Jack Capuano’s coaching job with the Islanders appears safe for now.
General manager Garth Snow gave Capuano a vote of confidence in Toronto where he was attending the GM meetings.
“Jack is an excellent coach,” Snow told The Sports Network on Tuesday. “We have good players. I love our coaching staff. In fact, last time I checked, he coached in the World Cup and there were some pretty good coaching staffs.”
Snow added, “I see some guys just lacking in confidence. I have a lot of confidence in our players. We have a good team. I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff. We’re coming off two 100-point seasons. I think that speaks for itself for how good of a staff we have. It’s an 82-game marathon, not a sprint. We’ll keep trying to get better every day.’’
The Islanders are last place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-8-3 record for 13 points.
Capuano said he first learned of Snow’s remarks after Wednesday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center. “The fact that he said that, I think he knows what our coaching staff is capable of doing,’’ said Capuano, who is in his seventh season. “We showed [that] three out of the last four years here with the runs that we’ve had.
“I know it’s frustrating, not just for myself, the players, the fans. Nobody wants our guys to win more than our coaching staff for those guys in that room, so we’ll continue to stay positive, focus on the things that we’re doing well. We’re just going to have to score some goals here along the way.’’
Snow’s backing of Capuano was endorsed by the team’s owners, a source said. There was no mention of how long the vote of confidence would remain if the team continues to struggle.
“I’m not surprised, he’s been here for a long time, and done a very good job,’’ captain John Tavares said of Snow’s endorsement. “We got his back . . . Obviously, it’s reality in pro sports. Whether it’s players or coaches. Changes are made year to year, throughout the season sometimes. I think Cappy and our staff have worked extremely hard to try to find ways to get us going, get to another level . . . For us, go out there and execute it, really that’s here, that’s on us, starting with myself.’’
Casey Cizikas agreed, saying, “I think Cappy’s one of the most dedicated guys, spends a lot of time trying to prep us, getting ready for games. It hasn’t been easy right now, but there’s still a lot of games to go in the season. A lot of time for us to turn it around. Everybody plays for everyone. It doesn’t matter who it is. You’re part of this organization. There’s pride in calling yourself an Islander.’’
Travis Hamonic said the poor start is on everyone. “By no means is it acceptable for our group or what we built as our standard here,’’ he said. “With that, being negative isn’t going to do anything. Name me one thing in life that’s happened where being negative helps. Nothing. You just become more negative.’’
The Islanders host the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins Friday. “Rival or not, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing right now,’’ Hamonic said. “We need a win, obviously.’’