One thing hockey fans think they kind of know but don't actually know: What a head coach is doing.
There's not just the matter of lineup selection -- generally the head coach's call, though it seems often in consult with fellow coaches and management. Once selected, there are also the matters of line combos and usage with that lineup.
During a game, assistants often handle special teams and sometimes either the defense or forwards. But even in those cases, the head coach has final say or will insert himself when his preferences differ. However, injuries, equipment issues, opposition moves and the timing of special teams situations can alter roster deployment in any given period or game.
And then there are the truly behind-the-scenes duties: Motivational tacticsAs we start to think about maybe counting down the days until camp, we'll be posing some thematic questions to let our commenters carry the day., in-game adjustments, personal relationship, extinguishing of fires, and generally maintaining the respect needed to be a leader of men.
Since Jack Capuano became head coach of the Islanders, we've seen fan theories floated about how he loosened up the system, relaxed the atmosphere, emphasized defensive play, and re-introduced the role of punching the other team in the mouth every now and then. We've seen fans say he uses Michael Grabner too little, Marty Reasoner too much, and we've seen him pull the goalie early -- an arguably wise approach in theory, if poorly executed in reality.
And beyond all of those factors is one more unknown: How a coach, a human, a Jack Capuano evolves on the job as he goes.
Question for Readers
That said, fans will speculate and project their impressions; it's what we do.
Might as well ask about those impressions with summer's safe distance from games and emotional reactions: What, do you reckon, are Capuano's best strengths and biggest weaknesses as a coach?
At the most basic level, a coach's job is to maximize ice time for his best players, and position all players in situations that fit them best. Capuano certainly gets John Tavares out there plenty, and in heavily offensively advantageous situations. At the opposite end, Reasoner's usage reflected a preference for a defensively focused center. Meanwhile, Grabner was an elite NHL producer on a per-minute basis ... which raises the question of whether Capuano plays him enough.
Be it on the ice or suspected behind the scenes, what do you think are Capuano's biggest strengths and weaknesses?