In between the chugging of Kool-Aid and staring at the poster of Garth Snow hanging above my bed, I took some time to look into Garth's offseason acquisitions and just what they do for the Islanders.
Though I am not here to talk about how Kulemin and Grabovski should be reunited, or how Conacher's career can really go either way from here on out, it's made clear that with what many are calling a successful offseason for Snow, his moves have subsequently put Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano on the hot seat.
In his four seasons under the helm, Capuano has managed to collect 118 wins (39 OT/SO) in 277 games, gaining a total of %49.5 percent of possible points during the regular season.
Not too worthy of a "job well done."
But looking over his rosters for those years, names like Milan Jurcina, Steve Staios, Marty Reasoner,and Jon Sim are a few of many that represented teams that weren't built to win, by any means.
With multiple rosters contrived of players who should either be playing in the AHL, or for some, not even playing at all; Capuano was given a hall pass and any and every excuse was made in his defense.
"He's a young coach, coaching a young team."
"He was given a team that isn't ready to win."
"He is what the team needs, a talent developing coach taking young players under his wing."
After adding depth to the team's forward lines with the addition of names like Kulemin, Grabovski and Conacher, plus the acquisition of goalie talents in Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson, it is clear that Garth has improved the team. Just how big of an improvement is yet to be known, but an improvement none the less.
As exciting as it may be to finally see some talent coming this way, it also weighs down on Capuano, who no longer has the aforementioned excuses to his favor.
For the first time in his short NHL coaching career, Capuano is handling a truly talented team, and all eyes have now shifted from Snow to Capuano.
During the end of the season, the big question was what Garth would do come free agency, and with free agency lulling down, the question is now just how Capuano will handle what Garth brought in.
Finding himself in the crosshair of a lot of criticism for his coaching tactics, including his use of timeouts [for reasons beyond me] the pressure is on for Cappy and how he manages his new assets.
The time for excuses is over, the time for putting together a winning combination is now.
With 15 NHL worthy Forwards fighting for 12 spots, and 8 NHL worthy Defensemen fighting for 6, Capuano has his work cut out from the get go. How he handles the team from Day 1 of training camp will make all the difference in how he manages to put together his lines/pairing. Though we all know Cappy is a huge advocate of changing up his line combos on the fly.
Regardless, the ball is in Capuano's court and despite Tavares setting out to make a banging comeback, Halak out to prove he is an elite goalie, and Okposo looking to prove he can do it again, Cappy is facing the biggest challenge out of the entire organization.
His employment depends on it.