Gordon gone after another sluggish start

Merely a month and a half into the season the Islanders already find themselves deep in the ditch again. Only this time, they’ll have a new leader trying to dig them out.

A 10-game losing streak was enough for general manager Garth Snow to fire head coach Scott Gordon yesterday. AHL Bridgeport’s Jack Capuano will take over in an interim role. Gordon, who compiled a 64-94-23 record in 181 games with the Islanders, will remain in the organization in an advisory role.

“The biggest [thing for the players] is confidence,” Snow said. “In a situation where we lost 10 in a row, change needed to be made.”

The Islanders are dead last in the NHL with a 4-10-3 record, and are tied with Edmonton with a league-low 11 points. Following a 4-1-2 start to the season, the Islanders have lost 10 straight, being outscored 39-14 during the skid.

Capuano’s first game is tomorrow against Tampa Bay — the last team the Isles beat back on Oct. 21.

“Obviously, we have a big game Wednesday,” Snow said in a conference call. “[We have to] have a strong performance on the homestand. Our focus is to win a hockey game.”

Snow pointed to Capuano’s familiarity with the Islanders’ players and system as part of the criteria for his promotion. Capuano had a record of 133-100-22 in 255 games as the Sound Tigers’ head coach spanning the 2007-08 through 2010-11 seasons.

“Jack has done a great job in Bridgeport. (He has) familiarity (with the) lineup,” Snow said. “For me, having a coach like Jack Capuano, he knows our players.”

When he was asked if Capuano would get the job on the full time basis, Snow would not bite.

“At this point, we’re concerned about Wednesday. He’s the coach of this team right now.”

Making the move now means Snow hopes to salvage the season. The Islanders are six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with five months left.

“If we could’ve picked a time to lose 10 straight, we picked a good time to do it,” goalie Rick DiPietro said. “You make a move like that, it’s a bold move. It’s on us now.”

What went wrong …

1 Playoff drought — The Isles spoke confidently during training camp, preseason and the very early part of October about their belief they would be a playoff team. Even with the NHL’s long regular season, it’s hard to imagine this team getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2007.

2 Ugly offense — Sure, injuries have taken their toll, but Garth Snow needed to see something, anything really, from the league’s second-worst offense. Only the Devils (33) have scored fewer goals than the Isles (37).

3 Disturbing defense — If you can’t score, you best be able to keep the puck out of your net. Even with a goaltending tandem of Dwayne Roloson and Rick DiPietro, the Islanders are 27th in the NHL with a 3.29 goals against average.


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