University of Maine Reportedly Interested in Jack Capuano, But is it Mutual?

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

This might be one of the more unusual scenarios that we’ve heard regarding coaching positions, but if reports are to be believed, Islanders coach Jack Capuano may be coveted by his alma mater, the University of Maine, for their vacant head coaching job.

Jack Capuano

After enduring a few bad, losing seasons Capuano guided a young Islanders team to the playoffs this year. That’s got to be more than enough incentive for coach and team to continue to work together, but it’s not clear if Capuano is under contract for next season. The Islanders don’t release coach contract info but the prevailing wisdom seems to be that Capuano’s contract was up after this year (after three years at the helm, and that sounds like a standard contact, anyhow). Back in April, Newsday’s Arthur Staple wrote that Capuano’s contract was likely up:

On the subject of Capuano’s contract status, neither he nor GM Garth Snow would comment. It was believed that Capuano’s contract runs through this season, but Snow steadfastly refuses to reveal any information about his coach’s status.

There’s been no news of an extension, at least not yet, and with the Maine job vacant since early April — a seemingly extended amount of time — that has led to lots of speculation. That speculation has included Scott Pellerin, also a Maine alum, as well as Capuano.

Yesterday, College Hockey News cited two sources that said Maine was interested in Capuano:

Then there’s rumblings that [Maine Athletic Director Steve] Abbott would like to woo New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, a Maine alum, back to Orono to run the hockey program. Given the Islanders’ success this past season, making the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2007, on paper, it appears to be a long shot. But according to two sources, there have been overtures made and while Islanders’ majority owner Charles Wang would be smart to ink his head coach to a contract extension after the success the team enjoyed this season, nothing is certain… According to the same two sources, Capuano is the lowest paid coach in the league.

A college hockey job still pays less than the lowest paying NHL gig, but its also carries more job security than the revolving door that the NHL coaching carousel can be. To add to that, Capuano’s son is going to be playing baseball at Maine this year.

To be clear, there’s no indication that Capuano has any interest in the Maine job. It would be surprising if the Islanders didn’t want to bring him back after this season, and equally surprising if the coach didn’t want to see through the fruits of his young team finally coming of age. But Maine, if they are indeed making overtures, holds a few cards with potential job security and his son.

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