Heading into his first game as an NHL head coach, Jack Capuano admitted he expected some nerves once he got behind the bench.

"I think there will be butterflies. When I went from the ECHL to the AHL and to the NHL as an assistant I had them," he said before last night's game. "I think it's always going to be like that. But you have to have the confidence and belief in yourself to know you're going to do the right things.''

Capuano, formerly head coach of the team's AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, assumed the interim position Monday after Scott Gordon was fired.

The 44-year-old Cranston, R.I., native had a 133-100-8-14 record in four-plus seasons with the Sound Tigers. He joined the Islanders in 2005-06 as an assistant coach.

"It's different for me. In the AHL it was about development. In the NHL, it's about winning,'' Capuano said. "We just have to make sure we're on the right track and get these guys moving in the right direction.''


advertisement | advertise on newsday

DiPietro hurts hand

Goalie Rick DiPietro appeared to tweak his left hand during an optional morning skate yesterday. It was not clear how he suffered the injury (believed to be minor),

DiPietro skated to the bench and trainer Garrett Timms examined him. DiPietro resumed practicing but later rode the stationary bike with his hand wrapped in ice. When asked if he was all right, DiPietro said, "I'm awesome."

Another debut

Dylan Reese, recalled from Bridgeport Monday to replace D Jack Hillen (concussion), played his first NHL game of the season.