It's the best time of year!
Today marked the first time this season that a coach was fired in the NHL as the Isles relieved Scott Gordon of his duties. Jack Capuano will be the interim, while Gordon will stay on as an advisor to GM Garth Snow.
(The earliest firing last season was on Dec. 4 when Philadelphia’s John Stevens got the axe.)
In two-plus years on Long Island, Scott Gordon led the Islanders to an unimpressive 64-94-23 record. However, Gordon had no chance to succeed behind the Isles’ bench.
New York’s ‘other’ team got off to a nice start this season, 4-1-2, only to see it go downhill ever since. The Isles have gone winless in 10 games (0-9-1). During this losing streak, they have looked disinterested and unmotivated at times.
While that could be placed on the shoulders of the coach, it’s not Gordon’s fault that this team is 4-10-3 here on Nov. 15. And it’s not his fault that they’ve been one of the NHL’s worst clubs in his time with the organization.
With Nashville’s Barry Trotz, the old saying is that he ‘does more with less’. Gordon had nothing to work with.
Think back to the 2008/09 season, Gordon’s first year. With Rick DiPietro’s season-long injury, the club went with Joey MacDonald and Yann Danis as their one-two combo in net. It was a disaster, resulting in a last-place finish.
Then came this year – Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit went down with shoulder injuries in training camp; Dwayne Roloson has a 2.37 goals-against but is 2-7-1 (zero goal support); James Wisniewski leads the team in points (and P.A. Parenteau led in late October!).
Snow gave Gordon no tools to use over the last two-plus seasons, essentially putting him in a position where he could only fail. The organization is equally or more worried about the Light House Project (which is still a work in progress) than the on-ice product itself.
It’s at a point where it’s going to be very difficult for any coach to be able to do well on Long Island. Despite all the young talent on the roster already, there’s not much structure to the organization and they are reluctant to spend any money on external personnel.
Snow had this to say to reporters earlier today: “Scott did an excellent job, unfortunately, we’re in situation where we have 10 losses in a row. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and make decisions that are tough.”
A 10-game losing streak shouldn’t have been the sole reason to fire Gordon, who was a nice fit with youngsters like John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson on board. Unfortunately, he fell under the ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ trap that GM’s in every sport use nowadays.
I honestly would have had a little more patience if I were Snow, given that this franchise is nowhere near being in a win-now mode.
Gordon, 47, is a bright hockey mind that now has experience under his belt – at the NHL and international level. He was an assistant for Team USA in last February’s Olympics and the World Championships in recent years.
He’ll land on his feet somewhere down the road… hopefully with an organization that actually gives him a fighter’s chance to succeed.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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