New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano had some choice words for a trio of forwards in advance of Monday's game against Tampa Bay.
"There's no surprises. We need Strome to be better. We need Brock to be better. We need Bailey to be better. We need guys to be better if we're going to have any chance at all," Capuano told reporters Monday. "They see it, it's black and white. The video doesn't lie. It doesn't come down to X's and O's, it doesn't come down to systems. It comes down to how hard you want to compete.
"We've struggled with a few guys, for sure, about their compete level and their work ethic. It has to be better. ... The guys mentioned need to pick their shit up and start playing."
Capuano's roster appears top-heavy as a result of star performances from John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. More was expected from the supporting cast - especially Strome, a fifth overall selection by the Islanders in 2011.
The results, however, leave much to be desired.
With five games remaining, the Islanders have a three-point advantage over Boston and two over Philadelphia in the race for the Eastern Conference's wild-card spots.
Capuano's statements come after Tavares himself said Saturday he was embarrassed by the team's effort in a shutout loss to Pittsburgh.