New Senators bench boss D.J. Smith made his first addition to his staff on Thursday and named Jack Capuano as the team's associate coach. Capuano, 52, comes to Ottawa with nearly a decade of NHL coaching experience highlighted by 7 years as the head coach for the New York Islanders from 2010-17.
Smith shared in a news release yesterday that he was hoping to bring in a former NHL coach to help support his staff moving forward and Capuano jumped at the opportunity to join a promising, young group in Ottawa.
"The more I got talking to D.J. with his passion, his enthusiasm and his vision the way that he wants to play and the role and responsibility that he wants to give me as far as the defence and the penalty kill, it's a perfect fit for me," said Capuano. "I look forward with the young team that we have to promoting growth and continuing on the right path to win a championship."
"Our goal, number one, is to connect with these guys and develop and play the way that we need to play," he continued. "I think D.J. has that vision and that's why it excites me to be around this young group."
Capuano is especially eager to take the reins of the Sens' talented, young defence corps that is headlined by NHL All-Star Thomas Chabot and features top prospects like Erik Brannstrom and Jacob Bernard-Docker in the club's pipeline. He noted that today's forwards are incredibly skilled and believes that a focus on fundamentals should help ease Ottawa's young defender's transition to the NHL.
"The biggest thing for me in today's game as a defenceman is not only the body positioning and how you are playing your angles but it's your stick," Capuano said. "That's the one thing we've emphasized wherever I've been is having a really good stick and knowing how to use that stick because the forwards today are very skilled and very quick."