The Islanders are mired in the Eastern Conference basement with a 5-8-3 record, which has many calling for the head of bench boss Jack Capuano.
But Isles GM Garth Snow isn’t having it.
“Jack is an excellent coach,” Snow told TSN, giving his head coach a vote of confidence in the process. “We have good players. I love our coaching staff.”
The Isles have been bad to start the season, and there are several reasons for it. Prized free agent signing Andrew Ladd has just three points through 16 games. Jason Chimera has struggled to produce as well. On defense, the club has dealt with injuries to Ryan Pulock, Dennis Seidenberg and Travis Hamonic — the latter now playing through a suspected broken thumb.
Capuano, though, is the one that’s ended up in the crosshairs.
He’s been taken to task for an inability to replace the offense lost when Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo left in free agency. At times, he’s shouldered the blame — in Monday’s shutout loss to the Bolts, he said it was “on him” to find better line combinations — but at other times, he’s alluded to the fact a good chunk of his offense walked out the door this summer.
“Where are we going to get point production?” Capuano asked reporters after a shootout win over the Flyers. “One hundred and thirty-four points out of our lineup that we lost. Now we have to find a way. Like everything gets magnified, I get it. You guys are talking about the (losses) lately…but we have to find a way to get some balanced offense in our hockey team.”
Some saw those remarks as a shot at Snow, which in turn led some to predict Capuano’s firing was on the horizon.
It still might be. The Isles have a really tough stretch of the schedule coming up — a game this Friday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, then a three-game western road swing through Anaheim, L.A. and San Jose.
Related: No production from Ladd among many concerns for Isles