Longtime NHL insider Bob McKenzie appeared on NBC Sports Network Tuesday night to discuss his insights into the New York Islanders’ firing of Jack Capuano, which was announced earlier that day.
While McKenzie had no knowledge of candidates the Islanders would consider for a full-time gig — if they even do so after Doug Weight was named interim — he focused on a timeline that entails the new Islanders ownership completing their own listening tour as they design their own blueprint for the organization.
In other words, will they name a long-speculated overseer to sit above general manager Garth Snow? And if that is indeed the plan, won’t they want that person to have a say in who takes over behind the bench for the long term?
"The question for me isn’t who’s the next coach of the New York Islanders. The question is are owners going to bring someone in, in an overseer position, above Garth Snow?
"What Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have been doing over the last few months is talking to everybody in the hockey world and trying to come up with a model that they think works for them."
McKenzie went on to discuss similar setups, such as Toronto where Brendan Shanahan was named president before eventually bringing in Lou Lamoriello as general manager among a slate of front office execs.
And along those lines, he noted the importance of making the right moves before John Tavares can start putting his signature where his mouth and heart are and devote the rest of his career to this franchise.
(McKenzie also mentioned the pool of coaching candidates out there, from recycles Gerard Gallant and Bob Hartley to ex-Islander Travis Green and former U. of Maine player and NHLer Jim Montgomery.)
Honestly, if the Islanders franchise does this right, they probably bring in a president or Hockey Ops guru who knows of coaching candidates we don’t, who knows who is really tuned into the modern game as opposed to Hartley or even Gallant, who while revered around the NHL, was ultimately let go by the Panthers due to too many old school coaching tendencies.
And Now...the Former NHLers Speak
Adding a bit of unintentional comedy to the evening’s analysis, NBC Sports also turned it over to former NHL players Jeremy Roenick and Scott Gomez, who basically blamed everyone but the coach — Snow for letting old players leave (even though the team was already trending in the wrong direction), the new players for not being better, Snow for the roster, the players on that roster for not playing with more pride — while saying Capuano is a "great coach" and Doug Weight is a "great hockey personality, great hockey mind," without noting he has been involved with the Isles both at the coaching and management levels.
Basically, the players should be better, but they should also try better, and now they really ought to try for Weight, even though they also really should have tried for Capuano.
All of which is not to mock Roenick and Gomez, but to say: Rare is the hockey mind who has a full, 360-degree grasp of a team’s situation, much less grasp what is needed to fix it. Yes, Capuano achieved much with the Isles, yes his roster got weaker over the summer, but also he had the assets to achieve more than he did, and also the roster and his tactics clearly were no longer in sync.
But everyone should try. Like, really hard.