New York Islanders

Garth Snow, by keeping head coach Jack Capuano, will give the New York Islanders players the much needed familiarity with change coming.

By Michael Iuzzini

There is no question that New York Islanders fans are extremely vocal in their feelings about head coach Jack Capuano. Many thought that a first round exit would send the team’s head coach packing.

After the Isles were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the first round, fans held their breath in hopes that Capuano would finally get his pink slip. Instead, General Manager Garth Snow, without hesitation, kept his coach and staff fully intact.

Snow has proven he has an idea how to be a GM, and his decision of keeping his coach makes total sense.

There is notably a ton of change circling the organization and Snow understands the increased need of stability. Garth is playing it smart, if he has control of a situation he is making sure to get a full handle on it.

Snow can’t stop the team from moving, he can’t stop the ownership change and he can’t stop the new commute for the fans.

What Snow can do is give his players their coach and team back all in one piece. The move to Brooklyn is going to change the player’s game day routines and habits.

The risk of replacing Capuano with a new coach would add another tremendous change to a club that is already heading into an entire new universe of hockey. Change is great, but too much all at once could send the organization spiraling out of control. Bringing in a new head coach right now with a new philosophy and style of coaching is not what the doctor should order.

The franchise is on the cusp of being one of the best teams in the East and if some of the kids get their NHL legs they will be one of the best teams in the league.

As free agency opened, Snow did not go out and try to pick up any big names. Instead, he locked down Anders Lee and Thomas Hickey with solid contracts. He also picked up an established backup keeper Thomas Greiss. Snow has kept it simple so far this offseason and simple is fine.

Garth is not rolling the dice by going with pretty much the same team from last season, he is letting his players grow as one.

It is an exciting time as the Islanders head to its new home in Brooklyn. Sure, Islanders fans at first are going to be kicking and screaming about the new commute, but they will come.

Snow can’t control the backlash and emotions about the move, but he can keep his team together. The players consider themselves a brotherhood and will adjust.

Capuano knows his players and they know their coach. Don’t look for Cappy to be on a short leash, Snow is well aware that everyone needs to acclimate with their new surroundings.

There is a bigger picture here and breaking in their new digs with Lord Stanley is first on the list.

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Photo by Dougtone


  1. Well written article. I think the more that cooler heads prevail here the better. Shouting for coaching changes at this juncture is not wise and your referencing of throwing too much change out there at one time is an astute point made.

    The fact that Snow has not made a big name move in vain and most likely resulting in an overpayment is in itself a great move. Many fans were calling for Phil Kessel…? I say NO. Despite the fact that he is an extremely talented scorer, I am not confident a move like that would be good for US, especially now. I am curious to see how that “ego chemistry experiment” works out in Pittsburgh? If it does…good for them. That would be the wrong move here on two levels. 1)Kessel has a reputation of being difficult to coach and manage. That would create more trouble than solve. Besides, we have scoring talent up and down this roster and in the system WITHOUT the personality headaches and salary hit. 2) The salary implication down the road. Let Pittsburgh overpay him and deal with his personality. A signing like that will spell trouble in keeping this team together very quickly.

    So standing firm here and being patient is the right move. Think of how good this team could really be if everyone improved just 10%? Considering the upsides on this roster, that is not an unrealistic expectation. There are players on this team that are no where near their potential yet. IE Strome, Lee, Nelson, so 10% is just the beginning.

    Be patient Islander fans. I know we have been hearing that since 1993, but it’s only now that this franchise is actually in a position to put something great together FOR REAL. I have a suspicion that Garth has another move or two up his sleeve and love the fact that he is playing it close to the vest.

    LGI !! !!!