Islanders fire coach Gordon, promote Capuano

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NEW YORK (AP) - Scott Gordon watched as the losses mounted for the depleted New York Islanders.

There was only so much he could do with a roster decimated by injuries and not nearly deep enough in talent, even in a perfect situation.

His time finally ran out.

Once the Islanders dropped 10 games in a row in the final year of his contract, it was hardly a surprise that Gordon was fired Monday in his third year as coach.

“When we’re in a situation we’re in right now _ we’ve lost 10 games in a row _ sometimes you have to go with your gut and make decisions that are tough,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said during a conference call.

A three-game sweep on a California trip left the team on a 0-9-1 skid, sealing Gordon’s fate. He was replaced by Jack Capuano, the coach of the Islanders‘ AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Capuano will make his NHL coaching debut Wednesday at home against Tampa Bay.

“It’s not the ideal situation,” Capuano said after running practice Monday. “I have great respect for Scott. We’ve been friends for a long time and I’ve learned a great deal from him. But there was a change, and I’ll make the best of my opportunity.”

The Islanders were already operating with a roster that lacked elite talent and depth when key forward Kyle Okposo and top defenseman Mark Streit were injured during the preseason and lost for months.

After a 4-2-1 start, the Islanders plummeted to the bottom of the NHL standings. New York (4-10-3) is tied with Edmonton for the fewest points (11).

Gordon was a relative unknown from the AHL when hired by the Islanders in 2008. In two-plus seasons with New York, he went 64-94-23 _ the lowest points percentage in the NHL. He will remain with the organization as an adviser to Snow.

Snow wouldn’t say how long Capuano would be the coach, not even committing to keeping him for the rest of the season. There were no other changes made to the coaching staff.

“We’re just concerned about Wednesday,” Snow said. “He’s the coach of this team as we speak right now. He’s excited about the opportunity and looking forward to getting this team turned around.”

New York will play 11 of its next 16 games at home after starting the season with 12 of the first 17 on the road. The Islanders are 2-8-2 away from Nassau Coliseum.

“We’ve still got a lot of the season left,” goalie Rick DiPietro said. “As bad as it’s been, and as crazy as it sounds, if we could’ve picked a time to lose 10 straight, we picked a good time to do it. There’s tons of time left and our hole, by no means, is insurmountable.

“You make a move like that, it’s a bold move. It’s on us now to do it. It’s our responsibility to make amends for what’s happened.”

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