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Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem

Dec 11, 2013, 10:24 AM EDT

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders leaves the ice following a 5-0 defeat against the Detroit Red Wings at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 29, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. Getty Images

The New York Islanders managed to eke out a 3-2 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks last night, but that was their first victory in nearly a month. They are nine points back in the playoff race after being viewed as a contender going into the 2013-14 campaign.

It’s the sort of situation that often leads to a coaching change, but that might not be the outcome this time. For all the Islanders’ issues, GM Garth Snow doesn’t feel that Capuano is the problem, according to a New York Post source.

The reported belief within the Islanders is that the team’s fall from grace has more to do with unfortunate injuries. They have been trying to get by without defensemen Brian Strait and Lubomir Visnovsky as well as number one goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Snow is also apparently pleased with the Islanders’ effort level and takes that as a sign that Capuano hasn’t lost control of the team.

That meshes well with Nabokov’s statement last week that the Islanders have maintained a strong work ethic, but are dealing with confidence issues. He predicted that a hard fought win could turn this team around and perhaps last night’s effort will spark such a resurgence.

At the same time, there have also been reports suggesting that Peter Laviolette might end up being Capuano’s successor.

The Islanders have a day off before playing in Phoenix on Thursday.

  1. shaundre93 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    It seems unfair to blame the coach when you’re playing with an AHL d corps and have a geriatric between the pipes. If they could land miller and a solid shutdown d-man and get healthy, they could be a contender, especially if strome and nelson are legit. They definitely have the O. That’s a lot of ifs though, and it could be too little too late

    • thesportsjudge - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Could Snow convince ownership to be “buyers” this early in the season(as in plenty of time for trades) yet already 9 points out of playoff contention in a pretty clear weaker(compared to the West) Eastern Conference?

      • shaundre93 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        probably not now, but had they used the picks they used for vanek plus a solid prospect (don’t know they have beyond strome, reinhart, nelson) they could have gotten Hiller or maybe miller. Obviously Vanek is talent wise much better, but moulson and JT had some Heisenberg quality chemistry between them. Its almost impossible to replace that. It was a lateral move that cost them some good picks. They could have found a defensemen to buy low on the way st Louis did jay bo, maybe Myers? Idk who would fall into that category right now, obviously easier said than done. If regular fans like me and every one else on PHT recognize the glaring need for a goalie and top defender, youd hope to god that an NHL GM could recognize and do something about it. A good GM would have by now. Their forward corps is good enough to be a contender, time to take care of the rest of the team

  2. feedmetherock - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    So basically Garth is admitting that he is the problem. Didn’t address the defense in the offseason. Didn’t address the goaltending situation, instead opting for Vanek. Yes he has built a solid prospect pool, but he never built a bridge to them. Also, signing Regin and PMB, and consistently sitting Brock Nelson in the press box is inexcusable.

  3. tjvalley - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Feed me…you obviously don’t see that our current situation has nothing to do with Garth Snows decision making. He does what best for the team. We needed Vanek or should I say JT needed Vanek. If he doesn’t commit to signing then we can trade him. I’m sure Snow doesn’t sit there and opt for other decisions over obtaining what we need. Maybe he’s tried and can’t get what he needs without wasting assets to get it. I don’t understand why people think Snow is messing things up. We wouldn’t be where we are as a franchise without him. He’s done a great job so far and people should give home more credit.

  4. tshea692 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    @tjvalley, Where is it exactly that we are as a franchise? We made the playoffs in a shortened season and have consistently over the past 5 full seasons watched our season end before December even came. JT didn’t need Vanek and I’m almost sure that he would still prefer to have Moulson as yeah Vanek can hit empty nets but he is one of the most uninspired defensive forwards in the league and at a time when we need the forwards to chip in defensively because we have scrubs rounding out our bottom 4 D he is letting wingers cut in and out as they please wherever they want to on the ice. Also you seem to disregard the fact that Snow traded Nino for Cal Clutterbuck who has been more productive when he isn’t playing. He hasn’t gotten us a legitimate NHL goalie and hes known that has been a problem since he came into office. This season is one that if not corrected will set back the franchise another 3 or 4 years. Don’t get so proud about making the playoffs in a shortened season as a franchise we are still nowhere and thanks in large part to Snow

  5. feedmetherock - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    @tjvalley – I don’t think the Islanders needed Vanek. Moulson and JT were good friends and had good chemistry and Garth broke that up. The Islanders are basically the same with Vanek vs. Moulson and could have used those resources to acquire a top 4 defensemen or Hiller or one of the other goalies that might be available. The Islanders with Vanek lost 9 or 10 in a row, lol. It wasn’t a franchise changing move. I also believe Capuano is part of the problem. I think they should have roller with Strome and Nelson from the beginning of the year, and they could have provided good secondary scoring. It is the same conservative approach they took with Nino, and they had too quick of a hook with him and did not feed him enough minutes to see what he could truly do. Instead he got a lot of 4th line minutes and struggled with a lack of scoring ability around him. And then when he couldn’t light it up with 4th line scrubs, he somehow gets sent down for underperforming. I also think they should have rolled with Reinhart from the beginning of the year. He can’t be any worse than the pathetic d they have right now. Bogosian, Dumba, Trouba, etc. are all playing in the NHL and developing at the NHL. He was a top pick for a reason.

  6. canucks30 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    0 Playoff Series wins in 2 decades.

    What a well run franchise.

    It’s too bad the talents of Tavares are being wasted due to the Wang and the Snowman.

  7. gooze930 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    snow is the problem.

  8. tjvalley - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    I don’t like the niederider deal and agree that we could of got something better then cal clutterbuck for him. It’s hard to blame the coach when the defense consist of mostly AHL and afterthought players. There have been countless times in the last five years where snow tried to get players but couldn’t either because they didn’t want to play here or wanted too much money for their actual worth. I agree that snow has not addressed the problems we have but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried. This franchise had no worth in the personnel dept when Snow took over. We had okposo, and nielson in the system and a bunch of crap on the ice. This team is much better then it was 5 years ago. We are just young and our defense is way to inexperienced for this league. We have a ton of prospects slated to make the NHL sooner then later but the growing pains are going to be there. 1 thing you have to consider is how many teams want to trade a good experienced defenseman? I know that Snow offered niederider for Bernier and LA turned him down for Matt fratten. How is that Snows fault? Wang has been losing the most money of any owner in the league and you want to get mad about him not spending money when he has never failed to spend it. When you rebuild you obviously are not going to have a payroll like a boston or Chicago. Everyone blames wang yet he’s done nothing but try to help rebuild the franchise and has lost a ton of money trying. The only person you can truly blame is milbury. He set us back to expansion status with his antics trading away star after star for heartless overpaid talent. Snow has done nothing but increase value and assets whenever he could. Everybody makes mistakes but at least he has a sense to build and not succumb to pressure of the media and the fans. Let him work out his plan and cut him some slack for a mistake here or there. Just understand that we are not losing cause of snow but because there is too much inexperience on the defense and goaltending. The defense and goaltending is talented , but just young. Experience and talent wins hockey games. Without the experience, it doesn’t matter about the talent.

  9. neeza06 - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Snows biggest mistake aside from the niederreiter/ goalie situation (he made a lot of mistakes with it but nino was no angel and together they demolished his trade value) is not recognizing Capuano as a problem. Hopefully this is just a smoke screen to get him through the road trip till he fires him at home. Agree cappy hasn’t lost the team from a moyivational standpoint he is just a bad coach.

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