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Islanders keep Capuano as coach, drop interim tag

NHL.com @NHL

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Jack Capuano will be sticking around as coach of the New York Islanders, losing the interim tag Tuesday after guiding the team to a much-improved second half of the season.

Capuano was promoted from coach of the Islanders' Bridgeport AHL affiliate on Nov. 15 when Scott Gordon was fired in the midst of a 10-game losing streak.

Under the first-time NHL coach, the Islanders went 26-29-10, including 25-21-8 in the final 54 games. Overall, New York (30-39-13) finished last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth straight season and 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference.

"We have made tremendous strides as a team this season under Jack's direction and I'm confident that he's the right person to lead the Islanders into the playoffs," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. "Jack's work ethic and familiarity with the numerous players on our roster has eased his adjustment to the NHL and we look forward to him taking the Islanders to the next level."

In four seasons at Bridgeport, Capuano had a record of 133-100-8-14. He did well with the Islanders' young roster, leading many players that he also coached in the minor leagues.

"I'm extremely excited to remain the head coach of the Islanders," Capuano said in a statement. "The organization has built a tremendous core of players here and I look forward to helping the Islanders become a consistent contender for years to come."

Capuano was originally hired by the Islanders as an assistant coach for the 2005-06 season. Before coming to New York he served as general manager of the ECHL's Pee Dee Pride, and coached the team, as well, several times.

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