Fair Or Not It's Time For A Coaching Change

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/29/2015 08:27:00 AM | ||Comments
No, I do not expect Jack Capuano to be fired off a 101 point season.

For now the exit interviews will continue.

All the owners will sit down, and the management will be discussed, which includes team President, Alternate Governor, and general manager, Garth Snow.

I have no doubt the players love this coach/management by their quoted words, and it was a big factor in Boychuk not testing free agency, plus Leddy/many others signing long-term.

Let's be clear the 2014-15 New York Islanders were one of the hardest working teams in this league which says a great deal about this coach, most games they outhit/outshot the competition by huge margins.

The Problems: 
Going back to 2013-14/where this team lost fourteen games with a two goal lead entering the third period or prior years this team simply has a culture where they are fragile with a lead or in closing out games.

I never forgot that game in Colorado, a 3-0 lead and an Avalanche player furious on the ice ready to fight his own team,  the game turned instantly and the Islanders had no response.

They expect a push from the opposition to the point they are waiting to give up a goal after scoring one, and it always happens, or it takes a great save, even in wins/shutouts the other team can sense the lack of killer instinct, and makes a push.

The ice tilts. 

Simply put this team played 82 games, and I cannot recall one easy/low maintenance win, meaning the kind of game they get a lead & the other team is never in/allowed to make a push.

At best they had a few low maintenance wins in December like when they won in Ottawa despite the close score.

You are supposed to have some easy wins over eighty two games, same as the bad losses. 

They changed the starting goaltender, the two top defenders, brought in cup winning experience, they have developed depth at the forward spots, and on defense, have solid 4th line/checking forwards.

So why has this not improved, and at times even regressed?  That is entirely on the head coach.

All the talent on this roster, and another year of flat out horrible special teams? A penalty kill that was 29th or 30th until the stretch run? A powerplay completely lost down the stretch that regressed to the point it could not set up a quality chance?  

That cannot be fluffed off, ignored, and something the coaching staff must be completely accountable for.

And for all the credit I gave the red-hot opposition who came in on long winning streaks, combined with a schedule that clearly burned out this team they could not win games with rest and home ice in March, same as in past years.

This team did not win two games in a row after Feb 27th, and we all know what happened in game two, it's inexcusable to lose that playoff game with 2-0, 3-1 leads against a fragile AHL goalie. 

Going into game seven the top offensive players on this team spoke of their inexperience, then went out and played their worst offensive game of the year (and arguably their NHL careers) against a Washington team that in my view was fragile & waiting to lose.

The New York Islanders played terrified and tentative in game seven with  a lot of experienced veterans here.

This was what they build up all year for? That was the eighty two game lessons learned after years of this coach, their biggest game effort?   

And despite Anders Lee's struggles he sat with his production for Colin McDonald?

NHL.com 4/29/15: Islanders' Lee looking ahead, not back at ending
 "We're on the same page," Lee said of Capuano. "Things are fine between us. I look forward to working with him and the guys next year, and I know they feel the same way. Things are good."

I completely understand it's early in Capuano's playoff tenure, that other established coaches have had many horrible playoff stretches/failures after excellent seasons. IE: Ken Hitchcock.

I also understand how this team seems to have no confidence in itself in big moments to where they are waiting to lose.

That has not changed, despite the wins, despite the new players.

What's expected is a team fighting with all they had like Calgary and Ottawa, if you win or lose with that effort, the coaching is acceptable.

Both those teams left everything on the ice, pushed the opposition to the max, one advanced/the other was eliminated.

Brent Thompson went to Bridgeport, Greg Cronin returned, things did not improve, and even regressed on special teams.

It's impossible to hide from the fact if the players/goaltending changes and the problem is still there the coachng staff has to be held accountable, especially after a new assistant was brought in.

Very regrettable, hate writing it, however it's time for a change.

For the record, I have always liked Jack Capuano, good hockey man, the players quoted words over the years speak to the respect for him, even those who left went out of their way to praise having him as their coach.

He's been here since 2005 with more term than the gm, and was his assistant coach in 2005-06.

Earning a playoff spot in this conference is as hard as winning a Stanley Cup now, they need someone to help them take the next step if they can return to the playoffs at all. 

New York Eliminated In Game Seven With Only Eleven Shots

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/27/2015 11:10:00 PM | Comments
The New York Islanders did their best, had some great moments in 2014-15, but it simply was not enough.

This team did not win two games in a row one single time after February 27th. 

The better team won and deserved to advance, credit to Washington, but my honest thoughts are they were all set to lose this game themselves.  

The Islanders season long weakness, blowing leads or giving up goals after scoring decided this series in game two.

You cannot lose to a barely used backup with leads of 2-0 & 3-1.  
This is the goal I will remember this summer, it decided this playoff and too many goals allowed all season. 

That's the game you must win, and why ultimately they were eliminated.

You take eleven shots in game seven you do not win.

