Jack Capuano was in his fourth season as coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he guided his team to one playoff appearance and two 40-win seasons in his three full seasons, when he was called upon to replace Scott Gordon as the New York Islanders head coach on Nov, 15, 2010.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow opted for Capuano ahead of a more experienced candidate because of Capuano's familiarity with the younger players, since Bridgeport is the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
"I think having a coach like Jack Capuano, who has a familiarity with the players who have been in our system through Bridgeport and taken part in our training camp here," said Snow. "I can take comfort in that there doesn't have to be a feeling-out process for the players. He knows our players -- that familiarity, to me, made it the best fit for us."
A 5th round selection (88th overall) in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Capuano played his college hockey at the University of Maine. At Maine, he was a teammate of his younger brother Dave Capuano and played on the same blueline as future NHLers Eric Weinrich and Bob Beers along with future Vancouver Canucks executive Dave Nonis. He enjoyed a decorated college career, earning First-Team All-American honours in his junior year. His 32 goals remains the most ever by a Black Bear.
Capuano turned pro in 1988 following his junior year and signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He spent his first season with the Newmarket Saints of the AHL recording 21 points in 74 games. He would crack the Leafs' NHL roster for the 1989–90 season, but played in only 1 game before Tom Kurvers returned from a holdout, forcing his demotion. Shortly after his demotion, he walked out on the Saints and demanded a trade, feeling he belonged in the NHL.
Toronto would deal Capuano to the New York Islanders mid-season, but they too assigned him to the AHL. He played only 17 games in the Islanders' system before being dealt again, this time to the Vancouver Canucks.
Capuano would have his finest professional season in 1990–91, recording 20 goals and 50 points and earning 2nd-team All-Star honours in the IHL playing for the Milwaukee Admirals, Vancouver's minor-pro affiliate. He received a three-game callup to the Canucks, where he received the opportunity to play with his brother Dave. The two became the first pair of brothers in Canucks history to suit up for the team at the same time.