The Islanders practiced for an hour Wednesday, then met with the coaching staff for another hour. "Just a little meeting," coach Jack Capuano said.
Then they packed their 5-15-5 record off to Boston for tonight's game against the 15-8-3 Bruins, with the full knowledge that there are no magic bullets to fire.
His players, Capuano said, "are at this level for a reason, right? I mean, these guys that are sitting in that room are in the best league in the world. They have to believe in one another, they have to come together a little bit more and believe and trust in one another, but it takes 60 minutes, and whether a guy's gonna play two minutes in the course of the game or a guy gets 20 minutes, everybody's got to pull their weight and elevate their game a little bit more."
Summoned from Bridgeport three weeks ago to replace the fired Scott Gordon, Capuano is operating out of a hotel room ("Private hideaway," he said) and assured that he is "settling in just fine. I've had a lot of these guys in Bridgeport, been coaching them for a while. We're just trying to come in here and do the best we can as a team. But - you know what? - people ask me if I was nervous. No nerves, been doing it for a while now, so there's not a lot of time to think. Just trying to get back on track."
All concerned are fully aware of the Islanders' forlorn streak of losing 17 of their last 18 games - Capuano has been on board for eight games and seven losses - so there are no particular surprises about their approach. Capuano acknowledged attention has been given to defensive and offensive adjustments, "but right now, it really comes down to work ethic.
"They've gotta believe. We need more emotion on the bench . . . I think if we do the intangibles, and control our work ethic and the things we can control, I think we can give ourselves a chance to win.
"It's gonna come. Right now, as you know, when you go through a situation like this, it's not physically, it's mentally draining on them. So we just want them to go shift by shift, period by period. Don't worry about anything else but winning that shift."