Jack Capuano off NY Islanders’ hot seat, or vote of confidence equals death?

There are three ways to read New York Islanders GM Garth Snow’s attempt to remove Jack Capuano from the coaching hot seat, as was reported by both Darren Dreger of TSN and the NY Post on Wednesday.

1. Snow believes Cap has gotten a raw deal.

Snow’s contention to TSN is that he’s as much the problem as his coach, taking responsibility for the team’s dismal play (9-18-5, last in the Metroterrible and above only Buffalo in the East). The Islanders have struggled through significant injuries (Visnovsky, Nabokov) and poor performances (so long, Pierre-Marc Bouchard), and that’s not on Capuano, whom Snow believes in. So he’ll set out to improve the team through trades, and Capuano is safe.

2. Snow just gave Capuano the kiss of death.

A coach getting a public vote of confidence from his general manager is usually like Fredo getting a kiss from Michael Corleone, so maybe this is Snow’s way of tempering the Peter Laviolette/Doug Weight speculation in an attempt to buy his coach just a little more time before his inevitable firing this season. After all, Garth Snow is friends and trading partners with Paul Holmgren, a general manager that loves to give an emphatic public commitment right before one’s desk and/or locker is packed.

3. There’s No Reason To Fire Him Now Anyway

The Islanders are 12 points out of the wild card and nine points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the No. 3 seed in the division. It’s going to take a heretofore-unseen level of dominance for them to get back into the playoff picture. So Capuano remains behind the bench during a dismal season, the Islanders tumble into a high draft pick (keep in mind the pick they traded for Thomas Vanek is lottery protected) and then Cap gets turfed in the offseason in favor of Laviolette or Weight.

What's your read on Capuano and the Islanders?