For the entire third period against the New York Rangers, New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal didn’t hit the ice. On Thursday, he explained why.
With the score up 4-0 against the New York Rangers, it wasn’t a huge deal that Mathew Barzal wasn’t hitting the ice in the third period for the New York Islanders. At least not for the first few minutes.
But as the period progressed, Barzal’s absence became concerning. By the end of the period, Barzal didn’t hit the ice once. He wasn’t injured. He didn’t take a bad penalty. And it didn’t seem like he made a particularly egregious mistake on the ice. So why did he need to be benched?
After the game, MSG’s Shannon Hogan asked Barry Trotz why Barzal hadn’t hit the ice for the third. His answer was stern and direct. It sounded exactly like a father who wasn’t mad but disappointed in his child in saying:
Barzal in the Wrong
Speaking to the media at the NHL All-Star Game weekend, Barzal made the following comments about the benching.
You can read more here from Newsday’s Laura Albanese, where Barzal says, in no uncertain terms that he was in the wrong.
It was a big call for Barry Trotz to bench his star player for a full period. But that’s why Lou Lamoriello brought him in. Because Barry Trotz knows how to run an NHL bench. He knows what buttons to push and when to get the best results.
He had Alex Ovechkin sit out a game for showing up late to a morning skate in 2015.
This move to have Barzal sit after a bad turnover is a continuation in the Trotz school of accountability.
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Barzal will do well to heed Trotz’s advice. Not only because Trotz controls his ice time, but because Trotz knows what it takes to become champion. And based on Barzal’s comments it seems he’s doing just that.