Capuano Is Staying Put, But For How Long?

The Islanders are on a losing streak to start off the month of November and every Islanders fan is clutching their forehead in a panicked frenzy expecting this team to drop to last place in the Eastern Conference standings overnight.

Two words everyone: calm down.

It cannot be denied that seeing the Islanders drop three games in a row is not a good thing. Nor is it good to see a team that started 4-0 suddenly hovering one game above .500. But it is a very long season and it is still very early.

And despite their recent struggles, the Islanders currently sit at third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Last night’s loss was a disappointing one. The Isles were outshot and outplayed overall, despite having kept up with the San Jose Sharks for the most part when playing 5-on-5.

A major positive to take away from the game is that Jaroslav Halak looked much better last night. However his defense did not. Tomas Hertl should never have been allowed to be alone in front of Halak’s crease; Logan Couture should have had someone in his face to prevent him from redirecting a harmless shot from the point; a two-on-one rush should never have occurred to put the game out of reach – the list goes on and on.

Despite these glaring issues, they are fixable.

Halak is more likely to get better than to get worse, and so is the defense. It’s important to remember that players like Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky are only recently healthy and still getting used to six-man unit that looks very different when compared to last year.

Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk have not underperformed, but they too are getting used to each other as well as their new teammates. Being that the season is only 11 games old for the Islanders, it is likely that chemistry will only further develop, and miscommunication errors will decrease.

But a lot of these issues fall on the coaching staff, and fans are already calling for the head of Jack Capuano. Rumblings of Dan Bylsma needing a job are suddenly starting to circulate faster on Twitter than the Sharks’ offense last night.

Newsflash everyone: these changes are not happening. Not yet, anyway.

Is it fair to assume that Capuano is being watched with a close eye this year? Absolutely. For the first time during his tenure as the head coach, Capuano has been provided a roster with veterans, goal scoring, a very capable defense and goaltending.

Performing below the set expectations of making the playoffs and earning a top spot in the division will not be tolerated.

Expect that GM Garth Snow is also being watched closely as new ownership begins to settle in. Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky purchased a hockey team on the rise, not a team that consistently misses the playoffs. That doesn’t mean that Snow is going to make impulsive decisions, but he might be a little less patient with his coaching staff than he was in the past.

Will the Islanders hit another November slide like they have almost every other year? Hopefully not. But only then should fans expect Snow to make changes, if necessary.

Until then, do not jump overboard.

-Rob McGowan

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