It would seem that less than a week after being fired as head coach of the New York Islanders, Jack Capuano is already garnering interest from at least one other NHL club, as Arthur Staple of Newsday reports. Two sources have indicated that one team has already reached out to the team seeking permission to interview Capuano, who was relieved of his duties after nearly 500 games behind the Islanders bench. Aside from the Isles, the only other teams that would appear to be in the market for a new bench boss are Florida, who discharged Gerard Gallant from his duties nearly two months ago, and the Vegas Golden Knights, who have yet to make their first head coaching hire.
Before assuming his current position as GM of the expansion Golden Knights, George McPhee spent the 2015-16 campaign in an advisory position with the Islanders, a connection Staple notes in his column. That relationship would likely be enough to warrant at least an interview, but ultimately Cappy will be one of many candidates the team considers.
Ironically, the Islanders reportedly asked for permission to speak with Gallant, and as Staple writes, that request evidently came prior to the team officially terminating Capuano.
Elsewhere in the Metro Division:
- Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin, out since December 27th due to a broken jaw, has returned to practice and has officially been cleared for contact, writes Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There is still no timetable for his return to game action but the fact he is back on the ice with no limitations suggests it shouldn’t be much longer. In fact, Nesbitt’s Post-Gazette colleague, Dave Molinari, relays that Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the blue liner could return prior to next weekend’s All-Star break. He was originally expected to miss from four to six weeks and as Nesbitt notes, Dumoulin is in the fourth week of rehab. Dumoulin has seven points, all assists, in 35 games this season and averages 19:45 of ice time per game for the Penguins.
- With the Philadelphia Flyers struggling in the goal-prevention department – they have allowed the fourth highest total in the NHL – Sam Carchidi of Philly.com suggests the team’s blue line could use some bite. Carchidi’s recommendation is to call up young defenseman Samuel Morin, the team’s first-round pick in 2013, and who the scribe likens to former Flyer Chris Pronger. When Philadelphia acquired Pronger via trade, then-GM Paul Holmgren said he was targeting someone who “would make life miserable for the other team,” and Carchidi sees that same potential in Morin. Obviously, any comparison to a Hall of Fame defenseman is premature, but Carchidi thinks the 6-foot-6 blue liner can provide that same level of toughness and snarl that Pronger did throughout his career. Even if the team elects not to promote Morin to the big league team, it’s conceivable the Flyers will look to add some toughness to their blue line ahead of the deadline.