With their 6-3 loss Saturday to the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders were officially eliminated from postseason contention. Sunday, rather than playing out the string with pride, they appeared to be playing like they wanted to get somebody fired.
The Islanders forwards put only three shots on goal in the first period, and coach Jack Capuano wasn't having any of it. After his group fell behind 2-1 early in the second, he sent a message to his half-hearted forward corps by sending out five defencemen for the next shift.
Capuano explained the move in the postgame:
"Our forwards weren't going. I think I posted in the locker room after the first period, there were lines that had one shot and lines that didn't even have a shot or an attempted shot. There was no urgency in our game tonight, no excuses, but sometimes some guy's gotta look in the mirror and they gotta compete for one another."
One wonders if it was the right time for some tough love: with the Islanders playing like a team that didn't much care to be on the ice, taking away their icetime seemed counterintuitive.
The move didn't appear to work. The Islanders' didn't score again all game, their forwards would only put eight more shots on goal, and the group surrendered two more goals in the period, eventually losing the game 5-1.
It was yet another sign of the ineffectiveness Capuano has shown as coach of the Islanders, but don't think it -- or anything Capuano has done this season -- will jeopardize his job. In an interview just prior to this game, owner Charles Wang endorsed both his GM and coach. From ESPN:
In an interview with MSG Network on its pregame show Sunday, Wang said he thinks Snow has done "a very good job," and expressed "complete confidence" in him.
When asked point-blank whether Snow and Capuano would retain their posts next season, Wang confirmed they would.
One wonders if the complete lack of a response in Capuano's curveball coaching move will change Wang's mind, or if three more outings like Sunday's could. Or maybe a historically bad record at home? With a loss to the Winnipeg Jets Thursday, the Islanders would finish the season 2011-12 season with a 16-18-6 home record, their worst since they won only 12 homes game in 2000-01.
Something has to change on Long Island.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney