McDonald: Firing Jack Capuano Is Just A Desperate Hail Mary For The Islanders

The New York Islanders apparently have taken a page out of Aaron Rogers playbook, because they apparently are pulling their own Hail Mary pass by firing coach Jack Capuano.

It’s a desperate prayer for the club to see if they can turn it around with 40 games left in the season and eight points out of the wild card.

And it’s certainly a referendum on general manager Garth Snow, who may need a whole novena to St. Jude to save his job.

Capuano needed to be fired and this canning wasn’t just Snow’s call but certainly came from the top with owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin probably making the decision.

“This is an organizational decision, it’s not a dictatorship,” Snow said in a conference call with reporters. “It’s not one person waking up one day and making a decision. There’s lots of dialogue, all through the organization when big decisions are made.”

But Capuano is just the current fall guy for the club’s 17-17-8 record, good enough for last place in the Metropolitan Division. It was Snow’s inability of mold a roster this season after the departures of Kyle Okposo, Franz Neilson, and Matt Martin that is at the root of the Islanders problems.

Both Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera have been disappointments and P.A. Parenteau didn’t even make it out of training camp. It left the Isles devoid of secondary scoring after center John Tavares.

Holding onto three goalies also didn’t help. Ultimately, this was resolved by sending Jarslav Halak to Bridgeport, still having his salary count against the cap.

And that’s all on Snow, who received too much credit over the last few years for a club that only made the playoffs a handful of times. With so many high draft picks at his disposal and the benefit getting players like Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy due to other clubs cap restraints, the Isles should have been more than what they have been.

“I don’t think there is a player on our roster that I haven’t had a hand in either drafting, picking up off waivers, a trade, free-agent signing — same with the staff, whether it’s trainers, coaches, scouts,” Snow said. “So obviously [I’m] not hiding from the fact that it starts with me.”

Part of it was Capuano’s coaching, though. A nice guy, but time and time again in over his head when he faced the better coaches in the league. He was badly exposed by Barry Trotz in the 2015 playoffs in the Islanders first round loss to the Capitals.

But Snow treated him as coach for life and even gave him a vote of confidence back in November, when Capuano should have been fired if the Islanders really wanted to save the season.

Ultimately, though, nothing would have saved this flawed roster. Even though assistant general manager Doug Weight gets the first crack at it on an interim basis, this move is just too little too late.

A Hail Mary that probably won’t be answered, which will turn the focus on Snow, who will probably join Capuano on the unemployment line come April.   

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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