Islanders coach Jack Capuano out of hospital, might coach in Monday's game
Jack Capuano got out of the hospital Sunday morning after surgery to remove kidney stones and went straight to Nassau Coliseum.
There's no time in this 48-game season to miss meetings. So Capuano got a ride over to the arena, watched the Islanders practice and headed home to rest and mull over the video cuts he'd seen from the team's 2-1 loss to the Devils on Saturday night.
"I'm not going to panic with the lines or 'D' pairs in the first game or two," said Capuano, who will be a game-day decision Monday to coach the Isles' 1 p.m. game against the Lightning. "But we certainly can't ride it out if guys aren't getting the job done."
There were some encouraging moments in Saturday's opener, but also some all-too-familiar failings, notably the lack of goals and the lack of scoring chances for the top line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo.
The Isles' most consistent forwards were the ones willing to crash the area around Marty Brodeur. David Ullstrom, Michael Grabner, Brad Boyes and 34-year-old Keith Aucoin, picked up off waivers Thursday, were the ones most willing to do so.
The Isles were stifled by the Devils' system, putting only 19 shots on Brodeur. They didn't gamble too much to lead to chances at their own goal, but the Isles didn't dictate the pace for enough of the game.
Monday's visit from the Lightning will bring more room to operate for the Isles, but also more speed and skill from their opponent. Tampa Bay opened the season with a 6-3 win over the Capitals on Saturday, going 3-for-7 on the power play.
"Jersey does what they do, but we still have to generate more," Capuano said. "Whether it's the Devils or Tampa or anyone, it's up to us. It's real simple: The guys who do the things we want them to do will stay in the lineup."
There isn't a whole lot for Capuano to change in and out of the lineup right now, other than Casey Cizikas for Eric Boulton on the fourth line or perhaps puck-moving defenseman Thomas Hickey for Joe Finley. The Isles' core has to produce more, because two losses constitute big trouble in this shortened season.
Notes & quotes:Josh Bailey (knee) said he hoped to resume skating on his own Monday morning, but a source indicated that Bailey will not be cleared to resume practice until after the team returns from its four-game road trip. Jesse Joensuu (groin) is not close to returning to the ice, even for solo workouts.