Just hours before the 2012-13 season opener between the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils Saturday night, the Islanders announced that Head Coach Jack Capuano would not be behind the bench due to medical reasons.
A member of the Islanders staff drove Capuano to the LIJ Winthrop Hospital around 5:15 p.m. after the third-year Islanders coach said he had been in pain all day.
“Finally it got to the point where I had to do something,” Capuano said. “The doctors determined I had a kidney stone. It’s about the most pain I’ve ever been in.”
Capuano stayed in the hospital through the night, undergoing surgery to remove the kidney stone. He attempted to watch the game on the TV, but missed most of it.
“I knew it was scoreless, but I was under anesthesia and didn’t really get to watch,” Capuano said. “I have a recording of the game, so my plan is to watch it today, rest and take it from there.”
Assistant coaches Doug Weight and Brent Thompson assumed the coaching responsibilities during the contest, a 2-1 loss at Nassau Coliseum. Weight was the official coach of record. It marked just the second time in Capuano’s tenure as Head Coach that he has missed a game. Capuano said that he was confident that the coaching staff could handle the added responsibilities.
“We had a plan in place,” Capuano said. “I couldn’t make the 5:30 meeting, but the players saw the video that I wanted to show, so they took it from there. We knew the matchups we wanted going into the game against New Jersey with Kovalchuk’s line, and the d-pairings, so I think the coaching staff handled all those things well.”
Capuano was released Sunday morning and made it back to the Coliseum for practice, although he wasn’t on the ice with the team. He plans on being behind the bench for Monday’s 1:00 p.m. home contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Capuano believes that if he is not feeling well enough to coach the game, that the coaching staff will execute an effective game plan.
“We’re very familiar with Tampa Bay from the last couple years and what their tendencies are,” Capuano said. “(Lightning coach) Guy Boucher does a great job. They’re very structured in their system and we have a plan for how to diffuse some of their strengths. We’ll go over those things as a staff. I feel very confident in all our coaching staff that if we need a game plan in place, that they can handle it.”
Back at practice Sunday, Capuano said he felt much better and was glad the pain from Saturday had passed over. The doctors will re-evaluate Capuano Tuesday morning to determine if he can resume his full coaching responsibilities.
“We’ll take it from there and just stay on some medication to hopefully clear it up,” Capuano said. “I’ve heard of people that have gone through kidney stones, when they talk about the pain, and the sharpness of the pain. Especially now that I know what it feels like, I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody.”