Former Islanders coach Jack Capuano has been keeping a low profile since he was fired last Tuesday, but he is keeping busy.
Two sources told Newsday that at least one team has reached out to the Islanders to request permission to speak with Capuano. The sources did not identify the team, but aside from the Islanders, only the Florida Panthers and expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights are without a permanent coach.
Las Vegas general manager George McPhee worked with Capuano and the Islanders the past two seasons as an adviser to GM Garth Snow, so McPhee certainly would know what Capuano could bring to the Golden Knights, who will begin play next season.
Florida fired Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, and it was that vacancy that started the ball rolling toward Capuano’s dismissal. According to reports, the Islanders asked for permission to speak to Gallant in late December, a surprising move considering Capuano still was on the job with the Isles. Snow intimated in numerous interviews this past week that the decision to speak to Gallant was not his alone, that owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin also were involved.
“It’s not a dictatorship,” Snow said.
Snow also said that because the decision was made to look for a replacement behind the bench, he decided to let Capuano go last week to allow the longtime Islanders coach to leave with some dignity.
“The organization didn’t feel Jack was going to be a coach we were going to bring back . . . We can start a coaching search now and not have to worry about the ramifications of trying to do that with Jack still the coach,” Snow said on Tuesday.
After 483 games behind the Islanders’ bench and work with USA Hockey, Capuano has developed a solid reputation around the league. That might be enough to entice Las Vegas or another team to bring him on for next season.
“He’s prepared — holy [expletive], does he prepare,” Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said of Capuano last month. The two worked together at September’s World Cup.
Said Tortorella, “I try to impress upon him, sometimes you can’t give the team all the info you have. I think that’s important. You can have all the info, but how much gets to the player can be too much at times.”
NEW PANTS GIVE
BERUBE THE FITS
Sportsnet reported last week that the NHL sent out a memo to all 30 teams stipulating that goaltenders must wear new, slimmer-fitting hockey pants by Feb. 4. J-F Berube is ready to comply, but he said the new standards are not exactly, well, uniform.
“I feel like from CCM to Vaughn to Brians, they all have different fits,” Berube said of the various outfitters.
“This is my second CCM pair and it’s totally different than the first. There’s no consistency in it. I try to do some adjustment, especially protection-wise. The first time I got them, there was a lot of protection missing. The padding was softer than the old ones. If you can imagine slimmer pants with less padding, that’s not a good combo.”
Berube, who made only his third start of the season Saturday night, said he’s curious to see if there’s any change in goal- scoring once all of the goaltenders start to wear the new pants. “I don’t think so,” he said. “Goals are up this year and no one’s been wearing them yet. Goalies always find a way to adapt, so we’ll see.”
GREISS JOINS SHUTOUT CLUB
Thomas Greiss is the seventh Islanders goaltender to record consecutive shutouts, but no Isles goaltender has ever had three straight. Greiss goes for that Sunday night against the Flyers.
Jaroslav Halak did it in 2014-15 and Rick DiPietro (twice), Tommy Salo, Wade Flaherty, Ron Hextall and Chico Resch also have done it. Resch holds the franchise record for longest shutout streak at 178:29. Greiss was pulled after allowing a seventh goal against the Hurricanes last weekend, so he’s right at 120:00.