The New York Islanders fired head coach Scott Gordon on Monday but only they could turn it into a comic farce.
There was a conference call for Islanders general manager Garth Snow to explain his decision but it almost collapsed at the start because of technical problems. That had one writer wondering if the college radio station that now carries the Islanders' games was in charge.
Things didn't get much better when Snow was finally able to answer a few questions. Other than a reference to the players' lack of confidence, Snow did not offer a concrete reason for Gordon's firing other than the Islanders' 10-game losing streak.
He also declined to say just how long interim head coach Jack Capuano, who was promoted from the Islanders' American Hockey League farm team, will be in charge or if he will be in the running when a permanent coach is picked.
"At this point, we're just concerned about Wednesday [a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning]" Snow said. "He's the head coach of this team as we speak right now."
Apparently, Gordon's sin was not getting enough out of the sub-standard lineup handed to him by owner Charles Wang and Snow. The Islanders, who are once again dealing with terrible attendance (their average announced crowd is 12,045), also lost two of their best players, forward Kyle Okposo and defenceman Mark Streit, to serious injuries. The budget is such that adequate replacements were never found.
Replacements, period, were hard to come by for poor Gordon. Blogger Chris Botta (islanderspointblank.com) reported the Islanders did not take an extra defenceman on their just-concluded road trip so when another injury hit, Gordon was expected to beat the Los Angeles Kings with five defencemen in his last game as head coach.
Snow said he picked Capuano rather than someone with experience as an NHL head coach because he knows the Islanders players. He also works well with young players. So someone pointed out that Capuano's Bridgeport Sound Tigers are not exactly tearing up the AHL (they're 6-9) and wondered how well Gordon worked with the Islanders' budding stars like John Tavares and Josh Bailey.
"Scott did an excellent job not only with those two players but with all of our young players," Snow said. "He has a knack for getting the best not only out of the young players like Tavares and Bailey but the veterans and right down the line."
Okay, so why did you fire him?
"Scott did an excellent job, unfortunately, we're in situation where we have 10 losses in a row," Snow said. "Sometimes you have to go with your gut and make decisions that are tough."
Or, to be fair to Snow, sometimes the owner calls you up and says fire that guy.
It was also announced Gordon will remain with the Islanders as an adviser to Snow. The fact the coach has time left on his contract is surely just a coincidence.Report Typo/Error