Patrick Roy will make his debut as New York Islanders head coach later tonight in what should be a raucous atmosphere at UBS Arena. Rather than the fans arriving pessimistic and frustrated after a winless four-game road trip, there will be optimism and intrigue filling the building before puck drop against the Dallas Stars.
The hiring of Roy signals a new beginning and a fresh start to a season that is more than halfway over, with the Islanders currently outside of the playoff picture and in desperate need of an infusion of energy and excitement. Roy's presence will bring that and it'll be up to the players to follow through and do their part to turn things around in a hurry.
It'll be less than 48 hours since Roy took the job. He'll be behind the bench, coaching players he is unfamiliar with and being guided by an assistant coaching staff that was brought in by Lane Lambert. Learning on the fly isn't the most reliable way to produce successful results, but it is playoff hockey from here on out for the Islanders. The GM knows it, the players know it, the fans know it, and the coach said it during his introductory conference call.
Roy has the reputation for being passionate, fiery and unapologetically defensive of his players. Those are things you know you're getting with him behind the bench, but here are 3 specific things to watch from Roy as Islanders coach for the remaining of the season.