Islanders’ ownership and management seems content with riding the wave of Doug Weight as head coach… for now.
Two separate reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and longtime hockey reporter Jimmy Murphy suggest that the Islanders will not be reaching out to Claude Julien yet. McKenzie reported on Wednesday night that he did not believe the Islanders would ask Boston for permission to speak with Julien. McKenzie added “that may be subject to change.”
Since Julien is still under contract with the Bruins, any team interested in his services needs permission to speak with the former Boston coach.
Murphy followed up on Thursday, citing a source, that it is unlikely the Islanders hire Julien now. Adding, that the team is happy with the job Doug Weight has been doing and the Islanders are still evaluating.
While the news did not sit well with some Islanders fans, it should not come as a total surprise that the team is waiting on hiring any new head coach. The Islanders are three points out of a playoff spot heading into their meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers and bringing in a new coach in the middle of the season could disrupt the momentum.
The Islanders have been 6-1-2 since Weight took over as interim head coach and he has seemingly found a way to spark players that have struggled for the Islanders for the better part of the year.
The Islanders are not the only team to take more time to evaluate their options. Florida Panthers owner Doug Cifu told the Miami Herald’s George Richards that Tom Rowe would remain as head coach through the end of the year. Rowe has served as interim coach in Florida since the Panthers fired Gerard Gallant was fired in November.
The only team that could likely make a coaching hire before the 2016-17 season is over is the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Ken Hitchcock and Gallant are also potential coaching options for Vegas, Florida and the Islanders.
Julien has been out of a job for less than a week, after the Bruins fired him on Tuesday. He coached the Bruins for 10 years and amassed a 419-246-94 record during his time there. He won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 and was the Jack Adams Award winner in 2009.