We already know that Barry Trotz is one of the better coaches in the league. He’s not up for a Jack Adams award this year, but the New York Islanders head coach should be.
For yet another year his guidance, shrewd decision-making, and structure are whats enabling this team to have so much success in the regular season even and through the playoffs.
In the Islanders second-round series against the Bruins, Trotz pulled out all the stops to help his team be the best version of themselves. From his position behind the bench, Trotz put his team on a path to victory.
New York Islanders Barry Trotz major factor in series win over Bruins
Look I know that Trotz doesn’t score any goals and he doesn’t stop any of the pucks. But the man with the plan knows how to set up his team to maximize their potential.
Top Line Changes
He resisted the urge to put Kyle Palmieri next to Mathew Barzal when things weren’t going well for the Isles star center. The two have been great in the little ice time they’ve seen, but Trotz wanted to use that Zajac-Pageau-Palmieri to shut down the Bruins top line.
And it worked, to an extent. Sure the Bruins top line wasn’t ‘quiet’ but neither was the Islanders third line. That line was the Isles most effective at 5on5 with seven of the Islanders 24 5on5 goals. And Mathew Barzal eventually figured it out and was that offensively dominant player the Isles needed for most of this series.
He wasn’t afraid to make the switch back to Varlamov early in the series. After a not-so-great Game 1 where Sorokin was, OK, Trotz immediately put in Varlamov in for Game 2.
Remember, Varly didn’t have a particularly great series against the Penguins, and if we learned anything from the Bruins series it’s that coaches are generally hesitant to changing netminders during a run. (Even if that goalie has a torn labrum in his hip.)
Trotz didn’t have to go back to Varlamov after one loss with Sorokin in nets. But he knew what his starter was capable of, and it wasn’t what we saw in the Pittsburgh series. And again, he was right. Varly pitched a 0.934SV% and 2.36GAA in the Boston series.
Not Getting Dragged Down
When Bruce Cassidy went on his rant about the officiating in the second round, it would have been easy for Barry Trotz to get sucked into the drama of it all. But instead of getting dragged down into a mud-slinging contest, the veteran coach gave an honest answer about how the Bruins took a lot of penalties in the regular season and the Isles didn’t and then moved on. Keeping the distraction out of his dressing room.
Those are only some of the examples that I pulled from this series. There are countless others. From who he deployed for defensive zone faceoffs to how he paired his defensemen depending on the situation.
Again, Trotz didn’t actually score any goals or stop any pucks, but he did exactly what a championship-caliber team wants at this time of year from the man behind the bench and proved why he’s one of the best in the business.