Roughly one fifth of the way through the season the Islanders find themselves in 29th place in the league standings with only the Arizona Coyotes having fewer points. Despite the lackluster start and a lot of fans calling for the head of head coach Jack Capuano, GM Garth Snow is not ready to pull the plug on his coach just yet.
In an interview with TSN's Frank Seravalli, Snow gave a vote of confidence to Capuano, saying that it's up to the coaches and players to figure things out.
Here's the part where you should close this article and go about your day if you're already pissed off about this season.
But we warned you:
"Hey, [the 'Fire Cappy' chants are] part of the business," Snow said. "We're in it to win. And when the team isn't successful, I think any team in the league that happens."
When asked pointedly whether that meant that Capuano, the fourth longest-tenured coach in the NHL, would continue to have a long leash, Snow did not give an affirmative but his answer seemed to provide a solid vote of confidence.
"Jack is an excellent coach," Snow said. "We have good players. I love our coaching staff. In fact, last time I checked, he coached in the World Cup and there were some pretty good coaching staffs."
(Quick reminder that Team USA went winless at the World Cup, by the way).
Later, Snow cites the team's back-to-back 100 point seasons as proof that the coach deserves time to pull out of the tailspin, but agrees that the team on the ice isn't playing to their abilities.
"I see some guys just lacking in confidence," Snow said. "I have a lot of confidence in our players. We have a good team. I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff. We're coming off two 100-point seasons. I think that speaks for itself for how good of a staff we have. It's an 82-game marathon, not a sprint. We'll keep trying to get better every day."
At practice today, the players told Newsday's Steven Marcus that they also stand behind their coach (because what else are they gonna say?) and that they're trying to make the best of it and get back on track.
Casey Cizikas agreed, saying, "I think Cappy's one of the most dedicated guys, spends a lot of time trying to prep us, getting ready for games. It hasn't been easy right now, but there's still a lot of games to go in the season. A lot of time for us to turn it around. Everybody plays for everyone. It doesn't matter who it is. You're part of this organization. There's pride in calling yourself an Islander.''
Meanwhile, Arthur Staple reports that Snow is trying to swing a trade for a forward to help goose his team's flagging offence, but a match has been hard to find without giving up a significant young asset. A call-up from Bridgeport could also happen, but who knows.
Snow can say he's confident in his coach, try to make trades and even joke with reporters, but the Islanders' start has put his work over the last eight years under just as much of a microscope. On the Islanders Point Blank podcast yesterday, Brian Compton basically raked Snow over the coals for the roster he's built. The "safe" philosophy that's been hampering the Islanders on the ice extends to the GM's office, where Snow has decided that a third, unused goalie is more necessary than extra defensemen or creative skill players. The cap floor days are over and the team hasn't as much salary wiggle room as it used to.
This is Snow's team and this is his coach. And we're all going down together.
(Unless he fires Cappy a week from now like he did Scott Gordon after his vote of confidence in 2010).