NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Those wishing for Jack Capuano’s firing may need to start clamoring for something else.
That’s because Islanders general manager Garth Snow has reportedly given his embattled head coach a vote of confidence. This as New York sits in the basement of both the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference.
Snow told TSN’s Frank Seravelli on Tuesday he has heard the fans’ “Fire Capuano” chants inside Barclays Center and understands where the angst is coming from, given the Islanders’ brutal 5-8-3 start, their worst opening to a season through that many games since 2011-12.
“Hey, it’s part of the business,” Snow said. “We’re in it to win. And when the team isn’t successful, I think (with) any team in the league that happens.”
The Islanders had mixed expectations coming into the season. They were coming off their first playoff series victory since 1993 and had posted back-to-back 100-point seasons, but suffered some serious personnel losses during free agency when Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, two of their top three scorers from last season, departed for Buffalo and Detroit, respectively.
Snow responded by signing Andrew Ladd to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract, but the veteran winger has struggled mightily, posting just two goals and three points in 16 games. The Isles have scored just 13 goals in their last seven games, winning just one (1-3-3).
Snow also signed longtime Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera and former Islander PA Parenteau to short deals, but Chimera is not a top-end scorer and Parenteau was inexplicably put on waivers before the regular season started.
So there are many who believe Snow is just as guilty as Capuano for the team’s problems. That said, Snow, not new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, is still calling the shots when it comes to the on-ice product.
“Jack is an excellent coach,” Snow told Seravelli. “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.”
As for the team’s problems generating consistent offense and protecting leads, Snow said, “I see some guys just lacking in confidence. 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.”
According to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Snow is trying to upgrade his offense, noting that the Islanders and Colorado Avalanche had been scouting each other in recent days. However, Staple wouldn’t speculate on a potential trade.
Barring a roster-changing type move or two, Capuano and his players are going to have to make due with what they have. The Islanders have 66 games still left to avoid what would be a major step back given their ascension up the overall league standings over the last few seasons.
“Everything is fixable,” veteran winger Cal Clutterbuck said on Monday. “We’ve had success in here before and I think we know what needs to be done.”
The Islanders don’t play again until Friday, when the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins come to Brooklyn. Snow stopped short of using the dreaded word “patience” when discussing the fans’ stress, but said he knows what the word on the street is about the franchise right now.
“It’s a passionate fan base. I get it,” Snow said. “They want results. We want results. We’ll do our best to give it to them.”