Bring Them Back to the Playoffs
"What the players we have here should be thinking about is not making the playoffs last year, and that’s what the goal should be. – Lou Lamoriello, NY Post (Sept. 11, 2018)"
Way before the season started Lou put out a challenge out to the players. The playoffs should be their goal this season.
With the offseason moves the Islanders made that seemed rather difficult to do. Mathew Barzal was a star in the making, but outside of the Islanders 16th overall pick in 2015, there wasn’t much top-tier talent on the roster. How in the world where the New York Islanders going to make the playoffs in 2018-19 exactly?
Head coach Barry Trotz laid the plan out to everyone after the Isles eliminated the Penguins in the first round.
"“We wanted to play a certain way,” Trotz said. “We knew we could fix the goals against, that’s commitment and that’s work ethic, detail and structure.”"
That message resounded with the players in the dressing room. Every single one of them bought into this philosophy and it paid off for the Islanders. They were able to answer Lou’s challenge and make the playoffs.
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With the loss of Tavares and the parade of bottom six players in the offseason that didn’t seem like a realistic possibility. But Lou did it. His team-first philosophy stuck with the players and they skated through a wall trying to meet his seemingly lofty expectations.