Stuck in last place in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, ending one of the NHL's longest tenures.
General manager Garth Snow named assistant general manager/coach Doug Weight as Capuano's interim replacement, hoping a new voice could provide a spark for his struggling team. The Islanders are 17-17-8, and their 42 points are the fewest in the East, leading to Snow making the move for the short and long term.
"Obviously we're not in a position where we want to be standing wise," Snow said. "At the end of the day organizationally, I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back (after the season)."
The Islanders went 227-194-64 in seven seasons under Capuano and made three playoff appearances. Last spring Capuano led them to their first playoff series victory in 23 years.
"It's an honor to have served this historic franchise and its passionate fans," he said in a statement released by the team.
Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of firing Capuano, who took the fall for New York's underachieving performance. Snow said he takes "100 percent" responsibility for the underachievement but that he doesn't worry about his job security.
Game highlights: Auston Matthews, Leo Komarov and Matt Martin each scored in nine minutes of the second period and the host Maple Leafs rallied to beat the Sabres 4-3 for their 10th win in 13 games. Toronto moved within one point of the Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. … Brandon Dubinsky ended a 17-game scoring drought with two goals and the host Blue Jackets beat the Hurricanes 4-1 to take over the top spot in the league. … Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone each scored twice to lead the Senators over the host Blues 6-4. … Patrick Sharp scored twice and the Stars held on for a wild 7-6 victory over the host Rangers. The Rangers trailed 7-3 after two periods, then scored three times in 4:15 early in the third to pull within one. … Beau Bennett scored with 2:17 remaining to lift the Devils over the host Wild 4-3.