Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jonas Sigel of the CP at Sportsnet,
Even a rocky season, which led to the recent firing of long-time head coach Jack Capuano, seemingly hasn’t changed the long-term outlook or commitment of the club’s captain, who can become a first-time unrestricted free agent following the 2017-18 season.
Tavares said Saturday that he was even willing to start talks on a new contract this summer when he’s first eligible to sign an extension on July 1.
"I’ve always stated how much I enjoy playing on Long Island and the organization, how well they’ve supported me," Tavares said during the media day portion of NHL all-star weekend. "Obviously we’ve had some new ownership (come aboard recently) and they’ve brought some real commitment and shown their vision for the future so I’m excited about where the Islanders are headed and hopefully we can work something out."
from Allan Kreda of the New York Times,
“Here we go,” he said while approaching the waiting throng of television cameras and reporters.
The pressure is instantly on Weight, 45, a Stanley Cup winner with Carolina in 2006 who started his career with the Rangers and finished it with the Islanders in 2011. Since then, Weight had been an assistant under Capuano, who led the team to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons.
But with the squad enduring an inconsistent first half, squandering leads and losing games late, General Manager Garth Snow made the coaching switch, putting Weight in charge on an interim basis.
“When it comes down to it, we have to play better,” said Weight, a native of Warren, Mich., who served as the captain of the Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers during his 19-year playing career. “I’ll just be standing a little more to the right on the bench. Guys have to play better, and I’m going to let them know when they’re not.”
The Islanders need an updated blueprint and a broader vision. They missed their chance to build on having finally won a playoff series for the first time in 23 years. It is hard to keep thinking of them as a team of the future, what with John Tavares in his eighth season and the wave of young players behind him never having flourished.
-Mark Hermann of Newsday where you can read more on the Islanders.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
With the team at 17-17-8 and in last place in Eastern Conference following a season in which it won a playoff series for the first time in 23 years, Snow surprisingly said a decision had been made prior to this announcement that Capuano was not going to be the coach next season.
“At the end of the day, organizationally, I don’t think Jack was probably going to be a coach we were going to bring back,” Snow said on a conference call. “At this time, to name Dougie Weight interim head coach, we can start a coaching search now and not have to worry about the ramifications of trying to do that with Jack as head coach.”
So it rang incredibly hollow when Snow dropped the cliche about how Capuano “is an excellent coach.” Snow callously added: “When you’re a coach in this league, sometimes you’re a victim of different circumstances.”
Right, so if all that’s true, there was no way Capuano was going to be the coach next season?
Either way, the circumstances Capuano were put in this season were created by Snow. The GM spent this past summer watching as stalwarts Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin signed elsewhere, and attempted to replace them with a bloated contract for winger Andrew Ladd and the addition of veteran winger Jason Chimera.
added 6:33pm, from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
from the New York Islanders,
New York Islanders President and General Manager Garth Snow announced today that Jack Capuano has been relieved of his duties as Head Coach. Assistant General Manager Doug Weight has been named Interim Head Coach.
"The New York Islanders would like to thank Jack for his tireless work throughout his seven seasons with the organization as Head Coach," Snow said. "His leadership guided the team to the playoffs in three of the past four years, which included two straight 100-point seasons. He is a great coach and an even better person. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
Capuano ranks second on the Islanders all-time list in both games coached (482) and wins (227), behind legendary Hall of Fame coach, Al Arbour (1,500 coached, 740 wins). With a record of 227-191-64, Capuano was the NHL's fourth-longest tenured coach, behind Claude Julien, Joel Quenneville and Dave Tippett.
"It's an honor to have served this historic franchise and its passionate fans," Capuano said. "I'd like to thank Garth and our ownership group for the opportunity to be the Head Coach of the Islanders. I'd also like to recognize our coaching staff, training staff and players for all of their hard work."
fom Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- Now is the time for the Islanders to get in on the bidding for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, both placed on the block by the dysfunctional Avalanche, both dynamic, highly skilled offensive players who would jump-start an attack that has produced the fewest five-on-five shot attempts in the NHL.