For good measure of course they got the game tied on a flub by Holtby, and gave it back, worst of all it was Frans Nielsen who got beat clean.

That was the theme in games they won almost the entire season, never an easy game.

Can you say the blown points that determined home ice decided things? Maybe, but the Isles were a poor home team in big games as March showed us constantly. 

Washington targeted the smaller Islander defenders, young & old, the refs allowed some horrible calls, and cheap shots, that's part of many series, it cannot be used as an excuse. 

Did not expect Donovan or Mayfield, who looked good at the end of 2013-14. Reinhart looked as slow/shaky as he did at Msg in October.

Losing Hamonic was huge but this organization should have been able to overcome that at this point.

Of course you add Visnovsky/deHaan to the injured list, and sure a ton is being asked.

But that's what your team is in business for, it's an opportunity.

And again they did not win two games in a row after February 27th with Hamonic.

Yes, I wrote often this team ran out of gas with that schedule, it was a huge factor. 

Capuano/staff did a horrible job with the powerplay long before the playoffs, and it cost them huge, we'll see what upper management thinks about that moving forward. 

Bailey did his part in all three zones. 

Kulemin had the big goal in game six, but that line was not dominating, and the season long trend of Kulemin not mixing well with Tavares beyond cameos vs taking Anders Lee off that line was also a huge factor.

Lee had so many huge game-changing goals, he did struggle badly down the stretch. The trade off for Colin McDonald playing right wing was not worth it. Lee fought Wilson.

Nelson after his benching got time with Tavares and Kulemin went on a line with Grabovski.

Strome helped, but the late season shift to 1st line right wing was more a response to Okposo's struggles, and he moved around.

Boychuk, Leddy, Hickey gave all they had, so did Brian Strait for all the abuse he receives.

Halak gave all he had, he needed to stop the game four overtime goal from long distance, it was hardly a rocket of a shot, even if Tavares broke his stick, but overall he was outstanding and deserved to win. 

What does all this mean for 2015-16? Absolutely nothing. 

2014-15 was a great year to be proud of the New York Islanders, now it's over.

New York team since 1972 moves to New York for 2015-16. 

New York/Bridgeport Contract Status 2015-16

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/21/2015 08:46:00 AM | |Comments
Ct Post 4/21/15.....
Ct Post/Michael Fornabaio always does a solid job with this, and it's posted here (prospect site) for reference.

The last time I read something along Matt Donovan's status was with Jesse Joensuu, who returned to the Islanders from Europe after an earlier qualifying offer retained his NHL rights in what was only a 48 game season. Joensuu failed to play the required games in 2013 & became an UFA, signing with Edmonton.

Donovan turns twenty five on May 9th. Joensuu (now 27) was the same age as Donovan during the Islanders 2013 playoffs vs Pittsburgh when he was a healthy scratch with only a few games remaining to be played to retain his rights.  A recent update here listed the prospects who need to be signed by 5/31/15 or upon their graduation this summer.

Here are my thoughts on the status of Brent Thompson, who did lead the Sound Tigers to a first place finish in his previous stint coaching the Sound Tigers regarding 2014-15.

Note-On Monday 4/20/15, the Ct Post did their season ending review, Thompson, and many of the players were quoted here..

Obviously the Islanders need a new ECHL affiliate for 2015-16 with the Calgary Flames buying the  Stockton Thunder, and being moved to the AHL. That section has been removed with their season over.

These affiliations usually are announced or renewed in July, I would not read much for 2015-16 into Kevin Czuczman, and some other prospects sent to an ECHL team in Florida beyond getting them some playoff games.

The New York Islanders/Charles Wang are required to supply an AHL team (or better) per his agreement to operate Webster Bank Arena for a team with a lease through 2021.

Bruce Ratner has promised per his agreement with Nassau County, an AHL team to play at a renovated Nassau Coliseum. 

Only Jon Ledecky, Scott Malkin, know where they fall into any of this when/if they become majority owners. Bridgeport President, Howard Saffan, works for Charles Wang. 

2014-15 New York Playoffs: The Final Words....

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2015 09:51:00 AM | Comments

The prospect website will be updated weekly, including possible signings or changes to management.

Nothing will be written regarding the Barclay's Center, Nassau Coliseum, ownership, renovations, Bruce Ratner vs Ed Blumenfeld or Nassau County/Town of Hempstead.

Enjoy the playoffs, Let's go Islanders !!

New York 2014-15 Playoffs: Anything Can Happen....However A Reality Check

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2015 05:46:00 AM | Comments
Anything can happen, it often does, and as fans of this team we want the New York Islanders to win any way possible in the 2014-15 playoffs.

101 points is a wonderful season, and should be celebrated/remembered because there are a lot of very good things that happened.

Of course the leagues worst schedule combined with injuries finally wore them down, that's been a part of this, and anyone who tells you otherwise must feel the NBCSN schedule was fair/balanced to showcase NBC/NBCSN/COMCAST/SMG owner Ed Snider's laughingstock Philadelphia Flyers, and the Buffalo Sabres.

