The New York Islanders have been without their captain since mid-March. Anders Lee picked up a season-ending injury back on March 11 against the New Jersey Devils. But he’s still been around the team.
Not only is Anders up there in the press box or taking on-ice drills with the Islanders extras, but he’s also in the dressing room pre and post-game.
After Game 4, the New York Islanders released a hype video, and 15 seconds in you can see Anders Lee giving out the opening lineup. As he leaves the room, Lee slams the door with an open palm.
Anders Lee stars in a big playoff moment for the New York Islanders
Just thinking about that moment gave me chills. If you haven’t seen the video watch it here and get hyped:
That few seconds of seeing Lee around his team and then slamming the door is one of those playoff moments. A moment that galvanizes a team and a fanbase for that one big push.
It may not seem like much but having Anders Lee around the team matters. While the game is played on the ice, it’s much bigger than that. There’s a mental and emotional aspect to a playoff series and a Stanley Cup run. And Barry Trotz gets it.
Barry Trotz himself starred in such a playoff moment for the Washington Capitals when they won their Cup in 2018. That year, the Caps had just beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 in Game 6. They were back in Tampa for Game 7. Trotz took the ceremonial hot lap before Game 7.
That moment was big for the Capitals. As Khrushudyan Tweet then, the Caps had lost their last road home, having Trotz take the hot lap (instead of Alex Ovechkin) sparked his team. You can see them all hit the ice with smiles and cheering for their coach after his lap. (Trots did very well considering he hadn’t done so in….decades maybe.)
The Capitals would win Game 7 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Was it because of the hot lap? Who knows, but it certainly helped bring the team together at a crucial moment.
While Anders Lee can’t be on the ice to help bring his team together he can have these cameos to do so. Who knows how impactful it was for his teammates, but seeing the impact it’s had on the fanbase through social media I can only imagine the players felt the same way.
If this playoff run was made into a DVD there would be a full chapter to this moment alone. That’s how important it can be for this team.