Jack Capuano is second winningest coach in Islanders history, but could be be on the hot seat if his team gets off to a slow start?
ProHockeyTalk took a look back at the various votes of confidence the organization has given their head coach over the last few years and asks “could 2015-16 be Capuano’s last chance?”
In his six years behind the Isles’ bench, Capuano is 165-148-46 and 5-8 in the postseason.
We’ll see exactly how well Capuano works under pressure this season. In addition to trying to navigating which 12 forwards he’ll put on the ice every night and overseeing the development of Ryan Pulock at the NHL level, he’ll have a world of expectations on his shoulders as the lights get turned up even brighter on the Brooklyn stage.
I know some fans aren’t in love with Capuano (to say the least), but I often think it’s an unfair criticism. His players play for him, and — now that he has a legitimate NHL lineup — his system has proven to be effective. Do I love his Russian Roulette-like lineup choices that often seem to be dictated by superstition (like scratching Anders Lee in Game 7 or the late-season stretch of benching Calvin de Haan)? No, but I also understand that he’s trying to bring along a very young core while trying to contend for a Cup, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do. If the Isles are slow out of the gate, Cappy will absolutely feel the heat.
The Islanders have signed forward Tyler Barnes, forward Eric Boulton, defenseman Matt Carkner, and goaltender Parker Milner to professional tryout contracts, the team announced (Aug. 24).
Barnes, 25, had 74 points last season for Toledo of the ECHL.
Boulton, 39, has appeared in 48 games over the last three seasons for the Isles.
Carkner, 34, appeared in 19 games for the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport last season.
Milner, 24, posted a 2.28 GAA while going 24-13-3 for Quad City of the ECHL last season.
Mike Bossy has been reunited with his 50-in-50 puck, thanks to unlikely source: Gavin Maloof.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Maloof, the Las Vegas businessman and former co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, heard the story of the fan selling the famous puck on eBay, and felt he needed to purchase it in order to give it back to Bossy.
“I said, ‘We need to get this puck. It means a lot to Mr. Bossy,'” Maloof told TMZ Sports.
Maloof agreed to buy the puck from the eBay seller for $7,000, then invited Bossy to Las Vegas, put him up in the Bellagio, and took him to “a nice steak dinner” to deliver it to him. Maloof also showed Bossy a model of the arena he and his partner Bill Foley are hoping to bring a potential Las Vegas expansion team to.
This is great. The Maloof family hasn’t exactly had a ton of good PR lately, so it’s nice for them in that regard. But I also just kind of love the basic good-natured move behind this. It’s the kind of thing I hope I would do if I had $100 million in a bank somewhere.
Bossy and the seller of the puck just couldn’t agree to terms, and Maloof swooped in and made it happen, no questions asked. That’s cool. Though, don’t be surprised if you see Bossy praising the NHL expansion efforts in Vegas. I mean, as they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch…er…steak dinner.
The Islanders haven’t won a playoff series since 1993, and they’re hoping their last two close calls will push them over the top this season.
Garth Snow told NHL.com that he thinks the losses to the Penguins in 2013 and the Capitals last year will help the young core learn how to close out a postseason series.
“Two of the last three years, we’ve been in the playoffs. We lost a Game 6 two years back to Pittsburgh and lost a Game 7 to Washington last year,” Snow told NHL.com’s Brian Compton. “You hope that those experiences help a player grow, and that’s what we’re counting on.”
“We were disappointed that we lost a Game 7 against Washington,” Snow continued. “We have a great group of players in that room that are motivated to win a Stanley Cup, and I’m sure there are 29 other teams that are saying the same thing. We know we’re in for a battle. It’s a grind of a season for 82 games and just to make the playoffs is quite an accomplishment. Once you get in, anything can happen. We feel we have a team that can compete on a nightly basis.”
I think the team knows it’s time to win a series. In 2013, they were a long shot. Seriously, go back and look at some of the d-men on that postseason roster. That group played over its heads most of that series. But now, after a 101 point season and a brutal Game 7 loss, this team needs to take the next step. I know a lot of people felt like they needed to win a playoff series last year, and that may have been true then. It’s definitely true now.
When it’s time to head down the stretch, I’m going to be keeping an eye on are guys like Brock Nelson and Anders Lee, two players who were extremely quiet in March and April last season, as they seemed to hit a proverbial wall late in the second half. I’ll be curious to see how they may have tweaked their programs and get themselves ready for, what is hopefully, a much longer run than the 89 games of a season ago.
