Monday, November 29, 2010

New York Islanders: Capuano Results Mixed & Attendance

Jack Capuano has coached 5 games for the Islanders and while the effort has been there for the most part the results have been mixed.

The Islanders are injury riddled. Out right now -

Mark Streit
Kyle Okposo
Milan Jurcina
Andrew MacDonald
Jack Hillen

Also, Trent Hunter, Doug Weight and Mike Mottau are all dinged up.

Capuano so far has "simplified" the Gordon system which was said was high on situational coaching and given the team more freedom to be creative.

What exactly this means is a matter of opinion. Capuano has been called a players coach while Gordon is an X's and O's coach. That's the best way it can be explained.

Under Gordon the Islanders were not getting out shot by wide margins like they are now but that issue can be traced to the expanded responsibilities of two players - Bruno Gervais and Radek Martinek.

Both players came through the Islanders system and seem to be able to keep their jobs despite their porous defensive play.

You can put Columbus' overtime winner directly on Martinek's shoulders who was faked out so bad on the rush that his pants and jockstrap were in the opposite corner while he sat there wondering what just happened as the Jackets celebrated around him.

Sitting in the press box makes it easier to see who is in the right and wrong positions and who is hurting the team.

Gervais and Martinek are hurting the team and need to go. Who takes their place?

There has to be someone better in Bridgeport that has more sense defensively.

Mark Katic? Dustin Kohn? They cannot be any worse and should fill those gaps until Jurcina and MacDonald get back.

Dylan Reese has not embarrassed himself in his call up and Travis Hamonic has played brilliantly in his own end and came within a whisker of winning the Columbus game.

When Jurcina and MacDonald get back they should not replace Reese and Hamonic, they should replace Gervais and Martinek.

They can't get back soon enough.

Rick Dipetro has stepped up his game and is showing that he has something left other than befuddled looks and poor positioning.

Rick may never be as acrobatic as he once was and that's probably a good thing as his acrobatics no doubt contributed to his injuries. The last few games he has rarely been caught out of position. Its amazing the saves you can make when you don't have to dive across the crease every other shot.

Dipetro has seemingly shaken off the 2 years worth of rust and settled into a nice groove here and I look forward to seeing him continue his resurgence.

The fans have had doubts about Rick but at the same time most Islander fans are rooting hard for him.

The offense continues to struggle. That is not going to change unless the Islanders can trade Gervais and Martinek for Malkin and Ovechkin.

They will have to continue to throw the puck at the net and see what happens. Okposo is still 2 weeks away and how much he helps when he returns is a huge question mark.

The biggest thing the Islanders have to do is get healthy to fill the monstrous holes on defense and try to find ways to score goals. The goaltending has to remain solid.

The attendance at the Coliseum against the Blue Jackets was announced at over 8,000.

If there were over 3,500 people there I would be shocked. Support has always been a hard thing to attain for any team that isn't performing.

Look at Yankee Stadium in the late 80's and early 90's. They were drawing 15,000 a game and everyone was talking about how the area and stadium would never draw big crowds back to the Bronx.

Look what success brings and it shows that no matter where you play, if you win people will come.

Teams that don't win do not get crowds especially in New York. Not in this economy or in any economy.

Unless the Islanders start winning hockey games they will play in front of empty seats.

Its an ugly cycle isn't it?

You don't win, people don't go, the politicians see no one and wont budge on the building, so you can't improve the team through free agency.

There is one cure for all of the Islanders ills. Winning. Can they save this season and still challenge for that playoff spot?

They have 14 games before new years. I do not think that its crazy to say the team needs at least 20 points out of those 14 games. Some of the Injured Islanders including Okposo will return in December.

The season isn't over but the Islanders have to turn it around NOW. December is the Islanders chance to turn it around starting with 2 games against the Rangers. If at the end of the month the teams record is 15-16-5 or better the team will be in business for an exciting second half.

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