After winning a playoff round for the first time in 23 years last spring, there were great expectations for the New York Islanders this season to go above and beyond that new benchmark. But after a mediocre 17-17-8 start to the season, they have fired longtime head coach Jack Capuano.
Assistant GM and former Isle Doug Weight will be the interim coach the rest of the season. Islanders GM Garth Snow thanked Capuano in a press release issued by the team.
“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.”
“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.”
Capuano took over early in the 2010-11 season for Scott Gordon, who was fired after a 4-10-3 start to that season. He was at the time the head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Isles AHL affiliate, and was an interim coach himself. That tag was removed from his job following the season.
The firing itself is not that much of a surprise considering the fall from grace for the Islanders this season, who have had troubles finding wingers for superstar John Tavares, sent high paid goalie Jaroslav Halak down to the minors after his heroics at the World Cup of Hockey, and watched as at least five teams in the Metropolitan Division have lapped them, as they currently sit in the basement of the division and the conference. But on Monday night, the Islanders put together one of their best performances of the season in a 4-0 shutout over Boston, rendering the timing a bit odd.
Snow had given Capuano the dreaded vote of confidence earlier in the season, but we all know how those turn out. The fourth longest tenured head coach in the NHL is now turfed, becoming the second coach after Florida’s Gerard Gallant to be fired this season.