Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Jack Capuano not worried about job
By Katie Strang
Uniondale, N.Y. -- Things were bad enough for the New York Islanders heading into this past weekend. But an embarrassing 6-0 shutout loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday followed by a sobering 5-0 manhandling by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday has left the team reeling.
The Islanders, dead-last in the Eastern Conference standings with 13 points (5-10-3), have dropped 12 of their past 14 games and are teetering dangerously close to a repeat of last season.
Jack Capuano took over as coach when Scott Gordon was fired following a similar backslide in November 2010, and Capuano knows he will now face the same questions as his predecessor before his dismissal.
Is he worried about his job?
"No," Capuano told ESPNNewYork.com following the team's brief practice Tuesday. "I don't take it home to my wife and kids. That's the last thing I want to do. Obviously this pressure is the job that I've taken. But do I have confidence in myself? Absolutely."
Capuano demurred when asked if he's received a vote of confidence from general manager Garth Snow -- the team said Snow was not available to comment Tuesday -- but said his job status has never come up during recent conversations.
"That's something you'd have to ask him -- but not once has it come up.
We haven't discussed it at all," Capuano said. "We talked this morning about our lineup. We've got some injuries on our blue line, some injuries in net. It's not perfect timing for all this. It just feels like things snowball when we're at that point of struggling."
One thing Capuano would reveal about recent conversations with Snow was that the coach offered input on potential personnel changes when the two spoke Tuesday morning. Capuano said Snow was "receptive," and the second-year coach sounded optimistic help could arrive Wednesday for the team's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"We've got to ignite some fire into our lineup," Capuano said. "I talked to Garth about that and we'll see what takes place for our roster tomorrow."
When asked what he meant by "igniting fire" into the team's roster Capuano said:
"I had a meeting with him this morning, gave him my thoughts. Obviously he's the general manager of this team so he deals with the personnel ... but I gave him my thoughts on the direction I thought would help us."
Capuano confirmed that he did cite specific players in the discussions and although he wouldn't reveal names, tough guys Micheal Haley and Trevor Gillies could be candidates. Both were up with the big club during the team's successful stretch in the second half last season.
"There are some specific players," Capuano said. "We've got to add some grit element to our game. We've got to add some guys that are going to be vocal for our team. When you go through a stretch like this, change is good."
Katie Strang covers the Isles for ESPNNewYork.com.