MONTREAL -- Garth Snow isn't happy with the results his team has posted so far this season, but he isn't ready to do anything drastic.
This is the team the Islanders general manager assembled, so he's not interested yet in giving up on any of his struggling younger players or dumping veterans for draft picks either.
"As I've said many times, if there's an opportunity to upgrade our roster and make the team better, we'll do it, but not at the expense of our young guys or prospects," Snow told Newsday here on Wednesday, a day off for the Islanders before Thursday night's game with the Canadiens. "We're not going to mortgage our future to make a quick fix. That's not our plan."
The inconsistency his team has shown, not just this season but in recent seasons, has been nagging Snow as well as the team's fans. But Snow, with the blessing of owner Charles Wang, committed to a complete renovation of the franchise, building it around John Tavares without much room for big-budget risks.
That philosophy hasn't changed, even as the Islanders sit tied for 11th in the East, four points from eighth and two points from last, with 16 of the 48 games already gone by.
Monday's 7-0 shelling by the Flyers at home was the worst home shutout loss in team history. The Islanders, with Snow watching from high above in Scotiabank Place on Tuesday night, put forth a better effort but with the same result: a 3-1 loss to the Senators that left the Islanders 2-7-0 in their last nine games.
"Obviously, Monday was not a good performance," Snow said. "I thought we were better [Tuesday] night. The challenge for this group is to find ways to win those games, facing a good goaltender. There's challenges every night."
One of the big challenges has been the play of Rick DiPietro, who dropped to 0-3-0 this season with Tuesday's loss. Jack Capuano refused to comment on DiPietro's play for a second time. He also did not say anything about his backup goaltender after a 6-4 loss to the Hurricanes nine days ago, when DiPietro wandered out of his net and ended up giving up the tying goal early in the third period.
And Capuano refused comment on Tuesday, when DiPietro gave up a soft goal to make it 2-0 Senators, then dropped another soft shot for a rebound goal to clinch the 3-1 defeat.
"Rick's missed a good portion of the last four years and he's trying hard to get back to that All-Star level he'd been at," Snow said. "There's certain goals every goaltender wants back. We're all part of the team, all 23 guys on the roster. They all have to do what needs to be done to win games, it's not just one guy."
Snow said he has no plans to call up a prospect from Bridgeport just to shake up the roster. Forwards John Persson, Nino Niederreiter and Brock Nelson have all played well, as has defenseman Matt Donovan and goaltender Kevin Poulin in spots.
"The group we have [on the Islanders] has won games this year and looked good doing it at times," Snow said. "If we call someone up, it'll be based on what we need at that position at a given time. We made some waiver claims at the start of the season to bolster our depth and we think that's helped with the development of our prospects in Bridgeport."
It may be painful for die-hard fans to hear, but Snow is the one who started this project, with Wang completely on board. He's not about to change course.
"We think this team can win," Snow said, "because we've all seen how well we can play."
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