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Islanders This Week | Free Falling Islanders in Need of Answers

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Hockey This Week | Islanders This Week | By Tony Stabile | Islanders Ticket Deals

Free Falling Islanders in Need of Answers

The New York Islanders are in a free fall. After being completely dominated by the Detroit Red Wings, the Islanders found a way to lose to the Washington Capitals in a game they were up 2-1 with less than a minute left….and on the power play.

The past 2 weeks the Islanders are 0-5-1 being outscored 25-11 and now sit 29th in the NHL and at this rate will be in the running to draft Griffin Reinhart’s younger brother Sam this June.

Something has to change.

I do not believe this is Jack Capuano’s fault in the least. The players love playing for him, he has provided stability for them, and has known most of them since the first day they entered the organization, but his run as coach may be fast approaching its end of life. Again, I do not blame Capuano for the situation the Islanders are in, but I am beginning to believe that he has taken the Islanders as far has he can and it may be time to change the voice in the room. It’s always been a foregone conclusion that Doug Weight was the next in line to become the bench boss of the Islanders, but I don’t see how Garth Snow could put him in charge with the task of waking this team out of its slumber.

Peter Laviolette is available and there have been rumors of an “understanding” and a “healing” between owner Charles Wang and Laviolette, who was fired by former GM Mike Milbury. Whether or not that is true, or if Laviolette would be the Isles first choice; I have no idea, what I do know that if you want this team to have someone who has both won a Stanley Cup and lost one, he is the perfect guy for the job.

As you walk around the Islanders dressing room, you talk to guys like Tavares, Martin, McDonald, Clutterbuck and Hamonic and they are saying all the right things, but the results still aren’t there. The effort is there, but then it seems to just get away from them. A bad goal, a non-call, a penalty…seems almost anything these days can crack the fragile psyche of the Islanders at a moment’s notice.

There is no way to describe how important Libomir Visnovsky is to this team, and without anyone to fill his minutes, it has sent the defense into a shattered mess. A lack of depth has left the Islanders in a position where you need to play Matt Carkner every night (instead of utilizing him much like the coaching staff did last year and saw him be very productive). The team had to farm out Matt Donovan after the increased minutes showed cracks in his game. Newly recalled Calvin de Haan, coming off a season which he only played 3 games due to shoulder surgery, needed some time to prove he was healthy and frankly, it would have been a little much asking a kid with 1 NHL game to save this defense after losing last season to injury.

What now?

I truly believe that the Islanders would like to see the team save Capuano here, but as I spoke about earlier, I think he’s brought this team as far as he possibly could bring them. Barring a miracle, I think a change behind the bench is inevitable; and needs to happen before this team has no chance to get themselves out of this hole they’ve dug themselves.

A trade would help certainly….

Look at a Michael Del Zotto, or a Dmitri Kulikov, both are young, under control, and struggling in their current situation. The team has more than enough prospects it can move to acquire someone who they can control for more than this season, and help them to reduce minutes for Radek Martinek and Carkner.

Time is running out for this team in 13/14, it’s now or never.

Isles Notes

  • de Haan was great as he played over 20 minutes and consistently made the strong first pass and the smart play.
  • I personally think you will see Anders Nilsson again Tuesday. His play was steady and his calmness in the net definitely seemed to settle his defense. The play of de Haan could also have played a big role against Washington. But with Poulin doing nothing spectacular the past 2 weeks, Nilsson should get more playing time after this performance.

For Hockey This Week …. I’m Tony Stabile

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonystabile

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Senior Editor, NHL columnist at Hockey This Week

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