Lou Lamoriello strikes again. Another coach has been relieved of his duties. This time it’s Barry Trotz, the NY Islanders Head Coach who was well liked by fans and just about everyone on Long Island. The Islanders are coming off a miserable season. Yes, there were many hurdles that had to be jumped over this year. All of the Covid problems, the long road trip and opening the new arena were difficult circumstances that were hard to deal with. In the end the Islanders just could not get back on track and on to their winning ways.
Taking the Isles to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals two years in a row, only to be ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup champion was not enough to save him. I am a huge Barry Trotz fan. He came to Long Island and brought respectability and a work ethic that the Islanders haven’t had in a very long time. It was a great feeling to watch games the last few years and see how well the Isles were playing. Hearing commentators actually praising the Islanders was something that I was not used to. Fake owners, horrible coaches, bad contracts and terrible GM’s – Islander fans have taken enough abuse…and still through it all, have stuck with their team.
NY Islanders Hoping for Change
The new USB Arena was supposed to be a turning point in this franchise. A positive turning point I might add. Well, it certainly didn’t start out that way. Opening your home stadium with a 0-5-2 record is not exactly uplifting. Taking seven games to actually win a game at USB was a little embarrassing. Yes, there was covid and injuries – I get it…but still.
Lamoriello stated – “I believe this group of players needs a new voice, I’d rather not get into any of the reasons because that’s my job based upon the information that I have and [my] experience to make these types of decisions.”
A new voice. I have to say, and I hate to admit it, but Lou might be right. There was a problem with the Islanders play during the final stretch of the season. The playoffs weren’t completely out of sight, but the way the NY Islanders played made it seem like they never really thought they had a chance. Somehow, they forgot what made them great. Defense – play the system that Trotz set up and hold each other accountable. That style and system worked great when everyone bought in.
What I saw down the stretch was a team that wasn’t fully bought into the system. By this I mean – it looked like Matt Barzal was tired of playing this particular system. There were games where he played undisciplined and uninspired. Having your star player not playing the defensive style the team has been playing the last few years will certainly have an effect on the other players on the roster. Yes, I am calling out Barzal, only a player of his caliber not following or listening to a coach will get that particular coach ousted.
Something Had to Give
I feel it came down to Trotz or Barzal – the coach lost, and Lamoriello has made it clear the players are on notice. A stronger voice does need to be heard. I think the Islanders are lacking a few other things also. The lack of another physical power forward, a goal scoring defenseman and another backup goalie not named Varlamov would help.
Will getting rid of Barry Trotz be the right move? Only time will tell. I know Islander fans are telling themselves not to worry, Lou knows what he is doing. I’m in that same mindset also. Although I keep remembering Lamoriello getting rid of Devon Toews for two second round draft picks. Now that was a bad move if there ever was one. Toews is playing lights out for Colorado and has a very good chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
Will a new coach be the next step to Islander greatness or just another drop down the ladder of mediocrity? Time will tell.
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