Let me elaborate on the title of this post before anyone jumps to conclusions (or down my throat). I like Jack Capuano. I think he is a fine coach and certainly brings a lot of passion to the rink. He is a solid soldier for this franchise. He has called out players (without using names) and praised players in a very tactful manner through the media. I like him and want the organization to succeed under his watch. Unfortunately, he is fighting an uphill battle and there are several reason for this:
1. It's no secret that many top-line free agents will not sign to play for the Islanders, no matter how much money/length of contract is thrown their way. (Outside of Streit, who is a god-send, but who knows if he will resign when his term is up)
2. The veterans that have signed with the Islanders are not difference makers and those that have been picked up via trade have not shown the ability to put the team on their back.
3. The arena situation. Enough said.
4. Probably the most damning: He is clearly dealing with underachievers on this team. Even more so, a couple of these underachievers have been touted as the building blocks/foundation from which to rebuild this franchise.
Obviously, Cappy has zero control over the first three bullet points mentioned. It is the 4th bullet point that is most troubling and the reason for the theme of this post.
Capuano has been with this organization since the 2005-06 season, where he started out as an assistant. From all accounts, he was an excellent motivator and teacher at that level which ultimately led to is promotion as a head coach of the Soundtigers. Capuano coached most of these guys at the AHL level and, presumably, knew how to push their buttons at this level. He is promoted to the big club last year and here he is, for the most part, with a cast of the same players he coached in the minors. Some of the same players who are underachieving now and having a similar start to last season.
In my opinion, it begs the question: Should the Islanders have gone outside the organization for a Head Coach to start the season? Maybe the young guys needed a new, whip cracking voice. Maybe Garth should have lured an Andy Murray (type) who have had success with young teams. As stated above, this is not a knock on Cappy. This is a knock on the players themselves. I don't want to go through another coaching carousel...i want Cappy here. I just wonder if this team would respond any differently to a Head Coach with no Islanders ties. Any thoughts?