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Active NHL Coach Tenures in 2013-14: Jack Capuano is 9th

Some NHL coaches need two teams to reach this point.

"That's why we don't read message boards, boys."
"That's why we don't read message boards, boys."
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It was a footnote toward the end of a shortened season that had taken a late turn toward resurrection: In the New York Islanders' April 16 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers, Jack Capuano grabbed his 82nd win as Islanders coach, giving him the second-highest total in franchise history.

Granted, the man he passed, Terry Simpson, lacked the benefit of shootout wins (and tact, some said) to amass more than his 81 wins, and Simpson coached only 187 Islanders games to Capuano's 195 (and counting). But the takeaway here is that Capuano has exhibited staying power that no other post-Arbour Isles coach has.

(The only other non-Arbour coach to coach more games than Simpson? Mike Milbury, whose 56 wins in 191 games, uh, don't quite measure up.)

Very quietly, and to the alarm of some fans who cursed his every use of Marty Reasoner, Capuano has climbed the list of active NHL coaching tenures while surviving some frustrating moments during the Isles' rebuild.

Around the league, there are several active NHL coaches who have been around longer than Capuano, but there aren't many who have a current tenure that predates his hiring by Garth Snow in November 2010.

Rank Coach Team Hire Date
30 John Torotorella Canucks 2013 - 25 June
29 Alain Vigneault Rangers 2013 - 21 Jun
28 Dallas Eakins Oilers 2013 - 10 Jun
27 Patrick Roy Avalanche 2013 - 23 May
26 Lindy Ruff Stars 2013 - 21 May
25 Jon Cooper Lightning 2013 - 25 Mar
24 Ron Rolston Sabres 2013 - 20 Feb
23 Adam Oates Capitals 2012 - 26 Jun
22 Michel Therrien Canadiens 2012 - 5 Jun
21 Bob Hartley Flames 2012 - 31 May
20 Randy Carlyle Leafs 2012 - 23 Mar
19 Todd Richards Blue Jackets 2012 - 9 Jan
18 Darryl Sutter Kings 2011 - 20 Dec
17 Bruce Boudreau Ducks 2011 - 30 Nov
16 Kirk Muller Hurricanes 2011 - 28 Nov
15 Ken Hitchcock Blues 2011 - 6 Nov
14 Peter DeBoer Devils 2011 - 19 Jul
13 Claude Noel Jets 2011 - 24 Jun
12 Mike Yeo Wild 2011 - 17 Jun
11 Paul MacLean Senators 2011 - 14 Jun
10 Kevin Dineen Panthers 2011 - 1 Jun
9 Jack Capuano Islanders 2010 - 15 Nov
8 Peter Laviolette Flyers 2009 - 4 Dec
7 Dave Tippett Coyotes 2009 - 24 Sep
6 Dan Bylsma Penguins 2009 - 15 Feb
5 Joel Quenneville Blackhawks 2008 - 16 Oct
4 Todd McLellan Sharks 2008 - 12 Jun
3 Claude Julien Bruins 2007 - 21 Jun
2 Mike Babcock Red Wings 2005 - 15 Jul
1 Barry Trotz Predators 1997 - 6 Aug

Even if you only count Capuano's tenure since getting the interim tag removed, he hangs on to that spot in the top third of the league of active tenures. All eight names above him are considered among the best in the business.

Another factoid that re-iterates how volatile this profession is: Eight of the other coaches have (or will have, come October) coached two different NHL teams during Capuano's tenure (Tortorella, Vaigneault, Ruff, Carlyle, Sutter, Boudreau, DeBoer, Richards).

In some ways, talking about a coach's lengthening tenure is the kiss of death, or at least a hint that a man's next prolonged losing streak could be his "tuned him out" last. For a coach to make it this far means expectations are rising, and failing to meet them only increases the pressure and questions.

Then there are the Trotzes and Ruffs of the world, who survive year after year without winning it all thanks to a strong working relationship with their GM and a general understanding that it still comes down to the 23 players on the roster more than the head man behind the bench.

Is that how it will go for Capuano? The vibe is upbeat around the team and within Capuano's tenure, though the wrong combo of injuries, slump and internal division can quickly change that in this league. But if they reach a scary spell in 2013-14, odds are they'll still look at themselves (or between the pipes) rather than at the man behind the bench.

If you expected this kind of tenure when Capuano was called up from Bridgeport back in 2010 ... you should probably be GM.