Monday, April 11, 2011

Capt. Jack Behind the Bench

Since Friday night, the rumors thrown out by many that follow the NY Islanders are that Garth Snow will be handing interim Coach Jack Capuano a new contract with the NHL club.

All I can say to these "sources" is ... Duh. Of course the Islanders like to make their big announcements before others print them, but in all honesty -- do we not see this coming?

Jack was put in the same category as Jacques Lemaire by Stan Fischler in his ability to right a listing ship. During every post game locker room free-for-all, you would hear it from the players. But what solidified it for me weeks ago was watching Jack walk into the locker room and shake each player's hand after impressive wins. He wouldn't say a word. There was an understanding between coach and player and the appreciation for what was done on the ice. This was the connection that was missing all along.

I may have only been blogging for five years, but indeed I have been around practices since the Steve Stirling days. The relationship between coach and players is totally different. Relaxed and respectful. Maybe Jack will be the coach that the improving Islanders will go through walls for. Isn't that what we're looking for?

Attitude. That seems to be the word that was used most often by each player yesterday. The attitude he instills in the players is one of winning. There is also the comic side to the big man that makes what he is trying to teach stick in their heads.

I asked a few players if there were any special Capuano-isms they would keep with them through the years. To a man, each gave me a broad smile, a little laugh and thought of all the things he's said that couldn't be repeated for the press. The look on their faces was priceless.

PA Parenteau offered up the G-rated "Use the yellow." Another said "shoot, shoot" was drilled in his head and the graphic "Shot one past his ear!" But these were only the ones they would tell me. The ones that meant the most to them, they keep to themselves.

Jack is the right coach for THIS team. And while Doug Weight did an eloquent job of refuting the idea that Scott Gordon wasn't a good coach, the fact is Capuano was the right man at the right time and has earned another shot.

Rumors say two year deal, I'd say that's a good start.

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