this overall roster working hard for this coaching staff? Yes.
Does the work reflect a direction where something is being built to sustain a winning team? No.
Of course you look at the Devils collective defenders, who is out for them, but play consistent low scoring games against top teams it's not unreasonable to ask why this defense has struggled since the season opener? The Devils lost Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and their team with a younger defense play/win many low scoring games.
That's how you survive eighty two games. (granted it collapsed a year ago for the Devils)
Jack Capuano should be feeling pressure on that small fact alone.
Most opposing coaches don't even feel the need to play their top goaltender against this roster.
Who Sent Down Matt Donovan?
That could have been the coach or general manager, but going by game reaction that seems to be on Capuano, who is always rolling out Matt Carkner for mistakes above his ability, that lead to goals against without the exact same reaction from management.
Capuano was not Donovan's coach in Bridgeport, the players that come up are no longer his past prospects.
Too bad Capuano has not seemed to notice Donovan was paired with Aaron Ness last season, and despite the 2012-13 Sound Tigers being twenty ninth in goals against, Donovan was a plus fourteen with solid offensive numbers. (Ness minus ten)
Why not just dress both together for a bunch of games when it's obvious Carkner will keep making the same mistakes? Carkner's not a physical player clearing the crease or can do much beyond a fight by appointment?
Capuano tried Donovan with Hickey often, with Carkner far too often.
Martinek now makes a bad read or two a game, it's obvious why management was so reluctant to bring him back or sign in a league desperate for defenders.
Either way it's a huge mistake sending down Donovan given the breakdowns that lead to goals behind MacDonald/Hamonic, as they constantly wear down in games with all these extra minutes.
Both are making several mistakes of their own, and looking dangerously close to getting hurt far too often.
Hamonic has concussion issues, MacDonald is always playing off blocking a shot where he's hurting.
Capuano must feel enormous pressure extending their minutes.
Donovan's demotion reflects very poorly on Jack Capuano, who's going to have many more prospects coming if he remains head coach.
So What's The Answer?
There is no real answer until Reinhart, Pulock, Donovan or the other defensive prospects in Bridgeport get at least three years of NHL experience. There was a problem here from day one defensively with Visnovsky, Strait healthy on this defense. The defenders they need now are not available in trade for any NHL franchise beyond being a rental at an enormous price.
The answer for now is who's obviously not part of the solution which begins with Martinek/Carkner mistakes. One should be the seventh defender/spot starter, nothing else.
The other should go on waivers/become the veteran in Bridgeport.
The best current alternative would be the following:
At least you put six skating defenders together with some offensive/defensively ability who will make mistakes, but gain experience as a unit.
It worked a few years ago for a few months with an excellent second half.
I'm skeptical Visnovsky can return the same player if at all off a concussion at his age. Brian Strait will help this defense when healthy.
Absolutely time for a long look after he's finally stayed healthy for over a month.