Monday, November 15, 2010

Gordon Out, Capuano In as Head Coach

In a somewhat unsurprising move, this morning the Islanders fired Head Coach Scott Gordon. I say unsurprising because when a team loses 10 of their first 17 games (the last 10 in a row, mind you) changes need to be made. Brigdeport (AHL) head coach Jack Capuano will be the interim head coach.

I am struggling to say something that hasn't already been said elsewhere. I guess the feeling I come away with is that the change is mostly cosmetic. Sure, it's a new voice in the room, but under Capuano the roster will be the same, the system will be the same, and the culture will likely be the same. Capuano can't make Mark Streit or Kyle Okposo come back from injured reserve any quicker. He can't help Rick DiPietro regain his form, if that's even possible at this point, sooner. And he certainly can't draft new players to infuse the team with scoring.

Capuano was Kyle's first (and only) head coach in the American Hockey League. Most of the current home grown Islanders have played for him. Those who haven't are certainly familiar with Capuano from this preseason's camps and scrimmages, which now seem light years in the past. Maybe a new voice in the dressing room is exactly what the Islanders need to reclaim their season. I'm just not sure how different it is.

As for Gordon, he'll stay in the organization as an assistant to the General Manager. That move seems to be en vogue these days in sports -- giving the guy you've just fired a different role. I can't say I understand it other than for financial reasons. Sometimes it's best to just cut ties and move on.

Before you think I am being too harsh on Gordon, let me say that I and seemingly everyone who is around the team likes him. He is as normal and down to earth as someone in his position can be. However in the National Hockey League, like in any other business, you win or you're out. For Gordon, a coaching record of 64-94-23 (.417) over 2-plus seasons was not good enough.

Capuano will get his first shot at a win on Wednesday (11/17) night.

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