There was no news emanating from the Islanders on Tuesday, a day off for the players and a day at the general managers meetings in Toronto for Garth Snow. That may have surprised some people, particularly the ones among the Barclays Center crowd calling for Jack Capuano’s head during Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Lightning.
But it appears that Snow is not readying the ax for his coach of seven seasons and 457 games. The Islanders don’t play again until the Penguins come to Brooklyn on Friday, so Capuano and his coaching staff started the process on Tuesday to figure out a solution to the many woes of their team, which dropped into the basement of the Eastern Conference following Carolina’s win Tuesday night.
Capuano stressed after Monday’s shutout loss, the ninth time in the Isles’ 16 games that they’ve scored two goals or fewer, that it’s his and his staff’s responsibility to find the right forward lines to get the team’s moribund offense going.
“That’s on me,” he said. “We have to find a way to get some offense.”
The numbers are almost all bad: A 5-8-3 record, the Islanders’ worst 16-game start since 2011-12; special teams that rank 26th (power play, 10.4 percent) and 22nd (penalty kill, 79.7 percent); one point in five games away from Barclays Center (0-4-1) and three forwards with more than three goals, one of whom, Shane Prince, was a healthy scratch on Monday.
Capuano’s postgame comments would indicate he’s going to shuffle his lines once again in the search for consistent puck possession and goals. John Tavares has played the majority of the last two weeks between Josh Bailey and Cal Clutterbuck. Andrew Ladd started the season on Tavares’ left and could return there when the team resumes practicing on Wednesday.
There are a couple of young options in Bridgeport, but Josh Ho-Sang was a healthy scratch last weekend after a strong start to his pro career. Michael Dal Colle is tied for the Sound Tigers lead with five goals, all at even strength, so he could certainly shake things up if he were recalled.
There’s also the trade route. The Islanders and Avalanche have been scouting one another in recent days and Colorado is sinking in the West as the Isles are sinking in the East, but swinging a roster-changing deal for the likes of Matt Duchene seems like a long shot.
It’s clear that the Islanders believe their current staff and roster can turn things around.
“Everything is fixable,” Clutterbuck said on Monday. “We’ve had success in here before and I think we know what needs to be done.”