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Islanders: Three Takeaways from Streak-Ending Tuesday Loss at Capitals

Jan 28, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) scores a goal on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 28, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) scores a goal on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

2. Barzal Gets Another Lesson in Accountability

Look, we all love Barry Trotz here. He deserves to be in the running for the Jack Adams Trophy every season because of the turnaround this team has had under his coaching. But at what point can we question Trotz’s willingness to sit Mat Barzal? And at what point can we note his seeming unwillingness to show anyone else the same level of discipline?

Mat Barzal took a boneheaded offensive zone retaliation penalty after Evgeni Kuznetsov literally broke his own stick in half by cross-checking Barzal across the back. Presumably to teach Mathew some accountability, Barry benched his 1C following the penalty.

Look, I get it, Barzal currently leads the Islanders in minor penalties against this season. That’s not a good thing. Mat is the Islanders’ best player, and they need him available for every shift. By taking minor penalties he hamstrings his team. Not only by forcing them to kill a penalty, but also by having to play without him for two minutes.

Again though, when do we question why Trotz is so willing to sit his star, but not a player like Leo Komarov?

Back in January, Leo took a five-minute major for a hit that injured the Capitals’ Lars Eller. In a tie game. In the third period. It wasn’t even like a borderline play, either. Leo’s hit was pretty much undeniably dirty, and definitely unnecessary. Some might even say boneheaded.

Anywho, 23 seconds after his penalty had been killed, Leo was back on the ice for his next shift. He would end up losing his defensive zone coverage, and the Capitals would score the game-winning goal because of it. Barry Trotz said that night in his post-game presser that he did not regret the decision to deploy Leo late in the game.

Maybe I just don’t understand where the line is that Mat is crossing. Yeah, he’s taken a lot of penalties. He’s also drawn as many penalties, if not more than he’s taken, and he’d draw more if NHL officiating wasn’t the joke that it is.

He’s also your best forward and most-important player who you’re benching in the third period of a game you’re trailing 3-1, to a team who you’re battling for first place in your division. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I think the disciplining and the accountability lesson could’ve waited until after the game.

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