Mathew Barzal is easily the New York Islanders best player. But in the third period, Barry Trotz didn’t play him, for reasons.
With the New York Islanders up 4-0 on the New York Rangers, the Isles best player, Mathew Barzal, sat, stapled to the bench for what appears to be a reason only Barry Trotz and Barzal know.
According to NHL.com, Mathew Barzal took a single shift in the third period. Barzal hit the ice at the 41:41 minute mark of the game and came off 40 seconds later. MSG’s Brendan Burke indicated in the broadcast that was a mistake and that Barzal didn’t actually get off the bench.
According to head coach Barry Trotz, Mathew Barzal knows exactly why he didn’t get on the ice for the third.
He Knows…But We Don’t
After the game, MSG’s Shannon Hogan asked the coach why Barzal hadn’t hit the ice for the third period. Trotz’s response: “He knows why.”
(Check out the 1:55 minute of the video.)
That’s some stern dad level, “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” type of sound byte.
Looking over the game, I’m not sure why Barzal was benched exactly. Barzal would be named the third star of the game thanks to two assists on the night.
He wasn’t credited for a giveaway. His underlying numbers didn’t reveal anything telling either. So it’s puzzling as to why Barzal would have been benched.
It could very well be that Trotz was giving his star player a rest with the score at 4-0 three minutes into the third frame. The Rangers did it to Artemi Panarin just the other day after running up five points against the Isles.
But the way Trotz said Mathew Barzal knew the reason for the benching indicates more than a strategic rest. For now, the reason remains unclear.