The Islanders are just 48 days from starting a new era in Brooklyn, but their general manager admits that it was frustrating to have to leave their home of 43 years.
Garth Snow told NHL.com that it hurt to have to say goodbye to Nassau County, but he credits owner Charles Wang exhausting every option, and says looking forward to having his team play in a world-class arena.
“The frustrating part was we had to leave Long Island,” Snow told NHL.com’s Brian Compton. “We’re very fortunate and blessed as an organization, as a manager, as coaches, as players, as fans, to have a guy like Charles [Wang] who tried every avenue to get a building, a state-of-the-art facility in Nassau County. [But] Barclays Center is the next-best place to be. We’re still in the area and we have a first-class facility. I know our players are looking forward to not having the worst building in the League.”
One element we never think about is just how much more comfortable the players are going to be at Barclays Center. They’ll have a huge “campus,” a locker room that puts the glorified janitor’s closet to the Coliseum to shame. And I’d imagine that what Snow says is true: the players will take pride in knowing their building is no longer antiquated.
But make no mistake: the boys want the Coliseum atmosphere. Matt Martin told me as much when I sat down with him at the end of June. As long as Islanders fans show up ready to be loud in Brooklyn, the team shouldn’t miss a beat in re-creating the awesome atmosphere of a year ago. And when you really think about it, that’s the whole saving grace of this thing. That Islanders fans can still go and watch their team play. I know it was hard to say goodbye, but Brooklyn really is the next-best thing…
The on-ice skills of John Tavares are quite apparent to anyone watching him during a game, but Islanders’ general manager Garth Snow believes it’s his character off the ice that has helped the team the most.
“He’s one of the elite players in this league, for sure,” Snow told NHL.com. “We were very fortunate to win the lottery the year that we had the first overall pick. His hockey game speaks for itself. Anyone that watches him play realizes he’s a special talent.
“But behind the scenes, the character that John is, it’s probably the biggest attribute he’s brought to our organization. He’s a class act and a wonderful person. We’re glad he’s our captain.”
The 2015-16 season will be Tavares’ third year as the team’s captain. He was appointed to the position on September 10, 2013 at a press conference held during the Islanders Children’s Foundation Golf Outing at Bethpage State Park Golf Course.
Tavares had a career year recording 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games last year. The Islanders’ captain will be entering his seventh season in the NHL this fall.
Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:
Whenever anyone discusses John Tavares, his on-ice credentials are always a big part of the conversation, but sometimes his off-ice attributes get lost in the discussion. The 24-year-old has been one of the most mature players in the league since he arrived in New York in 2009. His years of dealing with expectations and the press during his junior career forced him to grow up at a quicker pace than other players.
While Tavares may be a catalog of cliches sometimes with the media, he is a leader in the locker room who likes to lead by example. Tavares’ work ethic and determination have carried him very far in the NHL. The Islanders are an organization that looks at the character of a player as much as it does the skill set they possess. Tavares is no different in that regard.
Michael Dal Colle is going to get an opportunity to compete for an NHL job in training camp.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow is the latest to say Dal Colle can win a job in camp, which echoes Jack Capuano’s assertion that the 2014 first round draft can get a nine game tryout with the big club if he impresses in September.
“He had a great season, winning the Memorial Cup,” Snow told NHL.com’s Brian Compton of Dal Colle. “He’s a huge part of this team, obviously. The luxury we have now is we’ve been so fortunate in the drafts that we’ve had is we have a tremendous amount of depth at all positions. We’ll never discount any young player from making our club out of training camp. Really, Michael’s performance will dictate that. That’s why you have training camp: It gives every team an opportunity to see how players perform at the highest level.”
If Dal Colle was a year older, I think without question that he’d spend a season at Bridgeport. But, ironically, his youth actually give him an advantage in this instance. Dal Colle has lit up Juniors, but he won’t be 20 when the season starts, so he can’t play in the AHL. So the options are either let him go back and be a big fish in a small pond, or see if he can swim with the sharks in the NHL.
However, the Islanders have a ton of depth up front as it is, and Michael Grabner and Kirill Petrov will be looking to make an impression in camp, too. Obviously, there are financial ramifications that give Grabs and Petrov an inside edge over a 19 year old, but the upside of MDC on John Tavares’ line mighty prove very tempting. Time will tell, but I do think Dal Colle will get a legitimate shot.