1:30 pm, Iceworks: Woh! Put the breaks on the post below about system-busting. In his first meeting with writers as Islanders head coach, Jack Capuano said there will not be major changes to the system he coached in Bridgeport and Scott Gordon coached in Uniondale the last two-plus years.
“Scott brought in a lot of structure,” said Capuano. “There are some things that we’ll tweak, but nothing major.”
Asked about his understanding of his status as “interim head coach,” Capuano said he only had a conversation with Garth Snow about taking over today and the two haven’t discussed anything further.
1:15 pm, Iceworks: Changes from the Scott Gordon system, also played in Bridgeport the last two years, have already been implemented. I asked captain Doug Weight about it after practice today.
“I didn’t know about that in Bridgeport,” said Weight. “We changed a lot of things today.” Weight said the coaches “simplified the game” and addressed issues. “Some guys were having trouble with stuff,” he said. “We made some changes, and I think a lot of guys are excited about it.”
And there you have it: immediate evidence that the system of play coached by Gordon and endorsed by Snow for the last two years has been abandoned as the Islanders search for a win after ten consecutive losses.”
12:35 pm, Iceworks: The Islanders are 30 minutes into their first practice under interim head coach Jack Capuano. The practice resembles every practice I’ve ever seen after a coaching change: delirious, manufactured energy. Lots of positive talk from the new man in charge. Over-exuberant reaction to every little nice play. For example, one line just scored as Trent Hunter roofed one past Rick DiPietro. The team exhalted with the same level of passion as when they beat Tampa Bay in overtime 24 days ago.
Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau
Weight – Bailey – Comeau
Grabner – Nielsen – Hunter
Martin – Konopka – Sim
Schremp – Gillies
Along with Capuano, Dylan Reese has been recalled from Bridgeport.
***An Islanders staffer approached after Garth Snow’s conference call was completed to say that my not getting the press release or details to call in was purely an honest mistake.
11:45 am, Iceworks: As I stood here as one of two reporters at practice at Iceworks, Islanders staff did not provide me with the call-in details for his conference call to announce the firing of Scott Gordon. Ten writers – including a few who weren’t interested in the call, or don’t even cover hockey anymore – sent me the details, which was kind. Others said they’ll send me the quotes, also very nice.
Instead, I enjoyed the tweet-by-tweets. As you know, Snow doesn’t say much. After some technical difficulties that were the laugh of writers on Twitter, the general manager said his team’s struggles were a “confidence” thing. Ironic, since Gordon made it clear two weeks ago what he thought of that psychobabble.
The Islanders just completed a run of 12 of 15 on the road and have been undermanned all season. Since they didn’t travel an extra dman, Scott Gordon’s last game as Islanders head coach was with just five defensemen. Now that they play a bunch of home games over the next month, the Islanders should be primed for a few wins.
11:15 am, Iceworks: The Islanders have fired head coach Scott Gordon. Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano takes over as interim head coach. With time left on his contract, Gordon stays on as an advisor to Garth Snow.
The major question now is, will the Islanders hire a head coach and perhaps some hockey operations personnel with experience and proven track records? Recent history in the Charles Wang era would seem to indicate they will not, but there is always time for a change in policy.
In a statement, Snow said the Islanders needed a “new direction” and the team still intends to push for a spot in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.