Jack Capuano fired as coach of Islanders
Assistant general manager Doug Weight takes over for last-place team in Eastern Conferenceby Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday and replaced him with assistant general manager Doug Weight.
The Islanders, who advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, are 17-17-8, last in the Eastern Conference. They defeated the Boston Bruins 4-0 on Monday.
"Obviously, we're not in a position where we want to be standing-wise," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "I think everyone's disappointed where we're at. At the end of the day, organizationally, I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were gonna bring back. At this point in time to name Dougie Weight interim coach, we can start a coaching search now and not have to worry about the ramifications of trying to do that when Jack was head coach."
Snow would not comment on how long Weight would coach. The Islanders will practice Wednesday and host the Dallas Stars at Barclays Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW+, NHL.TV).
"We're going to look at everything," Snow said. "Doug Weight has a great hockey mind. He's been behind the bench coaching for the last five years and has a ton of respect for the players in that room. But we're going to look for every opportunity to win games as they come. I'm not going to comment on who I'm meeting with or who we're talking to. It's a situation where we're just worried about one day, one game at a time … we'll do our business quietly and efficiently.
"We're at the halfway point of the season, and we're a .500 hockey club. It's just been a different season that's unfolded compared to the last two years. We need to turn this ship around, and I really have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and our players and it starts with our next game Thursday."
Video: Butch Goring discusses Jack Capuano on NHL Now
Assistant coach Bob Corkum, who had been watching games from the press box, will join Weight and assistant Greg Cronin behind the bench starting Thursday. Weight, a 19-season NHL forward who has never been a head coach, was an Islanders assistant coach, in addition to assistant GM, since 2011.
The Islanders are in the first season since Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin took over majority ownership from Charles Wang last July, when New York coincidentally lost three key forwards (Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin) in free agency. Snow signed Andrew Ladd to a seven-year contract and Jason Chimera for two years on July 1, but they've struggled in their first season as Islanders. Ladd has eight goals and four assists in 41 games; Chimera has 16 points in 42 games.
Snow said he would take 100 percent of the blame for the lack of success this season.
"I don't think there's a player on our roster I haven't had a hand in either drafting, picking up off waivers, a trade, free agent signing … same with the staff, whether it's trainers, the coaches, scouts," Snow said. "Obviously, I'm not hiding from the fact that it starts with me.
"Our expectation as a team is to always win a Stanley Cup. We're no different than the 29 other teams that are out there trying to win hockey games. I don't know that Jack fell short of expectations, I think when you're a head coach in this league, sometimes you're a victim of different circumstances and situations. … You have 23 players on your roster, and it's hard to make moves, obviously, in a salary-cap world. You don't see much movement during the season. Unfortunately, the coaches bear the brunt of those decisions."
Despite the possibility of Ledecky and Malkin hiring a president in the near future, Snow said he's not concerned about his job security. He has been New York's general manager since 2006.
"I don't even worry about that," Snow said. "I just worry about what I have to do on a day-to-day basis and do what I need to do, whether it's preparing for a draft, being a support system for players or coaches, trainers … as managers, we can't control anything else than what we do on a day-to-day basis."
Video: Friedman on Capuano, Islanders' future
Capuano coached the Islanders since Nov. 15, 2010, after Scott Gordon was fired. He was as an assistant with New York in 2005-06 and coached Bridgeport, its American Hockey League affiliate, from 2007-08 until he was promoted.
He is second in Islanders history behind Hall of Famer Al Arbour in games coached (482) and wins (227). Capuano (227-191-64) was the NHL's fourth-longest tenured coach, behind Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett.
"It's an honor to have served this historic franchise and its passionate fans," Capuano said in a statement. "I'd like to thank Garth and our ownership group for the opportunity to be the head coach of the Islanders. I'd also like to recognize our coaching staff, training staff and players for all of their hard work."
The Islanders had back-to-back 100-point seasons under Capuano in 2014-15 and 2015-16. They defeated the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference First Round last spring for their first Stanley Cup Playoff series win since 1993.
"We owe a ton of gratitude for the work that Jack did," Snow said. "A lot of these players on our team came up through our system through Bridgeport and [Capuano] coached some of those players as well. From where we went, going from a rebuild to making the playoffs three of the last four years, getting to the second round last year, he was a big contributor to that. We thank him and wish him all the best. I know he's going to have success wherever he ends up."