While Islanders head coach Jack Capuano has come under fire for their slow start to the season (they sit 15th in the Eastern Conference with a 5-8-3 record), not enough criticism has been directed towards general manager Garth Snow, suggests Peter Botte of the New York Daily News.
Snow has been at the helm of the Isles since 2006, retiring from his playing career to take the position. At the time, he stated that the goal was to take them from being a team looking to sneak into a playoff spot to one that would be a consistent contender but that has yet to be the case; two of their last three appearances came as a wild card or eighth seed.
While previous owner Charles Wang had placed significant restrictions on spending for the most, that isn’t the case with new owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin as the team sits with just over $600K in cap space according to CapFriendly. Snow’s offseason spending has yet to work out as left wingers Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera have underachieved while P.A. Parenteau is off to a good start…for New Jersey after the Islanders waived him in training camp.
Wang had a reputation for being very loyal to his employees but neither Capuano nor Snow have that type of history with the new ownership. In their first year owning the team, it’s hard to imagine them cleaning house so quickly but if the team continues to struggle, that could change. It’s not often that in-season GM changes are made given the lack of available candidates from other organizations which could play a role should ownership feel a change is necessary at some point.
Other notes from the Eastern Conference:
- The Senators are last in the NHL on the power play with a success rate of just 9.3% (a surprise given that Guy Boucher’s teams have a reputation for being strong in that regard). Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun wonders if sticking defenseman Dion Phaneuf up front in the crease to work as a more effective screener is the way to go. Boucher calls a move like that a last resort and is more inclined to try different forwards – including tough guy Chris Neil – in different spots on the man advantage for the time being.
- The Devils announced via Twitter that they have activated defenseman Jon Merrill off of injured reserve. Merrill broke his index finger in the preseason and has yet to suit up for New Jersey since the regular season got underway. He had five points in 47 games last season while averaging nearly 17 minutes per game of ice time. Still with the Devils, left winger Taylor Hall will not play tonight due to a lower body injury. Andrew Gross of Fire and Ice adds that Hall is being evaluated by team doctors and more should be known about his situation later today.