Islanders general manager Garth Snow on Friday reiterated his support for coach Jack Capuano and the current roster, which is tied for last in the Eastern Conference.
“I have a lot of belief in everyone in that room,” Snow told reporters in a 10-minute chat at Northwell Health Ice Center hours before the Islanders lost to the Penguins in overtime, 3-2. “Jack, the staff, our players, I have a lot of confidence in everyone in that room. The great part about facing adversity is you see who rises to the top. It doesn’t always feel easy for our fans. When you face adversity, it’s a great challenge, and I look forward to seeing who rises to that challenge.”
After reaching the playoffs three of the previous four years and winning a playoff round last spring for the first time since 1993, the Islanders are an uninspiring 5-8-4. It has brought the fans to a tense point, and they have called for Capuano’s firing at recent home games.
“I understand the frustration of our fans,” Snow said. “It’s the same passionate fan base that blew the roof off the Coliseum in the Pittsburgh series [in 2013], in the Washington series [in 2015] in the final year of the Coliseum, and they blew the roof off Barclays Center last year. It’s a passionate fan base. We’re in New York. We’re going to hear it when we do well and we’re going to hear it when we don’t do so well.”
Snow said he has the full support of first-year majority owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin, who have made no public comments about the team since the season began. He said he has the green light to make any trades to improve the club. League sources indicate that Snow has been involved in numerous conversations with fellow general managers during the past two weeks as he searches for a scoring forward, but nothing has materialized.
“I’ve had the great fortune, I’ve been doing this for 10 years with Charles Wang as our owner,” Snow said. “The last two years, I’ve been able to work with Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin and I’ve had their support. I’ve been very fortunate to be a manager and have the support from ownership that I’ve had the last 10 years. I know that doesn’t always happen. I’m very grateful and appreciative of all the support I get.”
Snow added that he doesn’t see changing the three-goaltender situation anytime soon. Jaroslav Halak made his seventh consecutive start last night and Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube have shared practice time as the backups.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be in that situation. It stinks,” former goaltender Snow said when asked about Berube, who has yet to play this season. “I think he’s handling it like a professional. You rewind to last year, start the season, Chicago home and home, Jaro was injured, we picked up J-F on waivers, and thank goodness we did. There were times even though we had three goalies on our roster, two were healthy . . . We’ll carry as many goalies as we see fit.”
Snow doesn’t sound like a GM ready to make drastic changes.
“We’ll always look to improve our team, all avenues — we’ve gone every route to build this team,” he said. “I believe in the guys we have in that room right now. It will never prevent us from looking to improve our team, but those guys in there are going to rise to the top and I have a lot of belief in them.”