NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With the team toiling in last place, the Islanders fired head coach Jack Capuano Tuesday.
The Islanders announced the move, adding that Doug Weight, assistant coach and senior adviser to the general manager, will take over as interim head coach.
“The New York Islanders would like to thank Jack for his tireless work throughout his seven seasons with the organization as Head Coach,” general manager Garth Snow said in a news release. “His leadership guided the team to the playoffs in three of the past four years, which included two straight 100-point seasons. He is a great coach and an even better person. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
The Islanders entered the season with high expectations after winning their first playoff series in 23 years last season. But after losing veterans Matt Martin, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo in free agency, the Isles struggled to find the same consistency. They are currently 17-17-8, their 42 points the fewest in the Eastern Conference.
“Obviously we’re not in a position where we want to be standings-wise,” Snow told reporters on a conference call. “I think everyone’s disappointed where we’re at. … At the end of the day, organizationally, I don’t think Jack was probably going to be a coach we were going to bring back.”
Snow added that parting ways with Capuano now frees the team up to begin its coaching search immediately. He did not rule out the possibility that a new coach could be hired before the end of the season.
“We’re going to look at everything,” Snow said.
The general manager described the decision to fire Capuano as an organizational one that include input from him as well as new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin.
“It’s not a dictatorship,” he said. “It’s not one person waking up one day making a decision.
“We need to turn this ship around and really have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and our players.”
In six-plus years with the Islanders, Capuano, 50, who took over as an interim coach himself in November 2010, had a 227-192-64 record. He ranks second in franchise history in wins and reached the playoffs in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
He was the fourth-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins, Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Dave Tippett of the Arizona Coyotes.
“It’s an honor to have served this historic franchise and its passionate fans,” Capuano said in the team’s news release. “I’d like to thank Garth and our ownership group for the opportunity to be the Head Coach of the Islanders. I’d also like to recognize our coaching staff, training staff and players for all of their hard work.”
Weight, 45, played 19 seasons in the NHL, the final three with the Islanders. The four-time All-Star has worked behind the Islanders’ bench and in the front office since 2011.