One of the biggest changes for the New York Islanders this summer was the person standing behind the bench. New head coach, Barry Trotz is already to beginning to prove his worth.
This past Sunday, the New York Islanders played their first preseason game of the year against the Philadelphia Flyers. The offense throughout the game was all Islanders and the team came out with a dominant 3-0 victory with goals from two rookies.
A preseason win isn’t telling of how the team will perform in the year to come, however, there are a few important things to take away from Sunday’s game. But one stands out.
Barry Trotz seems to be filling the position of head coach with the exact type of leadership we were all hoping for.
The Adult They Always Needed
Although his team emerged with the win, he was still able to pinpoint where they struggled and what they could improve on in the future. He addressed the media with specific talking points, highlighting several areas that have been concerning for the Islanders for several years.
Trotz was happy with the defensive product that he saw from his team this Sunday which is encouraging considering this was a major weak spot for the Islanders last season. He specifically focused on young players like the Noah Dobson, commenting on how he was able to see his high hockey IQ, an important quality for defensemen that could improve the team’s blue line.
The new head coach is also opting to stay behind the bench for each of the eight preseason games. It is not uncommon for coaches to watch from the press box for several of these games but Trotz says that he “wants to get to know his new players from the bench.” This choice shows a close attention to detail and an initiative to be closer to these players that he has never coached before as both a unit and individuals.
Perhaps the most important thing to come from Trotz’s post-game comments was his refusal to get to high on his team. Although the Islanders won, he made a point to talk about all the things that his team has to work on.
He said the group “has a lot to learn” and pointed to the third period as a sign that the team doesn’t know “how to play with the lead,” something for that been concerning for the Islanders for years. This self-awareness is crucial for a new coach to have and is something that has been missing from Islanders coaches in the past.
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Although it has only been one preseason game and a few days of training camp, Barry Trotz is proving to be more in tune with what his players succeed in and what his players need in improve in than his predecessors. He is the adult in the room that the New York Islanders have needed.