Jack Capuano knows this was a winnable game. Before a five game road trip, a match against the Winnipeg Jets was definitely something his young Islanders should have put in the W column.
But a late turnover by Kyle Okposo allowed the game winner by Winnipeg and unlike their counterparts from the Meadowlands, these Jets actually can win a game in the Metropolitan area.
“Just the turnover on the fourth goal,” Capuano said. “We played a pretty good game and in a tie game we try to be cute at the blue line and we can’t get back and they shoot one off the pads. That’s the most disappointing thing for me.
“When you don’t manage the puck well, you don’t deserve to win and it’s going to be a long road trip if we don’t do that.”
You can understand why the coach was so ticked. It was an inexcusable mistake for a young team, and also he knows his seat can get hot very quickly if the Islanders go into their annual November swoon this season. General Manager Garth Snow brought in what seems to be the right players, and going into the Brooklyn, they want to have some buzz.
Results like last year will not be acceptable.
With a dreaded west coast swing with games against Colorado, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, the Islanders good October momentum can easily turn into a November to forget.
And if they Isles go 1-4 or 1-3-1 on this trip – something not out of the question – Capuano may find himself out of a job faster than Rex Ryan, which may be the reason why he sounded a little like John Tortorella tonight in his post-game comments.
“I knew eventually that this would happen with our puck management,” Capuano said. “We have to figure it out quick. This is not going to continue or we are going to start limiting ice time. We talk about it all the time. It hurt us last year.”
With five months to play there’s still a lot of time, but it may not be there for Capuano. Sure he is loved by management and has shown a resiliency as a coach to stay around. In past years, though, he didn’t have a very good hand to play. Now he has a few aces.
And if he doesn’t play them, he will find himself looking for work with someone like Dave Bylsma or even Tortorella behind the bench come Thanksgiving.
Based on the way he sounds, Captain Jack knows this.
His team should have won tonight and his clock is running.