Elite Sports NY writer Justin Weiss answers fans’ questions about the final stretch of the New York Islanders’ season.There are a plethora of questions and a shortage of answers. With just three months remaining to the regular season, there’s still a shroud of uncertainty surrounding the fanbase.
1. Will Jack Capuano land another job?
Alright, so this isn’t the big question. With Capuano’s résume — 227-192-64 record with two 100-point seasons — and character, he’ll likely land another coaching gig in the professional ranks.
There’s a shroud of uncertainty if he wishes to return to the National Hockey League, though. Peter Ruttgaizer, formerly of MSG Networks, noted that Capuano’s dream job is at the University of Maine. He’d have complete control of that program, and he’s a proud resident of the state, too.
Still, Newsday‘s Arthur Staple reported that at least one team has reached out to the Isles about Capuano. Two clubs currently have head coaching vacancies — Florida and Las Vegas — and the later has ties to Cappy; general manager George McPhee was his boss last season.
2. Will Joshua Ho-Sang get his ‘sh— together?’
Since the Islanders snagged Ho-Sang in the first-round of the 2014 Draft, this has been the million-dollar-question.
Ho-Sang has been criticized for being too brash and cocky and has had his fair share of maturity problems. Earlier this month he was scratched from a game for showing up late; that after pledging to be a ‘changed man’ before the season.
There’s still loads of time for Ho-Sang to right the ship, but it’s questionable if he’ll ever change; his fate will be determined by him, and him alone.
3. Should Ilya Sorokin be untouchable?
If Wayne Gretzky could get traded, anyone can. If the right deal presents itself, assuming the Isles don’t view Sorokin as the next Patrick Roy, they should contemplate pulling the trigger.
Sure, the counter-argument is that Sorokin could be a bonafide star at the professional level. I’m not doubting that; he’s an outstanding athlete with a projectable frame (6-2) and loads of accolades.
That being said, ‘you have to give to get.’ Sorokin’s far from a surefire prospect, and there have been all sorts of problems getting foreigners overseas. If the team’s management receives a plausible offer, they should at the very least entertain it.
4. What does Doug Weight have to do to keep his job?
Considering that the Isles would have to leapfrog seven teams to make the postseason, that should be the criteria.
Alright, so that sounds sort of harsh — and maybe a little unfair to the current head coach. But the Isles should be heading in another direction, and Weight embodies the status quo. He should give ownership reasons to retain him, not the other way around.
Weight has some positive attributes — he’s beloved by his guys and he owns some invaluable coaching experience — but many negatives, most notably his lethargic dump-and-chase system.
5. Is John Tavares playing at a higher level than ever before?
‘The team goes as Tavares goes’ has become a favorite saying on the Island, and for good reason: there’s a pretty clear correlation between the Isles’ success and the captain’s hot streaks.
Tavares has now recorded eight goals in his last six games, and the resurgent Islanders have responded with a points streak of their own. El Capitano is skating and dangling through guys, and he’s lighting the lamp at a greater rate than he ever has before.
So to answer this question, he’s competing at near-peak form. That’s encouraging for a team that needs him to be on his game the rest of the way.