Landeskog, the 24-year-old captain, would fit neatly on Tavares’ left side. Duchene, the 25-year-old who went third in the same entry draft in which No. 91 was first overall, could either play on Tavares’ wing or center the club’s second line.
Colorado is seeking a top-four defenseman, but who isn’t? And while it would be unwise for the Islanders to move Travis Hamonic in a deal for either player, Snow should be willing to discuss sending Nick Leddy — a very good one whose annual $5.5 million cap hit through 2021-22 meshes neatly with Duchene’s $6 million per through 2018-19 and Landeskog’s $5.57 million per through 2020-21 — out west as part of a deal that would reshape the team, reset the season and reenergize the franchise.
Or Snow could stand pat and pledge allegiance to the status quo. What does he have to lose? Only his job.
- Surely the Red Wings’ focus is not on extending their playoff-qualification streak to 26 seasons when the team is nowhere close to Cup contention and hasn’t been for years.
The fact is, Detroit has not won a single playoff round over the past three seasons, has won one in the last five and three in seven years since losing their title defense to Pittsburgh in the 2009 final.
It’s time for GM Ken Holland and the franchise to take one step back in order to take two steps forward, even if this is the last season for what will be a hardly lamented Joe.
Joe Louis Arena: Hockey’s Shea Stadium.
more on the Islanders and other hockey topics...
from Steven Marcus of Newsday,
John Tavares is not looking to escape the woes surrounding the Islanders. Rather, he reaffirmed his commitment to remain with the organization despite the opportunity to test free agency after the 2017-18 season.
“I think for myself, I’ve always shown and talked about my commitment here,’’ said the four-time All-Star, who signed a six-year, $33-million extension in 2011, on Monday at Northwell Health Ice Center. “Wanting to have success here and keep building on some of the good things we’ve done. Obviously, this [low] point’s been disappointing.’’
The Islanders, who have played 38 games, are last in the Eastern Conference. Tavares has only 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) and has scored two goals in the last 11 games.
“For myself, I know that I have not been to the level that I expect of myself and the standard that I want to be at,’’ he said. “[I keep] trying to improve and get better. I need to be counted on more, to be more of a difference-maker.’’
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- Through 35 games, Milan Lucic is Edmonton’s No. 3 scorer with 10 goals and 14 assists. The ex-Bruin is on pace to score 56 points, almost right in line with his 20-35—55 output last season with Los Angeles.
Half of Lucic’s production, however, has taken place on the power play. In Edmonton’s 3-2 win over Arizona on Wednesday, Lucic scored his fourth power-play goal by hammering home a close-range strike on Mike Smith. Lucic is averaging 2:59 of power-play time per game, second-most on the team behind Connor McDavid (3:11). The left wing is seeing more man-advantage opportunities than he did in LA, where he averaged 2:07 of PP time per game.
The curious thing about Lucic’s first year as an Oiler is how he hasn’t produced with the same efficiency at even strength, especially considering he’s been riding with McDavid and Jordan Eberle on Edmonton’s first line. You would think a pee-wee could average a point per game with McDavid as a center. But it hasn’t been that easy for Lucic. The former Bruin is averaging a career-worst 1.22 five-on-five points per 60 minutes of play, according to http://www.corsica.hockey In co.mparison, McDavid is averaging 2.64 points per 60....
- It’s hard enough for John Tavares to center Josh Bailey and Anders Lee. On deeper teams, neither Bailey nor Lee would be considered first-line wings. The bigger issue is how short the Islanders’ bench becomes after Tavares takes his shift. Coach Jack Capuano’s second line is Andrew Ladd, Alan Quine, and Jason Chimera, hardly a murderers’ row of offense. It means opponents can deploy all their top defensive dogs against Tavares, who is so good that he still manages to create chances. For example, the Bruins rolled out Chara and Patrice Bergeron against No. 91. Against Pittsburgh, Chara and Bergeron were separated, tasked to defend Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, respectively. Tavares is signed through 2018 at a $5.5 million annual song. The Islanders may have to double his payday just to convince him to stay in Brooklyn.
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