If you’re hoping to get a little clarity on why there is a file islanders Deciding to fire coach Barry Trotz on Monday, general manager Lou Lamoreello didn’t have much for you on a follow-up phone call that took place about half an hour after the news shocked the hockey world.
Instead, the main meals were as follows:
• The decision was for Amorillo and Lamoreello alone.
“Have you consulted with anyone about this decision? The answer is no,” Lamoreello said. “Have you spoken to the players about this decision? no. I wouldn’t even think of thinking of anything like that. This decision is based on the knowledge I have, the experiences I have had, as well as going forward as much as I think and feel is best for this group to achieve success.”
• Trotz’s one-year stay on his contract was not a factor.
“Not at all,” Lamoreello said.
to me the athletePierre Lebrun, the final year of Trotz’s original five-year deal, was on a $4 million salary.
• The islanders’ failure to meet expectations this season wasn’t the only reason Trotz left.
“That decision wasn’t made in the first place just this season,” Lamurillo said in what was perhaps the most baffling statement, considering that the islanders were coming off consecutive trips to the league semi-finals, losing both times to the eventual Stanley Cup- Lightning hero.
• There is no timetable for finding a new coach, and all of Trotz’s assistant coaches are still with the team, including Lynn Lambert, who many believe is ready for the head coach position himself.
“Every one of our assistant coaches is under contract for the next year,” Lamoreello said. “We will handle everything appropriately and the new coach will have a voice in any decisions that should be made, if they are to be made.”
• There was no disagreement between Lamoreello and Trotz.
At least not according to Lamoreello.
“I spoke to Barry this morning,” he said. “We have, have had, and always will have, a tremendous personal relationship. This is definitely a business decision, as far as hockey and winning is concerned.”
But the bigger question – what is the reason behind this move? – It’s basically left unanswered other than the “this group of guys needs a new sound” metaphor that is uttered regularly in situations like this in professional sports.
Trotz is about NHL As one of the best coaches in the league. Won the Stanley Cup with capitals In 2018 he won five playoff rounds (plus a qualifying round) with the Islanders in his four seasons. If he doesn’t sound good enough for this team, who could be better?
Maybe it’s Lambert, though logic seems to dictate that if that were the case, the team would have announced it in conjunction with Monday’s news.
That will be answered sometime in the off-season, of course. Besides finding a new coach, Lamoreello also has to do work to change the roster. He has said he thinks he has the right core in place, but touched on his priorities at the end of his call on Monday.
“We would like to improve our defense if we can, as much as it is offensive,” he said. “If there is a way to make a hockey deal, certainly with our strikers, we will do it. I think what we have to do is improve the performance of our young players as well as a whole year of some veterans more than we did this year.”
The latest nugget could provide insight into how Lamoreello came to the decision he made on Trotz. While young players like Noah Dobson And Ilya SorokinThey made big strides this season, like Oliver Wallstrom, did not. Trotz’s handling of Wahlstrom was a particularly hot topic throughout the second half, as was the coach’s longstanding approach to veterans who struggled in the early part of the season.
And then there is still young Matthew Barzal. The 24-year-old striker is the most talented individual player on the Islanders roster, but has seen his icy time and role shrink during the second half of the season. He is also eligible to sign a long-term contract extension this summer as a restricted free agent.
A source in the league, familiar with the dressing room of the island’s residents, retracted Lamorillo’s assertion that the decision was taken without the intervention of any player, noting that the general manager certainly knows what he was thinking after holding individual meetings for the player immediately after the season ends.
“When you wait a week for a man to be fired, you obviously listened to the players in their meetings,” the source said. “It wasn’t done right when the season ended. So he took a week, met the players, obviously the players’ voices were heard here and that is the result.”
If players are really critical of Trotz after the season, they aren’t the only ones. Trotz himself openly questioned the way he dealt with the strange conditions of the island’s inhabitants. For example, he wondered if the team would have been better off resting more and training less in January, when they only had one game in a 13-day period to start the new year.
He also questioned whether the islanders’ style of play, which he is responsible for implementing, stays better over a shorter period of time, as in the complementary bubble of 2020 or the short 2021 season.
“The 56-game schedule (in 2021), we probably played 48 playoffs (like), tough,” Trotz said. “82 was a little bit more difficult for us to play this style – this hard, grinding style. And we didn’t have a lot of rest.
“We had like five little bootcamps. We probably didn’t need some of those because there was still that mental grind to get ready. We had like a 10-day bootcamp (in January). Looking back, we probably should have taken five days off. Sometimes you try to push too hard and get so little done.”
This could have been the case. This style could also have led to frustration in the dressing room and at post-season meetings. According to the league’s source, at least some players were not surprised by the bombing of Al Jazeera on Monday.
Is it fun to play this way? The source said. “Is it fun to have the stick in a certain lane all the time? You don’t play by nature. He adds after a while. With his playing style and structure, you’re either all in all or you’re not. If you’re not all in all, you won’t work. It’s that easy.”
An executive on the Eastern Conference team echoed that sentiment.
“When you play the way the islanders play it’s hard to play day and night, year after year,” the CEO said. “It takes incredible discipline. That’s why I think teams that play this way should always change a few pieces every year, no matter how successful they are: to give a little bit of life to the team.
“It’s a tough team to play against defensively. They don’t give you that much. But it’s also a tough way to play with them, and to play that way every night.”
However, it can be debated whether a change behind the seat is necessary. Trotz’s tenure with the islanders can only be considered a resounding success, and he will leave Long Island with his reputation as one of the best coaches in the game. Trotz, 59, is the third in NHL history in wins by a coach (914), behind only Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Joel Quinville (969). In four seasons under Trotz, the islanders set a record of 152-102-34 in the regular season and 28-21 in the playoffs. He was awarded the 2019 Jack Adams Trophy as the best coach in the league.
There is already speculation about where it could end up next, with many suggesting that Winnipeg Jets That would make more sense. Trotz said after the islanders’ last game ended that he still had a number of personal situations to deal with, likely stemming from his mother’s death in January in Manitoba. He hails from Dauphin, Manitoba, about three hours from Winnipeg.
“He’s a great coach,” said the CEO. “He’s a Stanley Cup winner. He’s an amazing person. The truth is there’s no shame in failing every now and then. Losing your job to accountability and expectations, whatever. That’s part of our job. Results should really be what counts in our work. That’s what matters so much to us.” Property owners and general managers like Lou Lamoriello.
“Lu is all about accountability, and they missed playoffs. I think sometimes in our league, everyone wants to look at excuses — like, there were injuries, there was COVID, there was all these other things. But Lou’s history is that he looks for results. And they were lacking in achievement.”
From Lamoreello’s perspective, players will be expected to respond to who he chooses to be the 18th coach in franchise history.
“This kind of decision is made to move forward, not backward,” he said. “I think with this group that we have, they know now that a new voice is what is necessary for us to succeed, in my opinion. Unfortunately or fortunately, it is my opinion that should make those decisions.”
(Picture of Barry Trotz on the bench with Zach Barris and Oliver Wahlstrom: Dave Regenk/NHLI via Getty Images)
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