A seven game road trip in January, one two day break for weeks in February, plus a 4/6 to open March with a nice trip to Toronto the night before playing the rested Rangers who again got a team playing/traveling the night before never came close to evening out.

Not sour grapes, simply what happened. The NHL did not give our team a three day vacation before going to the West coast on three separate occasions. 

But it's time for a reality check about what's coming up, writing what you wish to read does not make it happen.

By now after an 82 game body of work you know whether a team is playing the kind of complete overall hockey game where they can win the Stanley Cup.

The answer is a resounding no to that question for the 2014-15 New York Islanders. 

It would be very easy to credit Columbus on an 11-0-1 streak, again coming back down two goals to win a shootout against the Islanders. (with over fifty shots)

Just as it was to credit so many red-hot teams the Islanders faced in March:
Chicago: 7-0 win streak when they met.
Rangers: Schedule/rest assisted record vs tons of tired teams since early December.
Kings: Who left all they had on table going 3-0 in NY area.
Ducks: Top team in the western conference.
Senators: With Andrew Hammond's 20-1-2 run for the ages the best NHL story in years.
Montreal: With their season.
Detroit: Beat Tampa 4-0 before they came here.

The Islanders played all those teams in March at home (not Chicago) and lost by a single goal to every single one of them besides Detroit. (Habs had ENG)

Those regulation losses said a great deal about this team. 

And for the so-called teams with nothing to play for?
New Jersey was on an 11-2-2 run when the Islanders won in Newark.
Buffalo was two minutes from beating Chicago and coming here on a 3-0 run.
Philadelphia: Eleven consecutive wins vs playoff teams entering game vs Islanders.

It's not supposed to be easy, regardless of how another team was playing, but they hardly caught one team at the right time.

Something always happened when the game was on the line, this is where you learn if your team is good enough or not.

The flaws on this team defensively/losing leads, giving up goals in critical moments or simply not able to lock down the opposition with a lead have been there all season.

They would score a big goal, and give it right back.

These similar flaws cost them fourteen games last year up by two goals entering the third period, with a different starting goaltender/top pairing defenders in 2013-14 which fair or not does put the coaching staff on the hot seat.

Let's also be clear we have now seen signs why Jaroslav Halak is not the goaltender other teams wanted long term as their answer in these critical moments. 

Despite the recent improvements killing penalties, the special team issues are what they have been which are flawed at best. 

The injuries, and patching together lineups are also not going away, we have seen Kulemin on the first line all season simply not do enough to hold the spot, which speaks to his career trends. We hope for Okposo to find his game of which there were some signs against Columbus, and for the best the young players have to give at this point in their careers.

Anything can happen, but to be honest we know this team has flaws a true championship level team does not have.

Everyone is hoping for the best, we now see what happens whether it ends in four games or with Tavares in lower Manhattan this June in a Canyon of Hero's New York Islander parade with the Stanley Cup. 

Beyond this I have nothing left to write here until we know.

New York's Final Full Regular Season Home Game At Nassau Coliseum

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/10/2015 11:44:00 PM | Comments
What can I write that has not been written since NYIFC began in 2007 or when the mailing list started in 1999?

Folks know where I stand on the team moving in the archives, no point repeating it.

I saw the greatest team in the history of professional sports win at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum like no other, with a character no team has come close to demonstrating before or after.

New York Makes 2014-15 Stanley Cup Playoffs

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/09/2015 10:57:00 PM | Comments
Little else to add tonight, eighteen games over five hundred, ninety eight points, think of where things were a year ago with another 34-37-11?

Well deserved in a league where many players/management now say it's tougher to qualify then win the Stanley Cup.

Kings players have said it often.

New York Signs D Kyle Burroughs

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/08/2015 04:20:00 PM | Comments

Step One Make Playoffs: Final Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/03/2015 09:21:00 AM |
The theme continues, step one is for the 2014-15 New York Islanders to qualify for the playoffs.

We all know the numbers by now. New York will win enough games to qualify and make a push for the highest seed possible, or not.

We just have to see how things play out. 

New York Signs G Stephon Williams to ELC

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/02/2015 12:50:00 PM | Comments

NYIFC Comments:
This is a two year ELC because of Williams age per CBA.

Mike Motte also just joined Bridgeport, but is not an Islanders draft pick or signed beyond his Bridgeport ATO.

Kent Simpson who was part of the Nick Leddy trade, has mostly played in the ECHL. 

Mikko Koskinen remains part of the organization with his NHL rights qualified as he plays in the KHL, but rarely do players in these circumstances return IE: Jeremy Colliton, Jesse Joensuu.

Kevin Poulin's had a very strong season on a very weak Bridgeport team, he will need to be resigned.

Draft picks Linus Soderstron, Ilya Sorokin are signed long-term in Europe/KHL.

As always the prospect website here is updated.