Fair Or Not It's Time For A Coaching Change

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/29/2015 08:27:00 AM | | |
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.