The New York Islanders will play their first game since the firing of Scott Gordon when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
Gordon was relieved of his head coaching duties on Monday after leading the Islanders to a 4-10-3 record this year. He has been replaced by Jack Capuano on an interim basis.
Gordon was hired prior to the 2008-09 season and his brief tenure ended with a mark of 64-94-23.
Capuano will make his NHL head coaching debut tonight as he takes over the reins for an Islanders team that is currently last in the NHL with 11 points. The 44-year-old was promoted from his job as head coach of New York's AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, where Capuano led the Sound Tigers to a 133-100-8-14 record since the 2007-08 season.
"Cappy (Capuano) is coming in here with a great mind set," Islanders captain Doug Weight told his team's web site. "It's a new start. It's a fresh beginning for all of the guys on the team. It's up to us to take advantage of this opportunity to play and have this fresh feeling. We have to win some hockey games, enough of the excuses or whatever has been going on. We are starting new and hopefully Wednesday begins with a win."
The Islanders sure can use a win. After their blistering hot start (which saw them atop the entire Eastern Conference) they are now in last place in the NHL.
While the Islanders were able to change coaches, Capuano still has to deal with an injured team and a group that can't seem to score goals or keep the puck out of their own net.
That's not good news with the Lightning coming to town, even if they are without Vinny Lecavalier.
(The Sports Network contributed to this report)