Friday, July 11, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lavy on Long Island?

If the Islanders decide to jettison Jack Capuano, a report says Peter Laviolette would be a top candidate to return to the Flyers' divisional opponent.

Lavy on Long Island?

Is Peter Laviolette the next coach of the Islanders? (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Is Peter Laviolette the next coach of the Islanders? (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Could Peter Laviolette land in the NHL again soon?

It’s possible Laviolette could actually end up in a familiar place - one that's not so far away.

Sports Business Journal writer Chris Botta, who worked for the Islanders, reported yesterday that Laviolette would “definitely be a top candidate” for the job on Long Island if Garth Snow decided to cut ties with Jack Capuano. Former Islanders player Doug Weight would also be a candidate.

The Islanders (8-16-5) have plummeted to the Metro floor with 8 losses in a row in a year they were supposed to move up the standings. There is no end in sight to the carnage, with the Islanders embarking on a four-game swing against the Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Coyotes tonight in Los Angeles.

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Snow was so interested in his team taking the next step that he sent a first and second round pick along with Matt Moulson to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek. That first rounder is looking like a high lottery pick right now.

The Islanders are 4-14 since acquiring the former 40-goal scorer, who is still due to become a free agent next July.

Laviolette, 48, has been scouting for Team USA since being fired by the Flyers on Oct. 7  after an 0-3-0 start. Laviolette is an assistant coach under Dan Bylsma for Team USA at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February.

Would the Islanders be the right spot? Laviolette is intimately familiar with Long Island, having coached the Islanders to playoff berths in 2002 and 2003 before being fired by Mike Milbury.

Botta reports Laviolette remains tight with team owner Charles Wang. Capuano, 47, is 92-99-33 in parts of four seasons. He is the fifth coach to take over since Laviolette was fired.

There are many wondering whether it even makes sense for Capuano to be fired, since their roster does not have the depth or the goaltending to make any sort of consistent visit to the playoffs. They do have a few nice pieces - like star John Tavares, Vanek, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Travis Hamonic - but they are still quite far away.

It is clear Laviolette will find a job again soon. Someone close to him predicted he would have another job before Christmas. But unless he has a burgeoning desire to win on Long Island, he might be wise to wait and see if a talented team in the Western Conference falters around the Olympic break to get an opportunity with a stronger roster. He could make an immediate impact then, as the Flyers learned in 2010.

The Flyers would need to grant permission for any team interested in Laviolette’s services. He is under contract with the Flyers through June 30, 2015.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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