Capuano: ‘We’re in last place, so no one should be arguing’ about lineup changes


The New York Islanders are changing things up for tonight’s date in Detroit, which promoted head coach Jack Capuano to say the following:

That quote came after Capuano announced he was dropping Eric Boulton from the fourth line and replacing him with Colin McDonald, who hasn’t played since Dec. 12 (McDonald received 12 minutes in a 6-3 loss to Phoenix that night, and finished minus-2).

On the blueline, Aaron Ness will draw in while Matt Carkner will sit. Ness has been parked for a while as well, having last played in a 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 17.

The Isles have lost four of five and are coming off a 5-3 home defeat to Anaheim on Saturday — a game in which they held a 3-1 lead going into the third period, before the Ducks rattled off four unanswered goals in the final frame.

New York currently sits last in the Metropolitan Division, with 27 points, and six points clear of cellar-dwellers Buffalo for bottom spot in the Eastern Conference.

Isles put Nabokov on IR

The New York Islanders put goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on injured reserve Monday, just two days after he was forced from a 5-4 shootout win against Detroit with a lower-body injury.

To replace Nabokov, the Isles called up 23-year-old Swedish netminder Anders Nilsson from AHL Bridgeport.

The Nabokov injury comes at a time when New York’s goaltending was in a state of flux. The 38-year-old had slowly been losing his grip on the No. 1 job to Kevin Poulin, but the Nabokov loss is still significant in terms of experience — combined, Pulin and Nilsson have just 26 total NHL starts between them, a far cry from the over 600 Nabokov boasts.

It’ll be interesting to see if Russian netminder’s ailment forces Isles GM Garth Snow to make a move and address the position. Nabokov does have a history of groin issues — he had two long stretches on the shelf during his first year on Long Island.

For now, though, it appears the Isles are content with giving Poulin a shot.

“I think every player that works his way up from the minors, every player who pays his dues, wants that opportunity,” head coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Kevin’s no different than Brock Nelson or Aaron Ness or Matt Donovan.

“He’s going to get to play some more hockey in a very different role.”